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February 8th, 2009
When I left Chicago almost a decade ago, I knew the stuff that I would not miss (snow, cold, weeks with no sunshine, snow, cold, snow, etc.) and the things I would miss (grand kids, children, friends, Fall, Chicago Fest, Spring, the Blues and the Chicago Blues Fest, etc.). Well strike the Blues off the list as of last night for that was evening of the Second Annual Costa Rica Blues Fest.
I found out about this a bit late (Friday) so I did not have adequate time to get organized. The concert began at 10 AM and ran until at least 11:00 PM. I say at least because I was not around at the end.
I had some work to do, so Maria Luisa and I did not arrive until about 4:30 which was about right as I think any earlier would have made for a really long day.
The venue was the Club Cubano (the Cuban Club) in Guachipelín de Escazú, not far from the MultiPlaza Mall. We were able to get parking about ten yards from the first stage, but that was just luck. There appeared to be adequate parking though. There were apparently two stages. We never went looking for the other as we were kept entertained at the first, and more important, we had good seats and out of the wind.
Now I know I am not going to receive a modicum of sympathy from those still in the Northern part of the US, but man it was COLD! It has been very windy and the temps poolside (yeah, the stage was near the pool, was nasty… blowing non stop about 25 MPH. The temp was about 71 (cold for here) but the wind chill made it feel like 60. I wore a coat for the first time ever since I arrived here.
Headliners were Guitar Shorty and Sonny Boy Terry, both from Houston. However, there were at least three other bands down from the US, The Road Dogs, San Diego CA, Robbie Clark and the Live Wire Blues Band, Austin, TX, and V and the Wholly Cats, Canada (that was the only crummy band I heard!).
I guess what really amazed me, and probably shows my ignorance, were the FIVE blues bands from Costa Rica (some links below), and I am here to tell you that the local boys were Goooood! Whudda thunk it?? Imagine Latin Blues players… but as I think about it… why not? Costa Ricans take their music very seriously and there are a ton of truly superb musicians in Costa Rica.
While I would guess the crowd consisted of about 60% North Americans, the rest were Costa Rican and from what I could see, they not only enjoyed the show, they knew their blues!
The beer flowed in rivers, but the food left something to be desired. There was supposed to be Texas BBQ, but we could never find it. That was sad as the food we could find was overcooked chicken and some truly horrible hot dogs. I am sure if we were serious drinkers, the food would have tasted delicious. I remember eating some horrible food in my college days that I endorsed heartily as delicious after 8 to 10 beers.
In any case, this was a first rate show, certainly not equal to the multi-day Fests in the US, or some of Chicago’s fine blues clubs, but well worth the time and money ($25.00). Next year, I will make a point of knowing well in advance and making better plans.
Link:Costa Rica, Culture, Entertainment, Expatriate Life, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica | Comments (7)