POMEROY — “It’s nice to have the weather cooperate for a change,” said Blues Bash organizer Jackie Welker as sunshine poured onto the River Walk during opening festivities. That weather continued into Saturday.
The Friday kickoff for Blues Bash, Pomeroy’s premiere summer event, saw the return of major artists Johnny Rawls and Patrick Sweany, as well as newcomer Noah Wotherspoon, and local band Blitzkrieg.
“We like to have that mix of new acts along with the familiar, it’s just great music all weekend,” said Welker.
He noted the Saturday card included Davy Knowles, an internationally touring guitarist, who played at the Court Street Grill in April.
The Pomeroy Blues and Jazz Society sponsors a variety of music events during the year, including the Rhythm of the River, a free concert series held on the levy in the run-up to Blues Bash.
Fifteen-year member Phil Ohlinger, who also serves as electrical and stage manager for the Bash, said “We’ve had a really good response this year, and some really great bands…it’s really a special thing Pomeroy can do each year.”
Local favorite Patrick Sweany says the level of production has grown each year.
“I live in Nashville now, and it’s great to see the old juke spot on the map.” He continued, “The festival was always a good showcase to play alongside some national acts, back when you’re trying to break out. Jackie (Welker) has been a big part of that.”
“Everyone should get out here and enjoy this, and embrace all the musicians. It’s great for the little town we have here,” said one local resident in attendance.
Festival volunteers wore identifying shirts, but were as easily spotted with beaming faces.
“This is my 12th year volunteering, and it’s whatever I can do, I love doing this. It’s a great view, there’s lots of vendors, just a great time all around,” said Larry Butcher, who manned a tent near the entrance.
Mary Freeman and Marlene Johnson, who operated a drinks station, summed it up. “Where else can you go for all this? The blues bash is something that should not be missed.”
Michael Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.