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Pa. Blues Festival at Blue Mt. Ski Area deemed a success

  • TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Lynne Rainey and Chris Barnum are all smiles as they dance to the music.
    TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Lynne Rainey and Chris Barnum are all smiles as they dance to the music.
Published July 29. 2013 05:06PM

A sea of arms flailed in the air as they danced to the catchy rhythms.

Indeed, the hand claps and body movements that accompanied this year's Pennsylvania Blues Festival at Blue Mountain Ski Area in Palmerton showcased improvisation at its best.

The event, which celebrated 22 years of Blues in the Poconos, featured 15 national acts on several stages over the three-day weekend.

Many guests could be seen inside the tent area Sunday listening to the sound of the Alexis P Suter Band, which performed a Gospel Show.

Jeff Payne and Wanda Goodine, both of Washington, D.C., said they were extremely fond of the performance.

"The music is great," Payne said. "I like the rural setting of having it up in the mountains."

Goodine added "Everyone's getting along. I enjoy the beer and food; especially the turkey legs."

On the other side of the tent area, Lynne Rainey, of Perkasie, Bucks County, and Chris Barnum, of Wilmington, DE, could be seen dancing.

"Wow; I'm so grateful that I am here," Rainey said. "It is more than I expected."

Other artists who played on Sunday included Johnny Rawls; Ivan Neville's Dumphstaphunk; Ruthie Foster; Bobby Rush; Warner Williams & Jay Summerour; Electro-Fi Records Showcase, with Harrison Kennedy, Diana Braithwaite, and Chris Whitely

While he didn't have his own stage, Wade Costenbader, owner of Victory Cigar Box Guitars, of Catasauqua, made do outside his vendor.

"This is a match made in heaven," Costenbader said. "The people understand what music is all about, and they appreciate the handmade quality of it; they have an old nostalgic tone to them."

Saturday saw performances by John Primer; The Soul Rebels; Sista Monica; The Slide Brothers; Robert Randolph & The Family Band; and Guy Davis. There was also a Meet the Pa Blues Festival Artists, at which time interviews and autograph opportunities were available, as well as an Indoor Night Jam.

Scenic lift rides, food, specialty vendors, and on-site camping, with RV's, Pop-Ups, tents, and trailers, were among the other activities that comprised the event, which kicked off Friday with an Indoor Night Jam.

As a sign of the event's widespread popularity, visitors attended from over 20 different states, as well as Canada, while advanced sales continue to increase, according to Michael Cloeren, founder and producer of the festival.

While Sunday was marked by intermittent rain showers, Cloeren said the festival "exceeded expectations" on Saturday.

"Musically, it's been phenomenal," Cloeren said. "It was a wonderful weekend of music."

This was the third year the event was staged at the venue. Formerly known as the Pocono Blues Festival, the event had been held at Big Boulder Ski Area in Kidder Township from 1992 to 2010.

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