After weathering 3 floods and multiple rain days in the past 7 years over the 4th of July weekend, the Mississippi Valley Blues Society Board of Directors voted to move the date of the 2015 Blues Festival to the Labor Day weekend—Saturday and Sunday September 5 and 6.
After 30 years of being on the Independence Day weekend, the change to Labor Day is a momentous move to avoid the flooding of LeClaire Park with its consequent monetary outlays and still keep the Blues Festival on a holiday weekend that will provide a travel day for the 40% of attendees that come from out of town for the Festival.
“We understand the inconvenience that this move may cause our loyal attendees,” says MVBS President Scott Klarkowski, “but we hope that they will continue to support the Festival, which received recognition in 2014 as ‘one of the longest running, most prestigious blues festivals in the world’ by The Blues Foundation of Memphis, TN.”
Basically, the move to Labor Day reflects a choice of LeClaire Park over the dates of the Festival. “LeClaire park, situated between the blues Highway 61, the railroad, and the Mississippi River, and with its historic Bandshell, presents the perfect ambience for the music originating farther south on the highway and the River,” says Klarkowski.
The move to Labor Day weekend is also designed to maintain the quality of the Blues Festival, because it will give more time for the MVBS to find funding for their coffers depleted by the moves to downtown Davenport due to flooding and rain in the past 7 years. The date change will also open up new audiences such as high school and college students, which will help the MVBS maintain its mission of keeping the blues alive through education.
“The Festival is just part of what the MVBS does to Keep the Blues Alive,” says Klarkowski. “We also have an active Blues in the Schools educational program, as well as our Legends Concert Series that brings live blues to the Quad Cities, our radio shows on KALA, and our other events that include the preliminary round of the Iowa Blues Challenge.”
The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival is the only major blues festival in the country that is produced by an all-volunteer blues society, without major corporate support. It will take a total of over $200,000 to produce just a two-day festival in September. “We rely on grants and sponsors to help us produce the Blues Festival,” says Klarkowski, “and now we need support from the public as well if we want to see the Festival continue. We accept any donations—just go to our website at www.mvbs.org and donate what you can to help us keep the festival alive and high-quality.”