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Pradinis puslapis BluesMusic Blues Places The Annual Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival
The Annual Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival
About Blues and Music - Bliuzinės vietos
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Winthrop R & B Festival has been run by our Winthrop Music Association a non-profit organization for the past 4 years now. Held on the fifty acres of the Blues Ranch near the banks of the cool Methow River at the foothills of the majestic North Cascades Mountain Range. The Blues festival is 1 mile from the western styled town of Winthrop. Stroll from the festival into town and browse the colorful shops and cafes. The Winthrop R & B Festival was conceived in 1987 during a late night conversation between Tim 'Too Slim" Langford and Jimmy 'The Blues" Smith in the infamous band room of the Winthrop Palace.

Prior to this the shows had been at the Winthrop Barn with such acts as Paul Butterfield, Robert Cray, Elvin Bishop, Savoy Brown and Bo Diddley. As the attendance grew, a larger venue was needed spurring the late night conversation between Jim & Tim. This conversation blossomed into reality with the help of Producers; Jimmy & Fran Smith, Dale & Lucinda Fasse and Teri & Alan Parker. The first festival was held at the Winthrop KOA campgrounds just I mile east of the quaint little town of Winthrop thanks to the Meyer family. The festival was a one day event with the temperature being 105 degrees on that day. Featured acts were; Charlie Musselwhite & The Silent Partners, Seattle Women in R & B, Jerry Miller Band, Stevie & the Blues Flames and Too Slim & The Taildraggers. There were 1,200 people in attendance. Although the event was a financial loss, the organizers Jimmy & Fran Smith and Dale & Lucinda Fasse decided to make year 2 of the festival a go. Moving to the 5Y on Perrigin Lake, it continued to be a one day event and the temperature was slightly cooler with 102 heating up the crowd. Featured acts were; Lydia Pense & Coldblood, Savoy Brown, Lloyd Jones Struggle and Curtis Salgado. The festival was filmed by PBS out of Spokane. This was also the year that the Friday night street dance began in downtown Winthrop. Attendance doubled to 2,500 people. The 3rd Annual Winthrop Blues Festival had new producers: Steve Wood & Jimmy Smith as consultant. This is the 1st one hat Cholo attended. With enthusiastic fans the festival stayed with the same location. Featured acts were: John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers featuring Coco Montoya, ex Bluesbreaker/Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, Jr. Cadillac and Too Slim & the Taildraggers. In 1991 & 1992 the 4th & 5th Festivals moved to Big Twin Lakes Resort with Steve Wood continuing as producer. Featured acts were: Koko Taylor, Long John Baldry, Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings, Big Daddy Kinsey & the Kinsey Report, Lonnie Mack, Robert Ward & the Lloyd Jones Struggle and Too Slim & The Taildraggers. The 6th Annual Winthrop Blues Festival stood on shakey ground when Steve Wood pulled out in early April. Festival organizers Jimmy & Fran Smith, Kathy Hart and Curtis "Cholo" Lehmkuhl made the mad scramble to pull the event together at the last minute. This done in only a couple moths, Whew! They rallied together to ensure that the festival would go on so as to not let the blues fans down. The festival was held at the Winthrop Baseball Field and City Park. Over 2,000 people showed up in support of the Festival and kept the blues alive in Winthrop for another year. Featured acts were: James Cotton Blues Band, Seattle Women, Charles White, Seattle Blues All-stars and Too Slim & the Taildraggers. In 1994 for the 7th Annual Winthrop Blues Festival with the cooperation of property owners Dr’s Michael Scott Sr & Jr a permanent home was created for the event located near the Methow River off SR20 just 1 mile west of the town of Winthrop. The site was a horse pasture, car garden, shack laden field in need of a little TLC baby. With a lot of hard working volunteers the festival organizers were able to create a workable space that has become known as “The Blues Ranch”. Festival producers that year were Jimmy & Fran Smith, Kathy Hart with Cholo Willsin = stage mgr and Doug Potter = site mgr. Featured acts were: Bo Diddley, Canned Heat, J.J. Cale w/ Christine Lakeland, John Hammond Jr., Lonnie Brooks, Burnin’ Chicago Blues Machine,Big Time Sarah, Seattle Women,the No DeLay Band w/Linda Hornbuckle, Little Bill & The Bluenotes and the Alleycats. Year 8 brought even more site improvements with on-site camping & portable showers. The festival was expanded from a one day event to a 3 day event packed with great live music. The producers were Al & Terry Morrell, Kathy Hart, Jimmy Smith /consultant & Cholo Willsin stage mgr & Sam Potter = site mgr. Featured acts were: Booker T & the MG’s, Roomful Of Blues w/Sugar Ray Norcia, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, Terrance Simien & The Maumau Playboys, Mark DuFresne Band and