POMEROY, Ohio — After a year with no concerts, a little rain did not deter music fans from attending the first Rhythm on the River of the 2021 season.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 season that would have included the weekly music series beginning in June and the main event, Big Bend Blues Bash in July.
“It has been a long year without our summer concerts at the Riverside Amphitheater,” said Jackie Welker, Pomeroy Blues & Jazz Society founder and owner of Court Grill. “We are very happy things are happening again.”
Welker’s enthusiasm for Blues has led to the establishment of Pomeroy as a venue for many nationally recognized musicians who perform during Rhythm on the River and Big Bend Blues Bash.
The annual summer music series kicked off on Friday with singer songwriter Patrick Sweany’s blend of blues and rock. Sweany grew up in Ohio, but has made Nashville his home. He has been performing in Pomeroy for the past 21 years, and said he is a longtime friend of Welker. He shared last year was difficult for musicians, and he appreciates the efforts of people like Welker to get things going again.
“Musicians want to be out with people playing our music, it is hard for someone like me to stay couped up. It was so great to be back in Pomeroy, to be out again playing live concerts,” said Sweany.
This year’s series has been scaled back, with free monthly Rhythm concerts instead of weekly, the next is scheduled for July 8 with the Texas Blues of the Mark May Band.
The Big Bend Blues Bash will return to the amphitheater Aug. 6 and 7 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the two-day event.
“We are so excited to announce the dates and musicians and begin promoting this event,” said Welker, adding that he hopes bringing the music back to Pomeroy will help with the overall recovery. “Everyone needs something fun to do this summer, come out and enjoy the music.”
For more information and a schedule of summer concerts, visit Rhythm on the River and Big Bend Blues Bash on Facebook.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.