Bustin Out the Blues at Bayfront Park

30th Annual Blues Fest Takes Place

Duluth, Minn.- It’s time to get out your guitars and harmonicas, ’cause Duluth is crying the blues this weekend. The 30th Annual Blues Festival took over Bayfront Festival Park.

Hardened men hunch over pianos, or cradle guitars, playfully hopping along notes on the stage at Bayfront.

The music commands the crowd to move and sway. And Duluth crowds are known to get down.

“For a blues band this is the peak gig for you,” said Pat Hayes. He provides harmonica, guitar, and vocals for the Lamont Cranston Band. “Bigger crowds, best appreciation of the music.”

That Appreciation has carried the festival for 30 years, bringing legends like Buddy Guy and Little Richard to the Northland.

With about 22,000 people attending each yer, Bayfront Blues Festival is one of the largest in the Midwest. And it attracts crowds from across the country.

Many come in groups. Al Farmer has been coming with a group of 2 other couples for 21 years. They all belong to the Order of Turtles, a charity organization.

“There’s the music, there’s the camaraderie,” said Farmer. “I don’t know the names of a lot of the people I see every year. I’ve seen families grow up, it’s kinda a hoot.”

Their flag is posted behind them, with each couple attaching a turtle on for each year they’ve come. And there’s always room for more.

Hayes has been coming with Lamont Cranston since the festival’s beginnings 30 years ago. 30 years with the crowds, experiencing all the blues have to offer.

“It doesn’t have to be sad,” said Hayes, with a gleeful smile.”It can be happy, it can be scary, it can be mean, it can be loving. Y’know, every emotion you got can be expressed in the blues.”

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