Bluesapolooza was a benefit for Mark DeForrest who was stricken with colon cancer 4 years ago. He continues to battle it with the utmost courage. Mark has two daughters and hasn't worked for over a year. Mark has always been a big blues fan, hitting all the shows, so I asked some of the bands I knew to do a show and they did – a testament to the spirit of the blues community. What a show it was! The joint was alive! The house packed! The bands burnin'! Everyone had a great time! We had music and magic (with the ever talented and beautiful Suzzanne the Magician) and door prizes. Mark's brother works for the Apple Valley Fire Department and got the local communities involved in a big way. It was a great evening with Joe Juliano, The Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, The Keller Brothers Band, Big Walter Smith and the Groove Merchants, Shane and the Wild Weasels, The SoulMates, and Lamont Cranston who all donated their time. The evening was recorded by First Generation Recording.
The Bluesapolooza Fund-raiser was an unqualified success! We had well over 400 people (ages 5 to 70) with constant traffic and raised over $8,000.00! Everybody had a good time. It was wonderful to see all the families out young and old diggin on the blues!
I don't think I ever saw cartwheels performed on a dance floor before.
There were many wondrous moments of love and generosity. Here are a couple:
I sat in with just about every band that played prior to the show to promote and each time someone would give me some cash. When I sat in on sax at Bunker's with the Kurt Jorgenson Band, some guy gave me $40. Saturday I called the Minnesota Historical Society for directions and asked about Joe Juliano and Lamont Cranston saying that I heard that they were part of the "Sounds Good to Me" exhibit and that they were playing at this benefit. I wanted to be able to talk about it for the intro to each band and encourage people to check out them at the exhibit. When I got there, the guy I talked to on the phone was in a conversation
with a museum employee about the benefit. He just finished a sentence about the great lineup. He drew a breath and I dropped a flier in front on him and said, "you mean this line up?" The three of us chatted for a moment. He gave me directions to the exhibit. I found both Joe Juliano and Lamont Cranston songs on different jukeboxes in one the displays. I made a note of the songs and left. I stopped by the information desk to thank Ron for his directions and he handed me a check for $25!
Then, at the show a guy comes up to me as I am entering the dressing room. He holds out a crumpled piece of paper saying he want to give this to me but he doesn't want me to look at until the next day. I have to promise him. He was insistent so I promised him I will put it in my horn case and not look at it until the next day. I thanked him and put the crumpled piece of paper in my horn case without unfolding it as promised.
I made it home and was unloaded by somewhere between 2:30 and 3AM. I figured it was close enough so I went for the crumpled piece of paper. I was expecting anything from a note to a little cash. I was stunned to discover Ben Franklin's big head lookin' up at me! And there were clones! Not one, not two, but nine! I person I had never seen before had given me $1,000.00 cash!
It was a great evening. The bands played great! Everyone had a blast! I have the photos to prove. There are some pretty cool band shots. I would be happy to send them to you if you like. SoulMates, Joe Juliano, Big Walter, Keller Brothers, Lamont Cranston, etc.
A compilation CD of the evening is being mixed as we speak. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Mark DeForrest Benefit Fund and the American Cancer Society.
Take care, thank you, and God Bless.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Steve Clarke, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.