the late great Paul DeLay. Festivals 9 – 12 were produced by Allan & Terry Morrell & co-producer/stage mgr Cholo Willsin at the Blues Ranch. The site continued to develop & improve with a now permanent stage. Featured acts were: Elvin Bishop, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, The Chambers Bros, Charlie Musselwhite(2nd time), Delbert McClinton, Susan Tedeschi, Mark Hummel & the Blues Survivors, Otis Taylor, Kim Wilson & The Thunderbirds, Doyle Bramhall Sr., Omar & the Howlers, Frankie Lee, Shemekia Copeland, Curtis Salgado, Percy Sledge & Too Slim & the Taildraggers. These artists were just a few who graced our new stage and fans with their musical talents in yrs 1996 – 1999. In the year 2000 the 13th festival the returning producers Jimmy & Fran Smith, Doug Potter, Cholo Willsin & vending coordinator Randy Levine brought fans yet another great program. This is the year that Ms. Etta James was booked but cancelled due to health issues. The Staple Singers w/Mavis Staples were gracious enough to fill in at the last minute (Pops (RIP)stayed home not feeling up to the trip), featured acts were: The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Joe Louis Walker & The Boss Talkers, Long John Hunter, Tab Benoit, Walter “Wolfman Washington, C.J. Chenier, Chris Vincent, Daniel Castro, Mark DuFresne, Seattle Women & Too Slim & the Taildraggers. This was the largest Winthrop crowd ever with over 4,000 in attendance. The 14th Annual Blues Festival was the year of the fires. Smoke filled the valley and sadness reared its ugly head with the deaths of 4 local fire-fighters. The press was world-wide with the media stating Winthrop was ablaze keeping blues lovers away resulting in a shy attendance of 2,500 – 1,500 less than was needed to break even on the budget. Cholo said "The show must go on though" and it did with such acts as: Ike Turner & The Rhythm Kings, the late Little Milton Cambell(RIP), Bobby Rush Blues Revue, Buddy Miles Express (RIP), Mr.Son Seals (RIP), Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King, Sista Monica, James Solberg, the debut of Eddie Cotton and our fav-Too Slim & the Taildraggers. Though attendance was low and the budget high festival organizers Jimmy Smith & Cholo Willsin tried to keep their spirits up as they looked towards the future. Festivals 15 – 17 were produced by Cholo Willsin & then wife Pam Lehmkuhl with help from Tammy Morgan, Jim & Fran Smith, Randy Levine & Doug Potter. Featured acts were: Tower of Power, Mighty Sam McClain, Denise LaSalle, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Big Bill Morganfield w/ Joe Louis Walker, The Original Lowriders, Henry Grey & Lil’ Buck Senegal, Koko Taylor, Shemekia Copeland, Eddie Cotton, Sonny Rhodes, Big Jack Johnson & the Oilers, Big Joe Turners Memphis Blues Caravan, David Gogo, Duffy Bishop, Jim Mesi Band & Too Slim & the Taildraggers and The Howlers. In 2005 the non-profit organization Winthrop Music Association (WMA) was formed to ensure continued success of the Annual Winthrop R & B Festival. WMA board members included Bill Stoberg, Robin Wheeler, Jimmy Smith, Cholo Willsin, Lisa Maxey, Doug Potter, Rich Reeves, Tammy Hammer, Erika Olsen and Jessica Smith. All of the board members have been associated with the festival for many years in one way or another. In the years 2005 – 2006 featured acts were: W.C. Clarke, Coci Montoya, The Mannish Boys w/ Johnny Dyer-Finis Tasby-Kid Ramos-Paris Slim & Rand Chortkoff. Renee Austin, Porter, Batiste & Stoltz, Anthony Gomes, Jason Ricci & New Blood, Janiva Magness, Kelly Thibodeaux & Etouffee, Rose City Kings & Too Slim & the Taildraggers plus many more regional acts. We have now finished with our 20th Anniversary with acts Charlie Mussellwhite (3rd time) Eric Burdon & the Animals, John Lee Hooker Jr., Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, Watermelon Slim & the Workers, Polly O’Keary, The Fat Tones, Eddie Turner and Too Slim & the Taildraggers. The festival continues to be a success as a non-profit organization. The Annual Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival in its history has drawn over 90,000 blues fans to the beautiful Methow Valley having an economical impact of over 15 million dollars to the local area. It has had five locations finding a permanent home at the Blues ranch located on Highway 20 just one mile north of Winthrop, WA. The average temperature is 90 degrees with clear blue skies. There has been one birth and two wedding with numerous future weddings blossoming due to the event and 2 decades of generations have been introduced to the blues. Too Slim & the Taildraggers have performed at 19 of the 20 years and continue to support the festival in every way. Jimmy Smith has been involved in the festival in one capacity or another for all 22 years and Cholo had been involved for 15 years. Without the support of the musicians, blues fans, volunteers, producers, vendors and festival organizers this event could not have survived all that it has endured. Thanks to ALL that have helped keep this festival alive and running for the past 22 years.