The bluesy sounds of New Orleans, Chicago, Memphis and other ports that are home that musical genre all converged on Gloucester Saturday for the first Gloucester Blues Festival at Stage Fort Park.
And more than 1,000 fans – from Cape Ann, around New England and beyond — turned out to take it all in.
The first-year festival — projected to be an annual event by promoter Paul Benjamin, a past president of the Memphis-based Blues Foundation, and Bob Hastings, former executive director of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce — featured performances by world-class blues artists like Shemekia Copeland, Kenny Neal, Gloucester’s own Henri Smith, and Eddie Shaw, whose Wofgang band served as the backup band for the late, legendary Howlin’ Wolf.
But at one point, the music was also punctuated by a percussion sound with a definitive Gloucester feel.
Tom Ellis, skipper of the schooner Thomas E. Lannon, fired the vessel’s familiar cannon right on cue in tribute to the festival while pausing just off Stage Fort’s shore.