Riverfront Blues Festival

By Moira Blazi


The 10th annual Riverfront Blues Festival chalked up another successful and inspirational event this past weekend, August 10 and 11.

Among the talented performers here for the weekend, headliners Bobby Messano, Amanda Fish, the Andy T Band, and Shaw Davis rocked the park with soulful, sassy and stimulating sounds  on Friday and Saturday.

This year’s event was dedicated to local musical treasure, Alan Lane, and music angel Jerry Hersman.

Lane, a singer-songwriter and guitarist, who passed away on Nov 22, 2017, was truly an inspiration to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. After losing his right arm above the elbow in a logging accident, Lane created a cuff to attach to his arm and re-taught himself to play the guitar. He played often at the Hot Club in Troy. Hersman, who died on June 4 of this year, was co-owner with his wife Debby of Rocky Mountain Music in Libby and was instrumental to the existence of live music in Libby. He shared his extensive knowledge and professional equipment with countless bands and festivals over the years.

As in past years, festival organizers presented brand new musical instruments to local youth through the “Connecting Kids with Music” program established by festival founders Trent and Peggy Oleberg.

This year’s winners, announced by festival organizer Jennifer Nelson, were Riley Boltz from Libby, and Shyann Cecilio from Troy, who were onsite to receive their new instruments along with music teachers Sheri Hand and Brenda Nagode. Awards were presented by longtime festival performer, organizer and stage manager, Sue Sims, who was back as emcee this year.

Saturday night’s headliner, Shaw Davis and the Black Ties, sponsored this year by Environmental Restoration, and hailing from Boca Raton, Florida, rocked the pavilion until almost 11 p.m. on Saturday night and then gave up the stage to the incredible all-star jam, bringing Amanda Fish, Sue Sims, Alabama Mike, Bryan Warhall and others back to the stage to put another brilliant blues fest to bed.

The Riverfront Blues Festival has become a mainstay of the northwest summer blues scene and an important member of the Inland Blues Society. Information on all the performers from this and past years, as well as contacts can be found at www.riverfrontblues.com or find them on Facebook.

Shaw Davis comes down into the crowd during his performance. Photo by Moira Blazi, The Montanian.