The blues festival could be cancelled if enough funds aren't raised

Without the help of donations this years blues fest might not happen.

By Johnie Freiwald | jfreiwald@whbf.com

Published 07/03 2015 06:37PM

Updated 07/03 2015 06:44PM

Something we're accustomed to seeing and hearing in the Quad Citiesp: Fourth of July weekend isn't happening.
 
The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival  was moved back to Labor Day weekend. But, there could be problems with that too.
 
The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival isn't being held this weekend for several reasons. One reason is to avoid flooding which has caused the event lots of money in years past. Another is the lack of college students in the area. With the event being held later, the society hopes to avoid flooding and boost the attendance of students. 
 
The blues fest is scheduled for September 5th and 6th, but that might not even happen.
 
The Mississippi Valley Blues Society is having trouble raising enough money to fund the event this year. 
 
Mississippi Valley Blues Society President Scott Klarkowski said one of the reasons they are short is a decrease in grant money. He said a lot of organizations are battling for limited grant funds. Including children's organizations and disease research fundraisers. Klarkowski said that puts the blues society near the bottom of the list. 
 
Right now the society is about halfway to their goal. 
 
Klarkowski said they are trying to raise $50,000 through donations and a Go Fund Me page. 
 
"We're about halfway on our total budget but on that fundraiser, we're only at 24 hundred," said Mississippi Valley Blues Society President Scott Klarkowski. "I mean ultimately it comes down to the people of the Quad cities backing us up. We could go away." 
 
The blues fest is the Mississippi Valley Blues Society's biggest fundraiser. The event raises money for them to host educational programs at schools throughout the Quad Cities.
 
"If the blues festival or the blues society wasn't here people would stop learning about where the music came from," said River Music Experience Director of Programming and Community Outreach, Ellis Kell. 
 
For the past three decades the blues fest has drawn thousands to the Quad Cities. The event hosts live music, vendors and blues education. 
 
President of the Mississippi Valley Blues Association, Scott Klarkowski  said the festival raises money to help fund their programs in local schools.
 
They said education is their biggest priority and that's one of the main reasons they decided to change the date. 
 
"Education is a huge part of what we do," said Klarkowski. "We're not just a blue's fest. A big part of this year's blues fest is to get students from the colleges and high schools to come and experience blues." 
 
However Ellis Kell of River Music Experience said education isn't the only thing that could be impacted if the blues fest is canceled. 
 
"When the blues festival goes away not only the educational part is gone people stop really learning and experiencing blues first hand, but the economic impact," said Kell." I mean every Fourth of July weekend for the last 30 years, with the exception of this weekend, the blues festival has filled hotel rooms, people come downtown to use the restaurants they go to other museums. I have no idea what the economic impact is but I'm sure it's huge."
 
During this upcoming week the Mississippi Valley Blues Society will meet to discuss their options which include scaling down the event or cancelling it all together.
 
Klarkowski said the goal is to keep blues alive and to continue educating people even if that means cancelling the event and using their existing funds to pay for education programs.

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