WESTLOCK – Roughly 2,500 attended the 14th-annual Blue Suede Music Festival Aug. 5-7, held for the first time at the Westlock and District Ag Society grounds.
It was the first time in two years the show has been able to be held in front of a large audience — for the past two years the show was held at the acreage of Eldon and Trudy Taphorn in Sturgeon County in front of a very small audience.
Trudy Taphorn, the creator and producer of the show, was very well pleased with the new venue.
“I thought it was great. That venue is going to be perfect. There’s a lot of perks to being there. That building (the ag society barn) is a godsend, because we were able to set out the merchandise Friday morning. Whereas before, we had to get pop-up tents put up and trying to get it organized after the tents were put up,” she said.
“Being able to set it out and be ready for when people started coming in was amazing. The same with the silent auction. Colleen (her sister from Oliver, B.C.) got that all set out on Friday morning so we could start it Friday afternoon instead of Saturday morning.”
Being the first year in a new venue, she noted, “tThings need to be tweaked, of course” with the sound bouncing off the building, the sound booth in a bad position, and a few other changes she has to figure out.
But Trudy being Trudy, she will no doubt have all that figured out for the 15th annual Blue Suede Music Festival in 2023. And with next being a bit of a milestone she says plans are to do some very extra special things.
The dates for the next three years have already been set, and all are in late July so as not to conflict with the August long weekend or the Westlock Ag Fair — July 28 to 30, 2023. In 2024, the 16th-annual show will be held July 26 to 28, and in 2025, the 17th-annual show in 2025 will be held July 25-27.
This year, Trudy had made it mandatory that those attending the show had to bring in a donation to the Morinville, Westlock, Barrhead food banks and the Ripple Connection in Barrhead which enables her to keep the cost of admission down. A total of 3,150 pounds of food and miscellaneous items and $2,324 in cash was received and will be split evenly.
During the weekend, the Alberta First Aid Society and the Busby and District Lions Club sold 50-50 tickets. The total from that was $11,911, with $5,995.50 handed out.