PHOENIXVILLE >> Steamy temperatures failed to keep music fans from enjoying some of the hottest music around.
More than 5,000 people set up chairs and picnic blankets Saturday to enjoy the sunny weather and variety of blues bands from all over the region at the 7th Annual Phoenixville Blues Festival in Reeves Park.
The all-day festival has become a staple in Phoenixville’s arts and music scene, with people traveling far and wide to enjoy grooving to the blues. Along with multiple bands, spotlighting musicians of all ages, the festival features 20 different food and craft vendors, selling everything from handmade jewelry, art and locally grown food.
“I’m glad to be back,” said artist and vendor Dane Tilghman of Exton. “The people are always the most important thing to me. I do blues festivals all over the East Coast and I never get tired of the people; the atmosphere, friends, family and the blues. Keeping the blues alive is vitally important. I’m always creating something, whether it’s blues art, Americana or landscape. I believe in trying to bring out new stuff every year,” said Tilghman.
Proceeds from Blues Fest go toward supporting many different non profit groups in the Phoenixville community including PACS, Unite For Her, Phoenixville Library and Paint the Town Pink. Funds raised this year also went toward the Phoenixville Area High School Orchestra. The free festival encouraged a donation of $5 with funds going to help these organizations.
Organizer Jim DiGuiseppe works year round on the festival, traveling up and down the East Coast scouting new music to bring to the festival. Organizers also attend the International Blues Competition in Memphis to find talent. DiGuiseppe noted there were a few new things to the festival this year.
“This is our seventh year. We’re doing the national anthem with Vocal Fusion, an acapella group from the high school. We also had high school art students design the poster and tee shirts. Any extra funds go to the high school orchestra to buy instruments. We’ve given $50,000 back (to the community) over the years,” DiGuiseppe commented.
“Phoenixville has a lot going on down town. There’s a lot associated with music. The buzz this year has been great. People just rally around it. This year we worked with the Chamber of Commerce,” he added.
Hazel and Ash Organics from Coatesville was among the food vendor booths, selling homemade organic sauces and relishes. Owner Brian Green and his wife Andrea Keith, said this was their second year at Blues Fest. Green noted the work with locals farmers, as well as grow produce themselves for their products.
“You can’t ask for a better event, where you have great music, great people, a great city to celebrate a wonderful summer day,” Green remarked.
Collegeville residents Hank and Joyce Williams were among the audience members enjoying the day of music.
“It’s a great day in the park. The music is good, we love the blues,” said Williams.