A downcast sky for the Paoli Blues Fest


By Justin Huang, Co-Convergence Editor

A shabby sky, full of gray clouds, couldn’t make up its mind on whether or not it wanted to rain. Sometimes a layer of tiny water droplets plip-plopped against the concrete ground, and sometimes the sky kept its dreary visage. On most days people would avoid going out in such brisk weather. However, the plain simg_0350ky failed to discourage blues lovers who listened to the melancholic, jazzy tunes.

On Oct. 1, music lovers gathered to listen to the six performers of the annual Paoli Blues Fest. Located in the Paoli Village Shoppes amidst blocked roads and propped-up tents, a rowdy crowd surrounded the stage. From saxophones to guitars, the festival overflowed with swing and swaying tunes as I leaned against the metal fence, ears perked. Feet-taping served as an indicator of how much the people in our area appreciate blues. All the players showed their perspective of what music can be, and more importantly, successfully entertained their listeners.

Curiously, a good chunk of the crowd preferred to stay standing as opposed to sitting down inimg_0317 the metal chairs. Some found themselves standing farther back, but I tapped to the beat on the sidelines instead. The music was certainly loud – I could still hear the syncopated beat from across the plaza. Listening to a song about a whisky-loving woman, I had to admit that the performers knew how to entrance their audience. As a person who isn’t an avid lover of the genre, the music had a personal and catchy feeling to it. While I couldn’t relate to the lyrics, the blues gives off this feeling that makes you feel like you should. In this way, I could understand why so many people came to show their appreciation for the genre.

Sitting in the same seat for a couple of hours listening to blues would still be unbearable, even if it sounded good. Tents were set up aroimg_0352und the plaza for the visitors’ pleasure, containing merchandise, food and even free candy. Certain tents sold blues discs, taking advantage of the music. Groups would sponsor the tents, like the Paoli library or the local churches. Additionally, there was a moon bounce and a firetruck for the kids to play with. Standing back, I could see the sheer volume of people bustling across the street.

I found that being without food for a few hours was as painful as sitting around for a few hours, and thankfully there were others who agreed with me. Besides the nearby Nudy’s Cafeimg_0340 and restaurants in the plaza, three vendors were set up for selling food. A hot dog stand was towards the end of the plaza, and a gyro, taco, and platter vendor sold food for those who were willing to pay. The barbecue drew the most conspicuous line, but standing in there took about 10 to 15 minutes. All of these vendors cost more than I had expected – in hindsight, going to Nudy’s might’ve been the smarter idea.

As a teenager, I felt extremely out of place. I only saw two other people in attendance who were my age, and they were only there to manage a certain tent. Of course, that didn’t stop me from having a good time. Next year, if you have the time to go out with a couple of friends, stop by the Paoli Blues Fest and see if you enjoy yourselves there.