by Mark Wright
On Friday and Saturday, September 14-15, several thousand people and 18 bands will unite at 7th and Wabash for two days of music and fun as the Blues at the Crossroads Festival returns to Terre Haute. Friday night’s kickoff begins at 6:00 pm and will continue until 1:30 am or thereabouts; the festivities kick back up Saturday at 3:00 pm and will finish whenever everyone is gone in the early morning hours of Sunday.
This year marks the 19th year of the popular festival, and organizer Connie Wrin hopes for somewhere between five and ten thousand music lovers to enjoy some great bands on two stages. Bring a lawn chair and sit on Wabash Avenue facing the stage set up on 7th Street, or go inside The Verve nightclub and listen, or go back and forth, and you will find something to make you smile. Oh yeah: there will be plenty to eat and drink as well, and a silent disco tent for those who want to dance to a different drummer, so to speak
The Verve has recently reopened after a remodel, with a new bar, a staff newly trained in a variety of specialty drinks made with fresh juices and homemade bitters and syrups, a wide selection of beers from a variety of breweries, and an atmosphere that produces a helluva good time. Several new beers will be on tap in the outdoor beer garden this year through Monarch Distributors, including Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale and Sun King’s Osiris.
One of the coolest things about the festival is what Connie Wrin does with any profits she makes. Through the years, she has donated to different organizations and one year made a trip to the Gulf Coast with truckloads of supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims. But since 2012, she has collaborated with the Community School of the Arts to establish the “Music is Key” program for underprivileged children in the Vigo County School Corporation. They are currently reaching out to indentify at-risk children who are invited to submit an essay about why they are interested in music or what it means to them. Last year, all ten students who did so were given a free guitar and one year of music lessons. And those ten students will be invited up on stage to perform at 3:00 pm to kick off Saturday’s activities this year in what may be the most enjoyable performance of the entire weekend. And immediately afterward, Connie hopes to take the stage, announce this year’s recipients, and present them with guitars. “I’d love to give a way a couple of dozen guitars and lessons this year if we can get the word out in time.” Connie is working with The Main Mix, a newly opened music store in Terre Haute, to obtain the instruments.
Although Connie is absolutely the enthusiastic, incredibly passionate driving force behind the festival, she prefers to spread the credit around to several local organizations she has reached out to for sponsorship, including Candlewood Suites, Monarch Distributing, Bell’s Brewing Company, The Terre Haute Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Sun King Brewery, the Hilton Garden Inn, Indiana State University, the Terre Haute Brewing Company, Fox News, MyFox10, and WTHI television. “All these organizations really help make it happen,” she says.
It would be incredible to see ten thousand people line Wabash Avenue for this year’s festival in support of music and the arts. Mark your calendars and dust off those lawn chairs and get ready to party.
Check out more info on the festival at https://vervenightclub.com/bluesfest/
This years Blues at the Crossroads entertainment lineup:
Friday, September 14:
6:15 – 7:45 Max Allen
8:00 – 9:30 Mike Milligan
9:45 – 11:15 Kelly Richey
11:30 – 1:00 Freekbass
7:00 – 8:30 Bastard Hounds
9:00 – 10:30 Great Affair
11:00 – 1:00 The Nerve
Saturday, September 15:
3:00 guitar awards ceremony and performance
3:15 – 3:30 Rock Band
3:45 – 5:00 Michael Kelsey
5:15 – 6:30 Tad Robinson
6:45 – 8:15 Charles Walker Band
8:30 – 10:00 Eric Steckel
10:15 – 11:45 Miller Band
12:00 – 1:30 Solid Sauce
6:00 – 7:30 CONA
8:00 – 9:30 The Syndicate
10:00 – 11:30 White Light Revival
12:00 – 1:30 Jazz Metamorphosis
After almost 40 years teaching high school English—most of them at South Vermillion—Wright now teaches composition part time at ISU. A member of the Wabash Valley Musicians’ Hall of Fame, Wright and his Band—The Crowe Committee—have become a popular attraction in the Terre Haute music scene.