16 bands compete in River City Blues

MARIETTA – Music fans and musicians converged on the Pioneer City this weekend for the River City Blues Competition.

More than 1,000 people converged on the Lafayette Hotel in downtown Marietta Friday night through Saturday for the 21st annual competition.

Due to deadlines, the winner of the competition will be announced in Monday’s edition of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel/Marietta A.M.

“(Blues) is a great genre, an original American music that people really seem to love,” said John Gifford, one of the organizers with the Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society in Marietta, which has been organizing the competition for two decades.

The two-day competition, which began Friday evening with the first round of competition, included 16 bands from around the country. Groups of bands competed Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, with those winners competing Saturday night in the final round to determine the winners of the competition.

“The biggest show is always Saturday night because the friends, family and supporters of the bands come to cheer them on,” Gifford said. “It’s just a lot of fun and a great time with fantastic music.”

Gifford added that the local competition has gotten stiff with bands who do not qualify having tried to get in.

“Our reputation has gotten out and artists know what can happen if they come here and win,” he added.

The winner – or two of the top three finishers if there’s at least one group or solo/duo – will receive sponsorship from the BJFMS to the 2014 International Blues Competition in Memphis.

Just because this year’s event has finished does not mean Gifford and the River City Blues Competition are taking a break.

“We will start planning for next year as soon as things for this year are finished,” he said. “Musicians love our competition and we spend a lot of time working on it to make it great.”