THOMSON - There's nothing like the blues.
Organizers are hoping that several thousand people share that sentiment when they show up for the 10th annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival on Saturday in Thomson. The event typically showcases some of the country's leading blues artists and this year is no different.
"It's as good a lineup as we've ever had," said Don Powers, one of the festival's organizers.
Headlining will be the critically-acclaimed Magic Slim and the Teardrops, who previously headlined the festival back in 1994. Other acts will include Atlanta sensation Sean Costello, as well as local favorites Crosstie Walkers.
Powers indicated that this year is especially important for the festival, given its less than exemplary attendance figures in the past.
"We need to get our attendance up in the 1,500 to 2,000 person range every year for the festival to continue," said Powers. "The community has supported us in the past, but not as much as we'd like."
Powers said the festival often gets support from other parts of Georiga, specifically Atlanta, but often comes up short when it comes to local representation.
"By and large, I would say most of the people that come are not locals," said Gerald Baygents, Director of the Thomson-McDuffie Tourism Board, and one of the events co-sponsors. "It is a tourism event because we're bringing in outsiders - blues fans from Atlanta and South Carolina. But we're proud of it, and it's put us on the map. We hope it continues to be a part of our history."
However, this year Powers and his co-organizers with the Activities Council of Thomson are confident that the festival will gain some ground locally.
"You can come have a nice, safe afternoon listening to music that you would never be able to hear anywhere else for the price we offer, and artists that would never be in this area. You would never hear them all together, never in the setting we'll have, out in the field with good food," said Powers.
A food court providing a wide array of beverage and meal choices will be featured.
Advance tickets are $15 each and $20 at the gate. More information can be obtained at www.blindwillie.com or by calling 706-591-1000 or 706-541-9828. Tickets can be purchased at www.tixonline.com. The Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival will be held off of Highway 17 in Thomson on Stagecoach Road near the I-20 exit.
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