QC Blues Fest Wins Presigious Award

January  24, 2014

As a local festival celebrates its 30th year, it's also won a coveted prize in music circles. Today in Memphis, the Blues Foundation presented the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival with this year's Keeping the Blues Alive award, in the category U.S. Festival.

Art Tipaldi served on the committee that chose the Quad Cities festival. He says the award is not given to the best festival of the year. Instead, the foundation gives the Keeping the Blues Alive honor as a  lifetime achievement award. "To be at 30 years in this economy. I mean, some festivals have had to cut back from three to two days or not host at all. That it found a support system in Davenport and the area shows how much the festival means to the area."

Five years ago, at the height of the recession, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival had to host fundraisers after a flood forced the group to move its venues from Davenport's LeClaire Park to 2nd Street. Back then, the local visitors bureau estimated it brought in about 2.5 million dollars a year to the local economy. 

Tipaldi says the blues society has a deep, deep history. "Look at the list of performers they've had over the years. It's a who's who in the blues. They don't disappoint their fans!"

 In the past, the Mississippi Valley Blues Society has won the Organization of the Year award. All three times during a flood year: 1993, 2001, and 2008.  Tipaldi says only certain people or groups can nominate festivals for the Keeping the Blues Alive honor. And it was past award winner in the education category, Hawkeye Herman, who  nominated the Quad Cities blues festival to help promote its 30th anniversary. 


(Photos and sources: top 013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival by Jay Pearce, center The Blues Foundation logo, bottom HawkeyeHerman.com)