Monday, September 04, 2006

The 2006 Kansas City Blues & Jazz Festival

I had no intention of attending this year's Kansas City Blues & Jazz Festival. I had other obligations on Saturday, so I missed the inexplicable headliner lineup of the Latin Jazz Allstars, Proto-Kaw and Bo Diddley. Is there a single person on the planet who'd care to hear all three of these vastly different acts? And since Sunday's schedule was composed almost exclusively of local blues groups, I didn't plan on driving thirty minutes to pay a $17.50 cover on bands that I can catch in local taverns any night of the week. Luckily, a friend slipped me a free ticket for Sunday's show.

My arrival boosted attendance by half a percent. There couldn't have been more than 500 people there by the time I left early Sunday evening.


I'd read the stories in which the event organizer boasted that fest-goers could wear high heels as they ordered gin and tonics. That's cool, I guess, but I don't recall him mentioning the best feature of the festival grounds. The betting windows are open! Blues and betting- how sweet is that?

I would have happily wagered my October mortgage had a Woodlands staffer been on hand to explain my betting options. Where do these televised races originate? Why can't I find a tip sheet? What's the payout on the exacta? And why in tarnation are these monitors so small?

A few people told me how much they disliked the setup of this festival. I beg to differ. There was only one stage, but the sound and sightlines were great. Beer was fairly priced and the staff, volunteers and blues fans were pleasant. Aside from the sketchy talent lineup, what's not to like?

Bill Dye may be my favorite guitar player in Kansas City. He's working here with The Hatchlings, so named because the guys were once the late Little Hatch's band. Dye is the rare blues guitarist who solos with relaxed, thoughtful and soulful eloquence. I filmed the first minute of a well-constructed solo. Watch it here.

I really hope the festival manages to survive. All it needs is a slighter better mix of talent for me to be all about it in 2007. I'll bring my own tip sheet.


Blogger P. McB. said...

Next year, if you'd like help on the wagering... feel free to drop by the Pups Without Partners booth. The Woodlands Adoption program is track sponsored, so those of us at the events hosted at the Woodlands are always willing to give folks a little course in figuring out how to figure out the wagering.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Ruralgurl said...

Can't help but look at this and miss the old KCB&J Fest....... heavy sigh.
Blistering heat, vile porta-johns and all.

5:16 PM  

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