Guest Column: Byron Crossroads Blues Festival a success
By Steve Jones
Byron Crossroads Blues Festival Chairman
On behalf of Crossroads Blues Society and the Downtown Byron Bar Association, I would like to thank everyone who helped make the inaugural Byron Crossroads Blues Festival (BCBF) a huge success. We could not have done it without our sponsors, attendees, bands and, especially, our volunteers.
Let me first recognize our sponsors and a few others who supported our efforts. Exelon Nuclear was our Platinum Sponsor, and their donation paid for the stage. We greatly appreciate their support! Our Gold sponsors were Byron Bank, Dach Fencing, American TV and Furniture, City of Byron, Byron Forest Preserve, Byron Chamber of Commerce and BCR, Blues Blast magazine, WNIJ 89.5 FM Public Radio, Cumulus Broadcasting with 96.7 The Eagle and WROK 1440, and Underground Printing Custom Printed Apparel. Our Silver Sponsors were Steve and Annette Jones and Delmark Records. Our Basic Business Sponsors were Franklin Family Bemis Ford, Kiwanis Club of Byron, King Blacktop and IMFS, Inc. Our Basic Individual Sponsor was Anthony Guardona. Their financial and in-kind services were vital to our success. I also want to thank the local newspapers who covered the preparations for the fest and helped get the word out; the Rockford Register Star, Ogle County Life, Tempo, Gazette, Boone County Journal and The Rock River Times. BCBF appreciates all the superb coverage! Also, we need to thank the other blues societies and many blues venues and blues radio shows for their help in getting the word out.
Over 2,100 people attended the inaugural BCBF. Over 1,500 advanced and 600 day-of-fest tickets were sold. This huge outpouring of community interest and the many visitors who came to town made for a fun day. The weather was great and the music fans enjoyed the fine weather, cold beer and wonderful food provided by the Byron Downtown Bar Association restaurants (The Cave Inn, The Fifth Alarm, Leombruni’s Italian Village, Karla’s and Poor Pauly’s Pub, Spanky’s Byron Inn Tavern, Sunrise II Restaurant and Tailgater’s Sports Bar). Their food and overall sponsorship was immeasurable to our success. Also thanks to Miller Electric, Emling Canvas, Norrup Trenching and Portable Restrooms, Lamonica Beverages and Hayes Beverages for their support to the festival, making the attendees’ experience even better.
Our six bands were also great! The Barstool Bob Blues Band, The Resistors, Filisko and Noden, The Cash Box Kings, The Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band and Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames all played their hearts out and gave us their all! Kudos to them for their talents and performances. Our sound and lighting team (mostly members of The Resistors) also did a great job for us and deserve mention. The music fans danced the night away with these guys playing! Joe Filisko and his harmonica student Zoe Savage made the harmonica workshop a fun and informative time; kids loved the free harps and lesson!
Last, but not least, our spectacular, tireless and dedicated volunteers who worked various shifts (and some all day and night) from 7 a.m. setting up until 2 a.m. cleaning up. I was so impressed by the job they did in all areas; gates, beer ticket sales, ID checks, Blues Central, security, runners, set up, and break down went smoothly. Many Crossroads Blues Society members stepped up, as did members of the community and Byron High School. Well done to all—you were the best! We’ll be having a volunteer appreciation event with free food, beverages and music soon!
Hard work, planning and a dedicated effort coupled with fantastic weather made for an outstanding initial BCBF. We are up to doing it again and hope our Second Annual BCBF next August is even bigger and better than this one! See you next year, and thanks again to one and all for making our fest a big success!
From the Sept. 8-14, 2010 issue
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