Piano keys were smoking and dancing shoes were still moving despite severe weather forcing a major change for the opening day of the annual Blues Festival in downtown Baton Rouge Saturday, April 14.
“It was a little bit salvageable but Mother Nature decided to have her own plans,” said Chris Brooks, festival chairman.
While the streets were soggy, the sweet sounds of the blues refused to be stopped. Instead of the usual spots outside, organizers of the soulful event decided early Saturday afternoon to suspend all outdoors aspects indoors to Jolie Pearl’s Oyster Bar on Third Street and the Old State Capitol building.
Brooks told WAFB’s Scottie Hunter it was important to give the people what they want and ensure the event would not be canceled.
“Citizens come to expect it, the out-of-towners come to expect it so come hell or high water, we’re going to have this festival you know, one way or the other,” Brooks added.
As the severe weather threat increased throughout the morning, he said the promise of a quality event had to give way to safety.
“We’re certainly not going to put anybody on a stage number one and number two we’re certainly not going to invited someone to come out on these outdoor stages with that type of weather advisory,” said Brooks.
“It was neat to come into the Old State Capital Building and be greeted by some music,” said Bill Bartlett.
Some guests in town all the way from California just happened onto the event but said it offered a unique mix of Louisiana culture for their first time in the Red Stick.
“All of the architecture and the history and the music is a benefit you know and just a bonus,” said Mary McNally.
“You know it’s just kind of a happy coincidence of all these things just kind of coming together for us,” said Bartlett.
While mostly washed out for Saturday, organizers say Sunday will be a different story. All events, including those outdoors, are set to happen as planned.
“I mean, it’s going to be mid-60s, not a cloud in the sky, knock on wood, but we really cannot wait for tomorrow,” said Brooks.
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