Main Street celebrates Blues Fest#039; success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Members and supporters of Greenville Main Street met at the Whitney on Friday to enjoy a luncheon together as they celebrated the program's continued success in the Camellia City.

Senator Wendell Mitchell was on hand to present Main Street Executive Director Nancy Idland with a check for $1,000 earmarked for the Sweetgum Bottom Blues Festival.

Idland extended a big &#8220thank you” to the senator, the board members, and all those who supported last month's inaugural blues festival.

&#8220This signature event was a real success, and I believe it can only get better,” Idland said.

She also praised the City of Greenville for their continued support of Main Street projects.

&#8220Without their efforts, we couldn't do anything, I tell you,” Idland said.

Music promoter Ansel Strickland, who helped Idland organize the music festival, praised the people of Greenville for &#8220all pulling together and putting on a fabulous music festival.”

The event was planned on a relatively short notice, Strickland said.

&#8220We only started talking about this back in February or March of this year…we said, ‘Let's put an show!' and we did,” he told those assembled.

Strickland said he was very pleased with both the musicians assembled and the audience response they elicited.

&#8220People were pulling me aside that day and asking, ‘Are you gonna do this again?'…the musicians were very good in their audition tapes, but they were 150 percent better during the festival. They rose to the occasion,” Strickland said.

The music promoter assured those present the monies donated to the festival were used &#8220very efficiently.”

&#8220This is definitely a volunteer effort. The money went to the artists…we invested in great music and a great sound crew,” Strickland said.

&#8220Even the performers said we did a good job with the crew.”

Strickland said the blues festival now has &#8220several hundred ambassadors who will help spread the word.”

He said he believes Greenville's Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Festival can become the place to be each fall, with music lovers &#8220getting into airplanes and flying across the sea” to come to the Camellia City.

&#8220You know, New Orleans wasn't always a big musical spot…people worked to make it happen.

I believe if we offer something different, something better, things can happen here, too.”

Strickland said he would be meeting with Idland and the board members to discuss the festival and to talk about what worked and what needed to be improved.

&#8220We want people's help, we want their input,” he stressed.