From the President...       June 17, 2015

Greetings once again Blues Fans!!

Good beautiful evening Blues Fans!! WOW!! That’s all I can say… So I’ll say it again, backwards -- WOW!!! What an extraordinary inaugural Utah Blues Festival last Saturday! On behalf of the entire Utah Blues Society, in particular Treasurer Tripp Hopkins, Paul Bruno, Melissa Smith and Sharon and Greg Daniels, UBS President Brian Kelm here with a heartfelt, congratulatory THANK YOU! Job well done!

As the dust settles and we regain some semblance of order in our lives, we are overwhelmed and encouraged at the support of the blues community for our wildly successful UBF. It was so busy and jubilant that it proved difficult to keep track of the numbers by night’s end. But at last count, we had a pretty good handle on 1500 being in the house, and lots more streamed in as the sun set, so we figure we were just shy of 1800. With 1800 being the maximum capacity (and even at that, it didn’t seem crowded, did it?!), we’re essentially calling it “SOLD OUT”!!! Nicely done!

Despite the huge turn-out, we felt the volunteers went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a smooth and enjoyable festival for you. Remember, we are all just Blues fans like you, we aren’t professionals at this. But we wanted to throw a festival that we would’ve wanted to attend, how we think a festival should be run, since Lord knows we’ve all been to lots of them and so we tried to incorporate all the good in all the festivities attended. We wanted non-stop music to choose from – so we splurged on 2 stages. We like being able to go to our cars to get a low rider chair, a jacket later at night, whatever… so until that becomes an issue, we hope to continue that option. We like to be able to roam around festival grounds with an adult beverage if we so choose, so we went to the trouble of securing that. We want to keep ticket prices reasonable to be as inclusive as possible (in that regard, please support our SPONSORS, without whom, ticket prices would be $75!). We like lots of options of HIGH QUALITY schwag, and Paul Bruno certainly delivered with amazing merch. No cheap T-shirts here.

Could things have been done differently/better? Certainly. And we’ve gotten great feedback already from many. Obviously, one thing we can’t change is the weather and the temp is always going to be a factor in Utah, in Summer. It is impossible to safely and economically cover an existing amphitheater – so there’s no easy solution there. And regarding the Garden Stage, we rented the biggest tent that would fit on that plaza area. Were the crowd smaller, shade wouldn’t have been quite the premium it was, but we are already working on solutions. Other suggestions we are addressing for next year are including some good ol standby’s like Coke, Diet Coke, etc.; better, clearly marked recycling (the UCCC has various color trash cans but it was confusing); activities to occupy kids; and serving wine (though regulations and whatnot for this are quite different than just serving 3.2 beer!). Most all of these can easily be addressed, and we will. The weather and tons of shade are greater challenges, however, but even so, we are already working on that as we speak!! (OK, the shade anyway! Weather’s weather…). If you have any other feedback, by all means, share, we’d love to hear it! Because believe it or not, we are already at work on next year’s bigger and better UTAH BLUES FEST – our first meeting this Saturday! No rest for the dedicated!

We’ve had lots of people express interest in volunteering, which is awesome, but hold that thought and we’ll do a shout out for that right after the new year. A bit too early to tell where we’ll need you. However, we do have continued, immediate need for assistance by a CPA, or someone with solid accounting skills to help Treasurer Tripp, as well as a Blues fan skilled in web work/social media. So let us know at

See you at the UT ARTS FESTIVAL next week where there’s choice Blues on the Amphitheater stage: Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers (Fri.); Royal Southern Brotherhood (Sat.); and the double header of the Lloyd Jones Struggle AND Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials on Sunday! Until then, on behalf of your Festival crew – Tripp, Paul, Greg, Sharon, and Melissa and her nearly 75 extraordinary volunteers, as well as all the bands, production (thanks Wylder Productions & Greybeard Productions!), sponsors and especially YOU, for showing up!!!.... in the 1973 immortal words of that dynamic gentleman of the Blues, Mr. B.B. King, “Thank You for Loving the Blues.”

... Love Them Blues,

Brian Kelm - UBS President