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Energetic performances on tap for blues fest/Organizers hope 2008 event will continue recent growth trend

Friday, June 20, 2008

The crowd is already large early in the eight-hour concert in 2007. Organizers estimate more than 900 people attended the Bear Creek Blues Festival in Slater last year.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
Jill Murray expects to see some energy on the stage of the fifth annual Bear Creek Blues Festival Saturday, June 28, in Slater.

The founder and lead organizer of the festival knows her blues bands and makes it a point to see bands live before she invites them to perform at Slater's annual blues bash.

"Stage presence" may dominate the eight-hour show, from what she's seen of the artists on this year's slate.

Norma Jeane and Charles Ferguson enjoy the music at the 2007 Bear Creek Blues Festival. Although usually associated with the music played by the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra, where both play bass and he is director emeritus, the Fergusons are also blues fans, they said.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
--Doghouse Daddies from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

--Lew Jetton & 61 South from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

--Mike Zito 8:30 to 10 p.m.

--Guitar giveaway following Mike Zito. A Peavey Jazz Fusion guitar is being raffled. Ticketrs are $1 or six for $5.

--Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials from 10:30 to midnight.

For the second year, the festival will end with a fireworks display, according to Murray.

And for the first time, representatives from the Blues Foundation of Memphis are planning to attend, hosting a booth and possibly assisting with emcee duties.

Mr. Fletcher's One Man Blues Band will be back this year to play before the concert lineup takes the stage and between sets, but this year the "one man" band will become a duo, with Scott McCullough on harp joining Mr. Fletcher.

The event has continued to grow each year, taking a big leap in attendance last year with an increase of 30 percent over attendance in 2006. More than 900 people attended in 2007, according to organizers.

Tickets for the event are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate for anyone aged 13 and older and $6 for children aged 5 through 12.

Gates open at 3:30 p.m. Music starts at 4 p.m.

The festival receives funding from the Missouri Arts Council, the Marshall Tourism Commission via the Marshall Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee and from area businesses.

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Contact Eric Crump at marshalleditor@socket.net

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