Looking at the success of each year's River Cities Blues Competition in Marietta, it's hard to believe that the event was originally wrapped into the annual blues festival.
It didn't take long for organizers to figure out that a blues event and Marietta was a winning combination. As entries for the blues weekend grew, the competition evolved from a three-hour happening held with the festival to its own weekend.
The 20th annual blues competition was held Friday and Saturday at the Lafayette Hotel. Congratulations to the winners. Two acts qualified to compete early next year in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn.
- The Tee Dee Young Band, from Lexington, Ky., won first place Saturday night and a cash prize of $1,200.
- Solo artist Gary Applegate of Indianapolis.
A total of 15 bands and solo artists performed Friday and Saturday.
John Bolen, longtime blues supporter and president of the local Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society, called this year's edition of the competition "one of the best." He added that attendance was high, which means lots of visitors from outside of Marietta thought enough of our event that they made the trip to Marietta to see it. We think that says a lot about the quality of entertainment performing on the Marietta stage.
If you're not convinced, we invite you to check out the next BJFM event: the 21st annual River City Blues Festival on March 16 and 17 at the Lafayette in Marietta. The competition winners will perform during the festival, along with blues artists from around the country.
The competition and festival have grown into real tourist draws and something many people circle on their calendars as must-see events.