David DeWolfe is not surprised the Dutch Mason Blues Festival has reached its 10th year.
In fact, DeWolfe would have been incredulous had this day not come despite some naysayers.
“Absolutely, I had a 10-year plan and I always shoot for the stars … you can go to concerts anywhere but we want to give people more,” DeWolfe, concert producer, said of the blues event in Bible Hill that also features bikes, barbecues, jams, a tattoo competition, and other venues.
“At first a lot of people thought a blues festival wouldn’t last 10 years because it’s hard to get things going in a small area,” DeWolfe recalls, but the festival has continuously featured arguably some of the best entertainers in the business – including Bonnie Raitt, Guy Davis, Shirley King, Bo Diddley, Charlie A’Court and Garrett Mason – and “we are internationally known” thanks to festival ambassador James Cotton, who has been a headlining performer at the event.
In between checking schedules, overseeing the beginning of the main stage setup at the Truro Raceway, and co-ordinating multiple last-minute details, DeWolfe took a moment to relax with the Truro Daily News on Wednesday morning. He said another highlight of the festival has been introducing thousands of people to new artists, such as Philip Sayce and Layla Zoe, which is just as important, he said.
“Dutchie (Mason) gave a lot of people their start,” DeWolfe said. “For me, I’m proud to book and introduce (new or unknown) artists to the audience.”
DeWolfe said there are some special things planned for the 10th anniversary festival, which runs Friday (doors open at 6 p.m.; festival begins at 7) to Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition grounds in Bible Hill and costs about a half a million dollars. New initiatives include two nights of fireworks (Friday and Saturday at 10 or 10:30 p.m.), a pig roast, and a video wall. The video wall will have snippets of the past nine years as well as entertainment as it happens throughout the weekend.
In addition, the event will include performances from Rick Derringer, Garrett Mason, the Paul DesLauriers Band, James Cotton, and David Wilcox, to name only a few. There will also be the return of a hot air balloon, a late-night jam, which DeWolfe describes as the “heart of the festival,” a “special opening” on Saturday, and an entertainment tent with special guests who will speak about how Dutch Mason influenced their lives. DeWolfe said organizers are also “recording everything” throughout the weekend with the intention of compiling a 10-year DVD.
As for the future, DeWolfe is already planning the festival’s next 10 years.
“With the help of the provincial government and new management (at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition), it will be more stable and secure and it has a great future,” he said.
And there continues to be one specific performer DeWolfe would love to get – Eric Clapton.
“That would be a real dream … I’m still working on it.”
If you go:
What: 10th annual Dutch Mason Blues Festival
Where: Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition grounds
When: Friday, Aug. 8 to Sunday, Aug. 10
Highlights include: Musicians Christine Campbell, Highway 125, Monkey Junk, Shrimp Daddy and the Sharpshooters, and many more, as well as a late-night jam, acoustic showcase, pig roast, bike show, fireworks, hot air balloon, video wall, and more
Estimated attendance last year: 8,000