In an email today from organizer Matson Breakey, (yes that is his real name) it appears that the 2009 Nor Cal Blues Festival has been canceled. The event was to be held on Sep 12 at Southside Park. Refunds, of course, will be given to those that have already bought tickets.
The real question is how sustainable are America’s original musical styles. Jazz and blues are slowly draining out of middle market towns like Sacramento. While the clubs and shows and performers in towns like Chicago and New York and San Francisco are still thriving, smaller market towns are losing any vestige of their former prominence.
The Jubilee is on life support, NCBF has been canceled, and fewer and fewer national acts come anywhere near our reasonably sized city. For example, when’s the last time Keith Jarrett swung through town? You see my point exactly, I’m sure.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but I know some progress has been made in keeping a few venues in town going 3-5 nights a week on nothing but jazz and blues: clubs like Torch Club, and JB’s lounge. But more work needs to be done, especially in thinning the ranks of blues bands around here. If I see another “authentic” blues group fronted by a couple of bearded 50ish white guys wearing shirts with flames on them, I might never listen to the blues again. Clean up your house, blues musicians, and kick these guys to the curb. They’re giving you a bad name.