THE BEAN BLOSSOM BLUES FESTIVAL
AUGUST 27, 28, 29, 2015
BILL MONROE MUSIC PARK
The Bean Blossom Blues Fest has a rich history. The first "Bean" was held June 11-13, 1999, in the woods of Brown County, Indiana.
The original organizer, John Hall, owned Bushman Music Works, a company that produces harmonicas and ukuleles. He wanted to throw a party for his harmonica customers, and invited some of his musician customers to perform including Snooky Pryor and Willie Foster. Originally he intended for the Bean to be a small, intimate party, a gathering for harmonica musicians to get together to "Jam" surrounded by close friends.
When the word began to spread that Snooky Pryor and other great blues musicians were coming to perform, the party grew to over 700 people.
Held at the historic Bill Monroe Music Park, the legendary home for the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival, the 55 acre park allows a unique blend of camping and Hoosier Hospitality, and the sounds from the main stage can be heard throughout the park.
The Fest continues to hold the charm of a small, friendly gathering of close friends, blues musicians and blues lovers. The intimate main stage has a rich history of over 55 years of performances from musicians from all over the world. Jam sessions pop up throughout the festival – campsites, Hippy Hill Stage, on golf carts and the now famous "Cabin 12 Jammers", who have been performing on the main stage since 2011.
In 2014, John stepped down as the organizer. Grant Stuart, a successful local business owner and longtime supporter of the Blues Fest took over the reins. His goal is similar to John's - keep the steep tradition of the harmonica musicians, but build towards the future by discovering new talent and promoting the Blues and American Roots music. He wants to continue to foster the brotherly love that is felt throughout the Bean and hopes that families, friends and visitors to Brown County experience the uniqueness this fest shares over other fests.
Grant has a valuable employee known by many in the Blues World as mother of 2/3rds of the wonderful Kids For The Blues, Eve Bare. Eve helped to set the wheels in motion for me to come to The Bean this year as emcee and what a blast.
Strangely enough, before a mix up with Jarekus Singleton, every artist on the stages woudl be Couch Kids (other than the Cabin 12 Jammers that is). Omar Coleman was added to the lineup to fill the gap and certainly won the crowd over.
First, it all begins on Thursday Night for the jam hosted by Gary Applegate. A mixture of amatuers and professionals, the night was a blast. The highlight was probably Tas Cru, Mick Kolassa, Deak Harp and local Jene Deere on stage sharing licks...Jene ended up joining Tas again on Saturday for a few songs during his set on the main stage.
Golf Cart Rentals
Camp and RV Sites
The evening to just hang out with friends and have some fun
With Steve Kersey & Tas Cru
The Bare Family. Matthew and I met a little later,
so he didn't glare again! LOL
Mick Kolassa watching some of the jam from his golf cart
Thursday Night Jammers
Couch Kid Mick Kolassa, Couch Kid Deak Harp & Jene Deere Join Tas Cru & The Tortured Souls For The Jam
The day began with a visit to the Brown County Schools, Intermediate School for a little Blues Education & Fun with Tas Cru & His Band Of Tortured Souls. The band wants to thank Eve Bare and Clara Stanley for getting the program set up for them. Also thanks to Principal Trent Austin and his entire staff and the students of Brown County Intermediate School.
A Big Gym ... The Band Sets Up Without Knowing How Many Will Be Visiting
No Worries - The Place Was Packed!
And The Kids Had A Blast!
Good Sport Of The Day, Ms. Ulrich took a harp lesson along with two students!
The Bare's and Ms. Clara Stanley
Later joined by Krista Hughes & Ms. Bug
Then, a little later in the day The Bean Begins!
Opening The Festival, out of Chicago, IL Omar Coleman who went from "being a barber to blowing the blues"
Omar Coleman-Harp & Vocals / Sean Williams-Bass / Shack Anthony-Drums / Chris Kishman-Guitar / Capt. Kirk Barkle-Piano
Couch Kid Danielle Nicole and her Band were up next. Danielle is a big Bean Favorite having appeared here with her brothers as Trampled Under Foot.
She did not disappoint the crowd this year either.
Couch Kid Jason Ricci closed Friday night with a smoking set that left the band, and the audience exhausted.
Jason Ricci-Harp & Vocals / John Lisi-Guitar / Sammy Hotchkiss-Guitar / Evil Andy Kurz-Bass / Adam "A-Bomb" Baumol-Drums
Saturday At The Bean
A full day of music, craft beers, and so much more...
Cabin 12 Allstars Kick Off The Day With Their Special Sounds
Couch Kid Tas Cru & His Band Of Tortured Souls Took The Stage And Brought The Folks Out Of The Woods And To The Main Stage
Tas Cru-Guitar & Vocals / Sonny Rock-Drums / Steven Kirsty-Sax / Bob Purdy-Bass
Couch Kid Brandon Santini and his band
then took the stage and kept the crowd dancing and grooving. He invited Mick
Kolassa up on stage to sing with the band.
Brandon Santini-Harp & Vocals / Timo Arthur-Guitar / Nick Hearn-Bass / Couch Kid Doug McMinn-Drums
Couch Kid Mr. Sipp The Mississippi Blues Child, and a young man I call Nephew, then took the stage and showed the Bean Crowd what Mississippi Blues is all about.
Mr. Sipp-Guitar & Vocals / Jeff Flanigan-Bass /
Stanley Dixon, Jr-Drums / Carroll McLaughlin-Keys
Couch Kid Mary Bridget Davies closed out the festival with an amazing set. It was also her birthday the next day, we all got to sing to her!
Mary Bridget Davies-Vocals / Jeremy Bates-Guitar / Tom Kelly-Harp & Vocals
Ian Otinger-Bass / Chris Hannah-B3 / Tom Whiteman-Drums
Thanks to Thomas Dove for sharing the following photos taken throughout the festival
Can't remember what made us laugh
Watching the show for a spell with Mick Kolassa & Bob & Vickie Morrison
THE BIRTHDAY SURPRISE
All planned with her band. As they began their second song, I walked out and grabbed a mic and shocked Mary (left)...I then said "Sorry, we can not go on because we have a serious issue...a BIRTHDAY ISSUE!"
A cake was brought out on stage at that point (right) and we then proceeded to sing Happy Birthday before allowing the show to continue.
But not before I got my THANK YOU hug!
SOME VIDEOS TO SHARE
A little taste of Blues In The Schools (B.I.T.S.)
Thursday Night Jam with Tas Cru, Mick Kolassa, Deak Harp,
Jean Deere & more
Danielle Nicole Band
Jason Ricci - w/ Mary Bridget Davies
Brandon Santini with Deak Harp & Carson Diersing
A little taste of Mr. Sipp