Taiwan's annual Blues Bash began three years ago as a one-day concert featuring six acts in Taichung. That same year, there was a second jam at Breeze Center (微風廣場) that featured as many musicians.
At this year's event, which will take place tomorrow and Sunday, 15 groups from around the globe will play a variety of blues styles - from Chicago to Delta to good old jug blues - at the Dream Community (夢想社區).
DC Rapier, the festival's organizer, has worked hard to increase public interest in the event: this year's lineup is better and bigger than ever.
Tomorrow night's headliners hardly require an introduction for blues fans. Ben Hernandez and Nathan James' eclectic collection of instruments (including a large ceramic whisky jug and a coffee can) won them the 2007 International Blues Challenge. Their music is a combination of delta, gospel, string band and jug band country blues.
Mitch Woods, a boogie-woogie piano maestro from Brooklyn, will headline Sunday night with his band, Rocket 88's, pulling standards and originals from his repertoire of great tunes. Woods' piano licks and energetic stage persona will be accompanied by Rocket 88's "swingin' horns, thumpin' bass, rockin' guitar and jungle drums," according to the Blues Bash Web site.
Besides the headliners, expect some of the best blues groups that Taiwan has to offer along with acts from Japan, Thailand and the US.
The festival is gaining an international following - at least with musicians. Rapier says he receives, on average, two e-mail messages every week from overseas players interested in coming to Taiwan to perform. "Taiwan is an exotic locale and a chance to come to Asia really appeals to a lot of people," he said.
15:30~15:40 – Welcome statements
15:40~16:10 – Kenyatta Trio
16:10~16:20 – Raffle 8
16:20~16:50 –Tim Brockett
16:50~17:00 – Raffle 9
17:00~17:30 – Muddy Basin Ramblers
17:30~17:40 – Raffle 10
17:40~18:10 – Black Sheep
18:10~18:20 – Raffle 11
18:20~19:00 – Fumi Wataribe and Naoto
19:00~19:10 – Raffle 12
19:10~19:55 – Shun Kikuta and Friends
19:55~20:05 – Raffle 13
20:05~21:05 – Mitch Woods
21:05~21:15 – Raffle 14 Grand Prize
21:15~21:30 – Grand Finale Blues Jam
The festival will include a barbecue whipped up by chefs from Capone's and there'll be raffles for CDs, T-shirts and more. For transport information visit www.bsot-bluesbash.info.