Stafford Springs Blues Festival

Headliner Duke Robillard wrapped up a day of performances in Hyde Park at the Stafford Springs Blues Festival. (August 12, 2014)

The second annual Stafford Springs Blues Festival organizer Neil Hoss summed up the Aug. 9 event as a superb day. "We provided fun for a great turnout, volunteers made the day profitable, and it didn't cost the town any money," he said. He and several others worked hard to make this event happen, and with the help of sponsors, a blues festival featuring outstanding musicians delighted those in attendance.

Mike and Suzanne Spielmann and their Pomeranian, Nappy, stayed all day. "I have been a musician all my life and blues is my favorite. I can't believe this town put on such a great day of performances. Lydia Warren was unbelievable. She has a great, soulful voice and plays a fabulous guitar," Mike said.

A different band took the stage each hour between noon and 6 p.m., when renowned blues guitarist Duke Robillard completed the performances in the park. The entertainment continued at the Palace Theatre with Arizona Maid and Jeff Pitchell and Texas Flood.

Dan Stevens, often joined by guest musicians, performed on the side stage all day while bands set up for their performances on the main stage. "All the bands were awesome, weather was great," he said.

The MC at the festival, Ali Kaufman from WCNI 90.9 FM, was very enthusiastic about the turnout and the music. "We are enjoying the journey from start to growing. There is a lot of energy and good vibes in the audience. Lots of positive comments. The weather is make-or-break, and it couldn't be better for us here today. We had some good vendor choices and next year we need to offer more food choices," she said. No one seemed to be complaining about Hartford's Black Eyed Sally's barbecue sundae of pulled pork, barbecue sauce and mashed potatoes. "I ate three, and they are very good," Rick Young said.

Musicians were fed well in the greenhouse, where the chef from Rosie's Restaurant cooked all day for their enjoyment.

Next year, Joshua Scussell will return to play in the concert, as he did last year. His friends and family raised thousands to help him through his second stem cell therapy. They were jammin for Josh at the festival.

The blues festival would not be possible without its sponsors. In addition, a grant of $10,000 came from the Dept. of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

All proceeds go to the Hyde Park Amphitheatre project.