South Loup River Blues Festival
Established in 1994, the South Loup River Blues Festival is true delight for the blues fan. Occurring every year on the second Friday and Saturday in July, nationally renowned blues artists such as Jimmy Thackery, Tab Benoit, Corey Stevens, W.C. Clark, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Coco Montoya, Tinsley Ellis, Omar & The Howlers, Hadden Sayers, Chris Duarte, James Harman, Anthony Gomes, Honeytribe, Ana Popovic, and Big Daddy Kinsey and the Kinsey Report have graced the stage with their talent. Blues lovers come from near and far every year to enjoy the big-name blues bands.
Unfortunately, the 2011 South Loup River Blues Fest was the last.
The following is borrowed from the official South Loup River Blues Festival website.
In December the festival stockholders met and decided to end the event on a high note — before it became too much of a financial burden. Here's how Dave Birnie, the main organizer of the event, put it:
"We wanted to end it while it was still being thought of as a good show," he said. "We didn't want to look back and think maybe we should have ended it before it started to deteriorate. One of the reasons we continued after 15 years was because we were afraid we wouldn't see any of our friends anymore." Those who attended became close, and Birnie said that's what will be missed the most. "We kind of became a big family," he said. "It will be hard to say goodbye to the friends we met and saw once a year.
"It was borderline," Birnie added. "It wasn't for business, but the past couple of years had us digging in our pockets. If you lose money a couple of years, that's OK. But if we were to lose money for five years, that would be a problem."
Organizers talked about pursuing a corporate sponsor, but we didn't want to turn the festival into a large-scale commercialized event. Not only were we afraid of losing the purity of the celebration, we didn't want a corporation telling us who could perform and who couldn't.
There is some good news however.....
WE ARE EXPLORING THE IDEA OF HAVING SOME EXCLUSIVE PERFORMANCES FOR YOU HARDCORE BLUES FANS IN THE ARNOLD RIALTO THEATER OR DOWNTOWN! ... Just keep checking back on this site for more information!
The South Loup River Blues Fest organizers want to thank each and every one of the people who attended and supported our event the past 18 years...you have been the reason this unique festival lasted so long.
Check back here or visit www.southloupbluesfest.com for updated information on potential exclusive performances. The community of Arnold wishes to thank all the fans and sponsors for supporting the South Loup River Blues Festival during its 18-year run.