Music fans and musicians converged on the Pioneer City this weekend for the River City Blues Competition.
More than 1,000 people converged on the Lafayette Hotel in downtown Marietta Friday night through Saturday for the 21st annual competition.
"(Blues) is a great genre, an original American music that people really seem to love," said John Gifford, one of the organizers with the Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society in Marietta, which has been organizing the competition for two decades.
The two-day competition, which began Friday evening with the first round of competition, included 16 bands from around the country. Groups of bands competed Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, with those winners competing Saturday night in the final round to determine the winners of the competition.
"The biggest show is always Saturday night because the friends, family and supporters of the bands come to cheer them on," Gifford said. "It's just a lot of fun and a great time with fantastic music."
Gifford added that the local competition has gotten stiff with bands who do not qualify having tried to get in.
- First place: Chris Sutton, a solo blues singer of Barboursville, W.Va.
- Second place:?The Michael Gough Group of South Union, Ky.
- Third place: Chaz Humley and The Effects of Teays Valley, W.Va.
- A total of 16 blues acts competed Friday and Saturday in the competition, which is organized by the Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society in Marietta. The acts competed for cash prizes and BJFMS sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge in 2014 in Memphis, Tenn.
The cash prizes are $1,000 for first (with $500 more for registration for the International Blues Challenge), $500 for second and $300 for third.
In previous years, the competition winner also performed during the annual River City Blues Festival in Marietta. In a change for this year's event, the winner of the blues competition will be the opening night performer of that event, scheduled for March 15-16 for its 22nd year, organizers said.
Other acts scheduled to perform at the festival in March: Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Rocky Lawrence, the Jake Leg Stompers, Eddie Shaw and Zac Harmon.
"Our reputation has gotten out and artists know what can happen if they come here and win," he added.
The winner - or two of the top three finishers if there's at least one group or solo/duo - will receive sponsorship from the BJFMS to the 2014 International Blues Competition in Memphis.