Red, white & blues Festival

Music lovers might have to dodge a few raindrops at the 19th annual Red, White and Blues Fest but – knock on wood – there won’t be any severe weather to deal with this year.

Last year’s event came fresh on the heels of the June 29 derecho that swept through the area, leaving a path of destruction and the continuation of scorching temperatures.

“The crowd was alright last year – a little low – but people wanted to have a good time,” said “Cobbler” John Bolen, who emceed last year and is in charge of booking the acts for the event.

“I think we’ll be OK this year, unless it really rains,” he said. “We have to be watching the weather. But we’ve only moved inside one time.”

Bolen said the price per ticket has increased slightly to $10 to account for production costs. There will also be food and beer concessions available. Music run from 7 p.m. to midnight in the Friday in the parking lot of the Lafayette Hotel.

The annual music festival is a fundraiser for ReStore Marietta and goes into the general funding of beautification projects to downtown and Harmar Village.

ReStore director Jean Farmer said she is enjoying her new position because it mixes all the things she loves.

“Art, music and beauty is really what people want in their downtown community,” she said. “I am looking forward to this event – one of our biggest – because you get to be outside on a summer night, be with friends, drink a beer and listen to great music.”

This year’s performers Long Tall Deb, Ricky Nye Inc., and Austin “Walkin’ Cane” hail from Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, respectively.

“In 2006 I started performing as a solo blues artist,” said Austin “Walkin’ Cane” Charanghat. “Marietta was the first town to accept me as an acoustic performer.”

Charanghat competed in 2006 in the Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society’s annual competition and won the solo/duo category and he said he has been coming through town or nearby for a number of years and continues to be impressed with the scene.

“I was amazed that a small town in southern Ohio had such a vibrant blues community…I look forward to seeing some friends and familiar faces,” he said.

Multi-instrumentalist and award-winner Ricky Nye has roots in country, zydeco, jazz, funk and rock ‘n’ roll.

“This guy is just phenomenal,” said Bolen. “He plays boogie woogie and will get everybody grooving.”

Long Tall Deb Landolt has also been a frequent visitor to the area and is the 2009 winner of the River City Blues competition. This year she will be bringing her “Werewolves of Alabama” – Colin John on guitar; John Popovich on piano; Melvin Powe on bass; and Jan Roll on drums.

“Playing the Red, White and Blues Fest feels like a homecoming,” she said. “The people of Marietta are so warm and have been so supportive of me over the years…I am very much looking forward to seeing them again.”