Chase Your Blues Away: Blues at the Crossroads, 2017

by Mark Wright
Featured Image Courtesy Blues at the Crossroads

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen I arrived at The Verve in Terre Haute at 12:30 on a Friday afternoon to talk to Connie Wrin about the upcoming Blues at the Crossroads, I did not realize I would be walking into the chaos of two local television stations and someone from the Tribune-Star setting up cameras and microphones.  Local media were there to congratulate and recognize a couple of young women who were the beneficiaries of the largesse of Connie, The Blues at the Crossroads, and Indiana State University’s Community School of the Arts.

Emma Dawson and Samantha Lane, two Terre Haute 12-year-olds (or almost, as one told me), were being interviewed because they had won guitars and scholarships to the Terre Haute Guitar Club.  Emma and Samantha were a couple of last year’s winners; twelve more will be selected this year.

The guitar club falls under the aegis of the Music is Key program, a collaborative effort between the Blues at the Crossroads Festival and Indiana State’s Community School of the Arts and Center for Community Engagement. It enables area children to benefit from quality music instruction. In addition, the program allows Indiana State School of Music student teachers to gain valuable teaching experience by providing music classes to children.  It’s another reason, as if anyone needed another reason, to attend the Blues at the Crossroads, the 18th edition of which will run Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9.

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I just wanted to get some info on the upcoming festival; instead, I got to be a part of the very cool result of the festival—the profits being returned to the community in a meaningful way, something most people are not fully aware of.  Nervous but composed, Emma and Samantha said all the right things, thanked all the right people, and mentioned The Beatles and Pink Floyd. It made my heart happy.

So now you know: if you show up Friday and or Saturday, September 8 and 9, you will not only get to hear 17 excellent bands, you will be supporting the arts.  Bring a lawn chair and sit on Wabash Avenue facing the stage set up on 7th Street, or go inside The Verve 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.

“It would be great to see 10,000 people. Hope the weather holds out,” Connie says. “But it will go on either way.”

Blues at the Crossroads, Connie’s brainchild, has become one of Indiana’s must-attend music events.  The crowds love the variety of music and the wonderful atmosphere. And we musicians love the way we are treated: stage hands unload, set up, and tear down equipment, excellent food and drink are provided backstage, comfortable areas to relax are available.  Curt Hall’s sound work is superb.  Musicians are treated with great respect and get to perform before large crowds.

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Al Doti
Al Doti

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For Al Doti, one of Terre Haute’s most sought-after drummers, it will be the sixth straight year performing at the festival, with several different bands.  “It’s one of the things I really look forward to, to be able to play here where we are treated like kings, hanging out with some nationally touring musicians as well as our local friends.  It makes some of the other shit gigs we all occasionally endure worthwhile.”  This year, you might see Al up on stage with Crowe Committee, the Flying Jacksons, and David Goodier, three of the local acts appearing.

If you want to maximize your experience and help the donation process, this year a thousand-dollar donation can get you an all-access pass: hotel room, admission, backstage passes with access to food and drink, and a sizable “gift bag” full of items donated from area merchants.  There is one available for each night.

Mark your calendars: September 8th and 9th at 7th and Wabash in Terre Haute, Indiana.  It would be wonderful to see that 10,000 mark reached this year.

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Below is the lineup for this year’s festival.  And you can visit these websites for more information on the festival and some of the programs involved:

Blues at the Crossroads

Blues at the Crossroads on Facebook

Indiana State University’s Community School of the Arts

Indiana State University’s Community School of the Arts Facebook Page

Festival Lineup

Friday Sept. 8th

Main Stage

6:15 pm National Anthem

6:30 pm Eric Steckel

8:00 pm Ian Moore

9:30 pm Ellusion

11:00 pm Joe Marcinek Band featuring Kofi Baker

Verve Stage

7:00 pm Jazz Ensemble

9:00 pm Jack Whittle

11:00 pm The Nerve

Saturday Sept. 9th

Main Stage

3:00 pm National Anthem

3:15 pm Rock Band (Community School of the Arts)

4:00 pm David Goodier Band featuring W.T. Feaster

5:30 pm Dicky James

7:00 pm Soupbone and the Blackwater Mission

8:30 pm Edward David Anderson’s Black Dirt Revival

10:00 pm Austin Stirling

11:30 pm DJ Showcase

Verve Stage

5:30 pm Crowe Committee

7:30 pm Flying Jacksons

9:30 pm Blackmaker

11:30 pm Jazz Metamorphosis

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[author title=”About Mark Wright” image=”″]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. [/author]


Mark Wright
Author: Mark Wright

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.

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