Photos and article by Sandra Michaud

More than a score of local businesspeople met at Q's Bistro Wednesday evening to learn about the plans for the upcoming Silver City Blues Festival in May.

After a short social session, during which C.W. Ayon played the blues, Maureen Craig, President of the Board of MRAC spoke to the group, many of whom have been long-time sponsors of the Festival.

She talked about the work being done to get ready for the festival. "We rely on our successful partnerships with individuals who donate their time to help us with these events," she said. "And our very important partnerships with you local business owners."

Mayor Ken Ladner then spoke about how the Blues Festival has grown over the years from its start in Old James Stadium. "Since then it has become one of the signature events of Silver City."

"It's very important to the economy of Silver City because it brings a lot of tourists to the area," he said. "And the tourists bring money."

He said that this helps the stores and hotels, which is very important since the Lodgers' Tax funds the events that bring visitors.

"The Blues Fest especially, brings a lot of tourists to town. It brings about seven to ten thousand people here over the course of the festival," he added.

Mayor Ladner said that in addition to funds from the Lodgers' Tax, the town supports the festival in other ways, such as security, cleanup and even Porta-Potties.

Kevin Lenkner, Executive Director of MRAC then spoke, introducing Dorian Varda, the new Event Coordinator, who would be working with the various vendors at the event.

Lenkner stressed that the Festival will still be free this year, one of the very few to remain so, but that it faced many challenges, as costs continue to rise, and many of the original volunteers are aging.

He then announced the musicians who would be playing at the Festival.

On Friday, May 25, The Bus Tapes from Santa Fe will be onstage at 6:00pm.

Then on Saturday, May 26, Silver City's own Brandon Perrault & Friends will start the festivities at noon, followed by The Todd Tijerina Trio from Albuquerque, Brody Buster from Kansas City, Amanda Fish, also from Kansas City, and ending with the Ghost Town Blues Band from Memphis.

Finally on Sunday, May 27, C.W. Ayon from Las Cruces will begin the day's music, followed by Tony Holiday & the Velvetones from Salt Lake City, and ending with The Peterson Brothers from Austin.

MRAC is looking for sponsors for the Festival, as well as volunteers and vendors. There are three levels of sponsorship, each with various levels of recognition and other perks. If you would like to be involved contact the Mimbres Region Arts Council at 575-438-2505 or www.MimbresArts.org .