There's nothing quite like the music of the blues.
And there's nothing quite like sharing the music of the blues with a few friends.
Or in the case of the 21st annual River City Blues Festival, a few hundred friends.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Lionel Young, an electric violinist, performs for the crowd with the Lionel Young Band during the 21st annual River City Blues Festival at the Lafayette Hotel Friday night.
"People that have been to it before, they come again and they bring some of their friends. And those friends come again and bring some of their friends," said "Cobbler" John Bolen.
The annual River City Blues Festival kicked off Friday night in the Lafayette Hotel to a massive crowd as they celebrated the music of the blues.
"I'm a blues fan. I love blues," said Willie Lewis, 71, of Cleveland, who has attended about 10 Blues Festivals. "It's the best show on earth."
12:15 p.m. - Schools that Rock
1 p.m. - Tee Dee Young Band
2:15 p.m. - Doug MacLeod
3:45 p.m. - CeCe Teneal
8 p.m. - Hamilton Loomis
10 p.m. - Southern Hospitality featuring JP Soars, Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright
This year's River City Blues Festival kicked off with Mikey Jr. and Stone Cold Blues Friday night. The Lionel Young Blues Band wrapped up Friday's performances, with the festival set to resume at 12:15 p.m. Saturday.
"It's really a pretty cool thing," Young said. "I really love this festival."
Young had previously attended the River City Blues Festival in 2008 as a solo act, but this year he came back as a member of a band.
Playing an electric violin, Young and his band were a popular hit with the crowd.
The band has been a big hit with Young, too.
"It really is an honor to play with this band that I've got," he said. "For me, it's more fun to play in a band that's good than be by myself."
Young's band actually took first place in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., and he was a popular hit with the crowd, drifting down from the stage to interact.
The music continues Saturday when Schools that Rock, a local group of young people studying guitar under Marietta educator Mark Doebrich, will get the festival started once again.
"Those kids will never forget getting up on the stage of the Lafayette and playing," Bolen said.
Four bands are slated to perform Saturday afternoon, with another pair performing Saturday night.
"I feel very good about this year's lineup. I feel this is going to be one of the best festivals the blues, jazz and folk group have ever provided," Bolen said.
With a full house expected for Saturday's conclusion, Bolen and officials with the Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society, which sponsors the annual festival, have made arrangements for extra chairs to seat those who want to attend.
"It's one of the best small festivals in the country and one of Marietta's best kept secrets. Everybody has a back stage pass," Bolen said.
The festival may be a well-kept secret to some, but the music of the blues is not.
And many years down the road, there will still be a group of people humming along.
"It (blues) will stand the test of time. It'll be here long after we're done," Young said.