Festival goers, police, performers all offer points of view at Roots ’N Blues

Sunday, September 27, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 5:54 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 27, 2009

During a short downpour, Peace Park turned into a mud pit. Festivalgoers congregated under building awnings and in open business doorways. Some people outside the Roots ’N Blues Village carried umbrellas and ponchos while others used their intuitive fashion sense and created rain slickers out of garbage bags. When the rain stopped, the party continued.

—Emmy Hayes

Chefs Almeta and Rosetta Moore of Rooten Tooten Bar B Que worked two smokers, cooking 650 pounds of pork, 250 pounds of beef and about 120 pounds of turkey legs. Their stand was by the north entrance to the Roots ’N Blues Village, at Seventh and Locust streets. Hickory and cherry wood fueled the smoker, and couple make their own sauce from a secret recipe.

The Moores arrived at 7:30 p.m. Friday and set up until 4 a.m. the next day. They took a nap and started cooking at 9 a.m. Saturday. By 6:45 p.m., the chefs had sold out of everything except five pork rolls.

—Juan Pablo Garcia

At least a few police officers stood near each of the three entrances to the Roots ’N Blues Village — on horseback, in golf carts, in parked cars, in moving cars. Fire fighters patrolled the area, as did Community Emergency Response Teams. Paramedics dotted the festival, and volunteers in red shirts guided people at ticket booths.

—Juan Pablo Garcia

Not all of the blues was performed on stage. A man who goes by Stoker on the corner of Sixth and Cherry streets sat for most of Saturday singing blues and playing a worn Ibanez hollow-body guitar and a harmonica. He sat on a small amplifier in front of his motorcycle – a black bike with a set of bullhorns over the single headlight. His open guitar case was filled with change and single dollar bills. Attendees took his picture and captured him on video in his blue jeans, black shirt, black velvet cowboy hat and sunglasses.

—Juan Pablo Garcia

The Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears crowd, pushed up to the stage and extending out down Seventh and Locust streets, weren’t the only ones dancing. Guitarists Zach Ernst and Bill Stevenson circled each other back-to-back to the beats of Matt Strmiska’s drums while David McKnight and Eduardo Ramirez floored the audience with their passionately delivered saxophone solos. And at the tail end of the set, Black Joe Lewis himself put down the guitar, picked up the mic and showed off his moves.

—Sangeeta Shastry

Two female singers took the stage at 1 p.m. Ana Popovic, a Yugoslavian-American singer-guitarist with a passion for the blues, played some jazzy guitar riffs at the Mediacom Stage in Peace Park.  Popovic drew quite a crowd.  From older couples dancing to the swingy tunes or young families with kids in tow, concertgoers enjoyed her smooth, laid-back style. Nearby, on the MPIX Stage at Seventh and Locust streets, Heather Myles wooed listeners with her feel-good country style.  Myles, known for her song “Cars,” had quite a few people dancing around Seventh Street.

—Katie Davis

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Brian Jarvis September 28, 2009 | 9:38 a.m.

Between the downpour, the $15 admission charge and the long lines for food, I was a bit disappointed. Watching the locals perform on the side streets was a better deal than fighting the crowds. At least for me.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 28, 2009 | 10:10 a.m.

One rocking great time!! Another resident of Paquin and myself hooked up at the Flat Branch Concert for Chump Change at 11:45 first then toodled on down for Heather Miles at 7th and Locust and then headed over to Peace Park for Jr Brown at 3pm.

Even with the semi heavy rain at the Jr Brown Concert it was a great time and non stop music.

That was probably one of the best three concert runs in one day I have been to in a very long time.

I just hope the venues are that well planned out next year if this festival is to happen once again.

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