Blues Festival will be missed in Marquette

We’re certain we speak for a great many Superiorland residents and visitors alike when we express a true sense of loss relative to the Blues Festival in Marquette.

An annual late-summer fixture in the city’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park, the upcoming edition, the 20th, will be the last, according to the people that stage it — the Marquette Area Blues Society.

“Many factors went into the decision to make the 20th Blues Fest the final one. Most importantly, we wanted to go out strong and on our own terms, while we still have a little gas in the tank,” a society news release late last week stated. “We are a small, but dedicated and passionate group of blues lovers, and to put it bluntly, we’re not getting any younger. Most of us have been involved in planning and executing the fest for the entire 20 years, and over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to host and present the festival to our standards.”

Other factors that came into play include the rising expenses of all elements of producing the festival and the continuing challenge of attracting and retaining the volunteers needed to execute the festival.

“Rest assured, this is not the end of the Marquette Area Blues Society,” the release detailed. “We are merely shifting our focus and direction as we continue to follow our mission statement of promoting and preserving the uniquely American art form called the blues here in the U.P.”

The organization’s plan includes hosting a quarterly blues concert series with touring national blues artists and local blues performers at different venues around the central Upper Peninsula.

Members will also continue to work to expand their Bluesday Tuesday event series at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette and grow their educational outreach programs.

Of course, people are wondering if another group will develop something similar. That’s anyone’s guess.

That stated, we’d like to offer our heartfelt thanks to the crew who has been doing the heavy lifting with the blues festival all these years.

Your work, so much of it behind the scenes, has significantly contributed to the arts and culture scene in this area.

Thank you.


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