We wanted to take some time on this after report as the feedback is still coming in, as are photos. I have to say WOW. I am glad we went showcase style because this year I did not have anyone already slated to perform who got turned away.
We had Shaun Murphy as our MC this time and she came out of her shell! It was so great to see. I knew her performance was going to be amazing but many thought she may be too shy to MC but she did a great job sliding in sponsor info, talking about the Blues Foundation and IBC info as well as introducing the other artists. And lets be honest… when it came time to perform, that fiery redhead did an incredible job. But I knew she would. The fact she took to the MC position so well is what surprised me and now she is double trouble because I think she may get asked to MC other events in the future!
I won’t get too specific on each performance as we had so many and this would get incredibly long to read. Suffice it to say we had a ton of powerhouses all over our stage at the Center for Southern Folklore.
The first set was played by Mandy Lemons and her band. The rocked the house down. Then came Carlene Perkins who is always amazing and thank goodness for her drummer Tim who helped me with sound for the 2nd year in a row! Right after, Amy Hart got on stage with some great musicians and had everyones attention. Next up was the Ori Nafty Band with Eleanor Tsiag on lead vocals, proving once again that blues travels the world! Niecie Blues was next and dang the woman has fun on stage. Right after that we had Gracie Curran who is amazing from the get go. Then Tracy K took the stage and low and behold we needed a bass player and luckily, Logan Layman stopped in and stepped up to the plate! Debra Devi was next and she rocked it down and then had to get to her lecture that afternoon at A. Schwabs. Yes, musician and author! Shaun Murphy allowed me to intro her for her set and she did not disappoint as per the usual! Next to take the stage was Redd Velvet and she went on without any musicians. I must admit stole the show. Her last tune she was getting call and response from ladies in the audience and she pulled Erica Brown up out of the crowd and everyone was floored. Around this time we switched it up to the store front from the back hall and Lauren C Mitchell took the stage much to everyones delight. Next up was Annie Mack who was so humble she forgot to tell me she was in the semi-finals later that same night. Laura Cheadle was next to grace the stage and what a sweet performer she is. We got Octavia next blowing her harp and making folks smile. Our last performer was to be Lady Rose who did an amazing job but instead of calling it a day, we had the good fortune of having some extra women who were willing to do a set for us. Bridget Kelly Fik came up and knocked out a few and so did Lucy Hammond.
Now, on top of all these women who took the stage, we also had many great WiB’s pop in to join us. I lost the list with all their names but from memory we had Markey Blues, Anna Marie, Brick Fields, Annika Chambers and more. So bummed I lost that list. Shoot, Laura Chavez stopped in also and I wish she had been able to stick around because I would have put her on the stage just to be able to brag she has graced the WiB stage 3 times! She performed at our 2nd fest in 2007 with Lara Price, then the following year with Candye Kane. It would have been fun to say she was the only one to play a WiB stage 3 times! Hoping to make that happen yet. Paula Harris and Rachelle Coba had last minute gigs but were supporting us in spirit. Tamara Nicolai had planned on slipping in but also got a last minute gig and called just to say she was sorry she was not there.
It was a long day for me. I got to the hall at 9:30am and did not leave until nearly 6, shortly after our last extra acts performed. I was plum wore out. Tuckered to the core. Yet, everywhere I went I was stopped by people who said that the WiB showcase was one of the best side events at IBC. A lot of our ladies have reported being stopped and thanks for doing the showcase. Male musicians fussed at me that Redd Velvet brought them to tears in public. Got to love that! Terri Robbins (my sidekick) was even thanked at the airport on her way home. I am still getting emails and calls thanking me. I admit it is hard to take the praise as it took many people and tons of great talent to make this showcase come together. But it was so worth the effort.
I will get some video out soon and expect more photos and video to be sent to me to add to the collection. I have to get our video edited but for now have used Anthony Earls photos again because he managed to capture incredible shots of the artists and indeed the spirit of this wonderful day.
I want to thank all of you. Not just those who helped put the event together (did some of that earlier this week), not just the artists who graced the stages, but all of the people who came. This year we had even bigger numbers than last year. Proving once again that people really do love hearing women sing the blues!
Next year? Yes, there is talk but slow down before asking me. I am still recovering from this year and we have plenty of time to plan. I also really want to thank the Blues Foundation for adding us to the schedule on their web site. That meant a great deal to all of us.
For now, I will sign off but as photos and video come in, more will get posted. The Women in Blues are just too incredible to miss. So, if you missed our event, check out a WiB gig near you soon! Buy their CD’s and download the music (legally please). Keep supporting women in blues and sure enough the playing field will be level. My goal has never been to take over the field… just even things out. With your continued help, we can make that happen.
Stay tuned for more details on the campaign to get our own 501 status and to build the new web site with a WiB directory!