Getting sprung: It was an amazing thing. Yesterday I was proofing the final copy for this issue and actually managed to do it while sitting outside and soaking up some early-March Colorado sunshine. I know most people think that Colorado winters are on a par with, say, Minneapolis, but usually taint so. Its not all that rare to get six inches of snow one day and have it be 60 degrees the next.
This winter, though, has been something of a bear: very few warm days and less than our normal ration of sunny ones. All of which has helped conspire to put yours truly into a blue funk. Ive been spending way too much time in my basement office, staring at a computer screen, i.e., the very thing Im doing right now.
So it was with great relief that I was able to pick up a stack of printouts from the biohazard zone at Moxie Sozo, where our designers toil in their own cave (suffering from this seasons toxic brew of cold virus nasties), and hang out on a friends nearby back porch while I corrected them. The suns rays managed to illuminate some parts of my soul that have been huddling in the dark for way too long. If youre thinking This guy needs to get out more, youre right! Even if I am the one who chose the glamorous life of a small-market magazine publisher.
One cure for those Wintertime Blues is this, the first of our annual festival issues. As the days get longer and warmer, we can look forward to more opportunities to spend a day out of doors listening to some of the best music there is. From Byron Bay, Australia, to Thomson, Georgia, to Portland, Oregon, there is almost certain to be a blues festival somewhere within a days drive of wherever you live. Weve listed over 40 of them from April through early July in this issue, and will have plenty more to tell you about in the summer one. Because of space limitations, weve only given the basic information in these pages. If youd like to know whos playing where, we tell you all we know in our online edition at www.bluesaccess.com and provide you with links to festivals that have their own home pages. We usually update our information once or twice a week through fall.
Going, going, GoneGaGa: One contributor to my personal set of blues was the demise in January of GoGaGa.com, the site of the Red Roosters very own streaming music channel. Those of you who took our advice and tuned in know Gogaga Blues provided a much wider variety of serious blues than youd ever find on your radio.
When this project was starting to get off the ground a year earlier it was very exciting to be involved with quality radio producers from a variety of musical genres. The company had a highly ambitious plan and it seemed like the sky was the limit to what we could do. As it turned out, it was apparently a bit too ambitious, as our great ideas often outstripped the ability of our technical people to make them reality. Then, of course, came the Great Dot-Com Crash of 2000 and funding for anything Internet-related just dried up. With it, sadly, went our dream of a place in cyberspace that would draw together blues resources from around the country and the world. (World Blues Domination or Bust! now that would have been a truly megalomaniacal motto.)
Still, there is plenty of blues good news on the high-tech horizon. XM Radio is developing a system that will beam hundreds of channels of music (and whatever) direct to your car radio. Just this morning we received some PR about the American Blues Network (their website is under construction at www.americanbluesnetwork.com) which says that they are broadcasting live 24 hours a day with an 800 number request line. These are just two of many businesses that realize the existence of blues lovers and would like to cater to us. There are countless over-the-air radio stations who now have a World Wide Web component that airs their specialty blues shows, and there are many enterprising individuals streaming their own blues mixes.
Despite the I-told-you-sos of various experts, the Net is still in its infancy as an entertainment and commercial medium. In 20 years or probably less well look back at the turn-of-the-century Internet the same way Sony GameStation users would look at Pong. Hopefully well be listening to Muddy crooning a tune while we do.