Blues to Land on the Shores of Sandy Point

Sarah Petska has already got the blues, though her festival doesn’t start until May 21. In preparing for The Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival’s 10th anniversary, the event coordinator has been putting in long hours.
    Her hard work has been rewarded with an all-star lineup. Saturday, May 21 features the Chesapeake Bay Blues Band with Patty Reese, Marc Wenner, Tommy Lepson and Dean Rosenthal; The Lee Boys; Mac Arnold and Plate Full o’ Blues; The Otis Taylor Orchestra; Shemekia Copeland; John Mayall; and Chris Isaak.
    Sunday, May 22 brings the Daryl Davis Band with Nadine Rae, Andy Poxon and Del Puschert; MotorCity Josh; Dana Fuchs; Ronnie Baker Brooks; Ray Manzerek and Roy Rogers; Little Feat; and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
    For Petska, booking artists she’s excited about is its own reward.
    “Kenny Wayne Shepherd put on an excellent performance the last time he was here,” Petska recalls. “Little Feat closed out our first Sunday when it was 45 degrees and raining. They were great.”
    The Blues Festival, which is a labor of love for Petska and her father, concert organizer Don Hooker, has grown from a charitable dream to a two-day extravaganza drawing music lovers from as far as England and California.
    “There’s so much excitement when you see everyone come together,” Petska says.
    Come together they do, in large and loyal numbers.
    “We have a lot of people who have made it all 10 years,” she says. “We advertise all up and down the East Coast because of the interest.”
    The Blues Festival donates all of each year’s profits to charity.
    “We try to pick charities that don’t get as much funds and charities with a low overhead,” Petska says.
    Beneficiaries are Special Olympics Maryland, We Care and Friends, The Johns Hopkins Cleft & Craniofacial Center and Special Love.
    If you want to get in on the music but avoid financial blues, Petska advises you to book your blues ahead.
    “We have early bird prices available until March 15,” she says.

Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival: May 21 and 22 at Sandy Point State Park. Early Bird prices: $45/day $75/weekend; or VIPS: $500.