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Spa City Blues Festival
Hot Springs, AR
Labor Day Weekend
We headed off to Hot Springs’ town proper, wonderful old buildings mixed in with the town’s famous bathhouses, marvelous edifices of another era that seem completely out of place in this place. The whole thing would be beautiful if it wasn’t so relentlessly touristy, complete with those horrid Duck Boats trolling the streets further jamming up already jammed traffic.
But no mind, we had the windows down and we smelled some sort of barbeque-esque scent and moments later PluckyMobile was parked and we were following our noses toward the scent. Our ears took over the hunt though as the sound of blues music wafted through the night air. A couple of blocks away was the closing night of the Spa City Blues Festival and we found a big parking lot full of the town’s denizens enjoying the music, the beer, and the various food on sticks and/or barbeque.
The blues singer on stage was surprisingly good, even for Mary who insists that the only true blues music can’t possibly come from anyone still alive. Or sighted. But since dead people don’t give too many concerts this would have to do and do it did, a true Mississippi bluesman with back-up from a Chicago bred harmonica player, a St. Louis guitarist, and a New Orleans bassist.
The cross-section of people in that parking lot was as socio-economic and racial melting pot as you can get, all mingling and enjoying and drinking and dancing. We hate to go back to these kinds of stupid stereotypes but when you come from Los Angeles where the tribal lines are fairly well drawn by neighborhood, seeing this kind of poor/moneyed, young/old, black/white congregation was heartening.
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