Riverfront Blues Fest Celebrates 26 Years

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The Riverfront Blues Fest wrapped up Saturday(June 25) night after celebrating the 26th year of the event.

"Oh man, it's just fun," fan, Jerry Parsons said. "This is fun music, great musicians, great lyrics. You know, come out and have some good cold drinks and have a blast, meet new people that come from all over the state just for this blues fest."

From snow cones to cold drinks, organizers were prepared to cool fans down. Organizers say the riverfront bridge and river also added a nice breeze for festival-goers.

"It's been hot, but it's been worth it," fan, Shanna Douglas said. "The music has been awesome. I mean, it's well worth coming out and seeing this."

Director, Denise Messamore said they were well prepared to keep the workers and musicians cool in the heat, too.

"We've always had trailers," Messamore said. "We've had the Green House trailer that we've got for the stage crew to make sure that everybody stays cool and taken care of. We've always taken care of our musicians and our stage help because they work hard and we work hard, so we want to make sure everybody is taken care of."

Musician, Preston Rumbaugh said he loves to play events like this and he wants people to know just how important blues music is to every genre.

"It's the root form of all our other American forms of music," Rumbaugh said. "You trace jazz back, gospel, rock and roll, country. You trace any of those musical forms back and you'll find blues at its roots."

The fans said they will be back again next year.

"I haven't met anybody yet that has been here and hasn't had a good time," Parsons said.

This year's performers included the Eric Matthews Band, Colin Lake, Curtis Salgado, and Selwyn Birchwood.

Organizers said they will be back again next Summer for another Riverfront Blues Festival.

The Riverfront Blues Fest also teamed up with Stephens Production Company and Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corporation to take blues music to local schools. The group takes the history of the blues and teaches students the influence the music has had and teaching them that the blues originated in the American South.