By ROSELLEN DOWNEY
At 4:45 p.m. Columbia locals Cassie Via and Lauren Cantrell were part of the group lined up outside the Mediacom stage at Peace Park. They were excited about their first year at the festival.
“It’s something that everyone’s talked about, and we’ve come down to see what it’s all about” Via said.
Their interest in the barbecue portion of the festival was just as strong as their interest in seeing the various bands. However, Cantrell couldn’t pick a favorite barbecue dish.
“I like it all,” she said. “I don’t discriminate against my barbecue.”
Friday’s bands were equally excited about the start of the festival.
“We’re the first band, so we’re the ones to make you forget about the work week,” Shemekia Copeland said as she started her set of vocal-based blues music.
Technical difficulties caused a 30-minute delay at the MPIX stage but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. They started dancing and singing along to the music as soon as the first note was struck. Dave Grieve, a resident of Des Moines, Iowa, made his first trek out to the festival specifically to see Copeland, Honey Island Swamp Band and Trampled Under Foot perform.
He’s not a stranger to this type of event though.
“This will be the fifth blues festival I’ve been to this year,” Grieve said.