Singing the Blues

MARIETTA – Music lovers united at the Lafayette Hotel on Saturday for the second day of the 22nd annual River City Blues Festival.

“This year is going really well,” said John Gifford, with the Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society of Marietta. “We have a lot of new and different bands and performers.”

The opening night of the two-day festival saw more than 200 people with several hundred more in attendance on Saturday in the ballroom of the Lafayette Hotel at 101 Front St.

“It started out kind of slow on Friday, but once the music started, it filled pretty quickly,” Gifford said.

The event is hosted annually by the music society. The weekend festival generally attracts at least 500 people, Gifford added.

“We have been coming to Marietta for this festival for the past 20 years,” said Ellen White, of Logan, W.Va., who attended the festival with her husband Ed. “We are big blues fans and just love Marietta.”

Ed White added that part of the reason he and his wife drive the two hours for the weekend event is as much for the city as for the festival.

“The people of Marietta are very nice and accommodating and we just love it,” he said.

Ellen White added she and her husband never miss the annual event because of the convenience of the drive and the music.

“It’s great to be able to enjoy live blues all weekend and not have to drive a long way,” she said. “We really appreciate it and will never miss a year.”

Gifford said as of Saturday afternoon the day had been fun-filled as the different genre of blues were performed.

“The Jake Leg Stompers are unique because they only do songs that are no later than the ’40s, so it’s classic street blues,” he said. “They tend to do music that if you close your eyes you would swear you were standing on a corner in New Orleans.”

Gifford added that other bands and individuals made the music their own.

“It’s been a diverse field as far as the music and that is fantastic,” he said.