By Brian Abate
More than 250 people attended the 10th Annual College Park Blues Festival, a free event on Saturday at Ritchie Coliseum.
Multiple groups performed, including the Lionel Young Band, the Bad Influence Band, Patty Reese and Dave Chappell and Lady D & The Rogue Johnsen Trio, who won the DC Blues Society’s Battle of the Bands.
“The place was filled up beyond capacity,” said Sharon Fletcher of the College Park Public Services Department, who worked at the event. “So many people were standing up or dancing that nobody seemed to mind the big crowd.”
Jazz, a member of the College Park Recreation Board who helped organized the event, praised fans for coming out.
“It’s raining, it’s cold and we still were already filled beyond capacity about an hour in,” she said. “I expected the music to be great, but the crowd’s enthusiasm has made this even better. I also want to thank all of our volunteers, who made this possible.”
The festival had more than 30 volunteers working before, during and after the festival.
“I’ve had a great time helping out here,” said Adam Carter-Headrick, a volunteer for the festival. “I work at Nando’s, so it’s not like I’m new to the area, but it was great to meet so many new people. This is a very different crowd from what I’m used to in this area.”
People came in from many different counties to go to the festival. Some students attended the festival, but most attendees were older, according to Fletcher.
“It’s not the type of music the typical college kid listens to, so there’s a very different audience,” said Jaehoon Jang, a senior music and business major. “I wasn’t expecting that many students to go, so it’s surprising that the crowd is this big.”
Jazz said most people go for the music, but others for the food, jewelry and clothing stands or to socialize with friends.
“Everyone has their own reason for coming, and I’m really happy about the attendance for this year’s festival,” she said.
Attendance is approximated, but Fletcher said this year’s attendance could be the highest of any College Park Blues Festival.
“There is also an Annual Silver Springs Blues Festival too,” said Jazz. “We’re trying to spread the word early so people can come out for that festival.”
The Silver Springs Blues Festival will take place on Saturday, June 16, 2018.