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Blind WIllie festival brings varied acts to McDuffie County venue
A 'great' day for music

Saturday was perfect for the annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival.

"The crowd was great, the weather was great, the vendors were great, the music was great," organizer Don Powers said in a telephone interview.

In an e-mail to local media Monday, Mr. Powers said between 1,350 and 1,500 attended the festival. Because the morning began with heavy cloud coverage, Mr. Powers said he spent the morning anxiously watching weather radars on his Blackberry. But the sky cleared and the sun shone bright as noon approached.

Children enjoyed playing in the sprinklers and inflatable rides while adults had lunch from the old and new vendors, ranging from Thomson's Poppa's Finest Barbecue and Crums on Central from Augusta, to Atlanta Culinary and the Thomson Fire Department's grilling.

"Everybody seemed happy and I think they all did well," Mr. Powers said.

The band which Mr. Powers belongs to - Crosstie Walkers - opened the festival, and were joined later by Nashville Gospel Artist Mike Farris. Chatham County Line played next, serenading in more people carrying their lawn chairs and tents.

""You can tell by our instruments and outfits that we are one of the premier Blues bands," Chatham County Line's Dave Wilson quipped to the crowd. "We love the Blind Willie Blues Festival. It's great to be here."

Those who weren't eating and sun bathing in their chairs were dancing in the mosh pit. Toni Bowen came from Atlanta, and was learning to crochet while she listened to the tunes. She was sitting with Susan Thigpen, from Thomson. The two said they met at last year's festival and became friends. And they weren't the only ones returning for a good time.

"We come every year, and we love it," said Ruth Hutchinson, as she danced with her two-year-old grandson, Will.

Newcomers this year were members of the McDuffie Arts Council, who had a booth showcasing works with a musical or Southern theme. The event was a good trial-run for MAC, who is sponsoring a festival of their own the last Saturday in May - Arts in the Alley in downtown Thomson.

"All of the art was great," MAC chairman, Marion Ivey, said in an email. "It's good to know that the talent pool is deep enough within this group to put projects together with a theme in mind. The Georgia Music Hall of Fame is taking some of our Arts in the Alley posters back to Athens and putting them in key spots as well as a few others from the Atlanta area. Hopefully this will make a difference for us."

Spotted: Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival



Web posted on Thursday, May 14, 2009













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