(PHOTO CAPTIONS: (1) Jeff Jenson, with the Reba Russell Band, performs at 2021 festival. (2) Roscoe Willis on bass and Lex Capriatalia on drums perform at 2021 festival.)
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — The blues is back in Hot Springs. A new organization has been formed with plans for a music festival called “The Big Steam” music festival this fall. The event will feature a weekend filled with blues and R&B music to be held September 23-34 in Hill Wheatley Plaza in beautiful downtown Hot Springs.
The event organizers include some familiar names as board members of the new organization planning the festival. Don Gooch, who has led numerous area boards and is known for his love of music, is the organization's board chair. Robert Zunick, who helped organize the very first Blues and Jazz Festival in 1991, is serving as the secretary and Neal Harringtion is the treasurer. Other board members include Gina Rockwell, Kimberly Blann, Lance Garner and Joe Powell. Powell, founder and board chair of “Blues for a Cause,” has taken on the task of booking the performers, an area where he has decades of experience.
Gooch said, “Robert, Neal and I had the opportunity to chat with Joe Powell last year at the blues event put together by Visit Hot Springs after the organization that had organized the event for the past three decades had disbanded. Joe booked all of the bands last year and has a wealth of contacts. The four of us decided we could not let the blues die in Hot Springs and began plans for ‘The Big Steam.’”
Powell added, “I’m in the process of finalizing the lineup for some incredible national blues and R&B acts to be a part of the inaugural festival. I’ve always loved coming over to Hot Springs from Pine Bluff for the blues festival and am excited to be a part of ‘Big Steam.’ It’s going to be a great festival.”
Organizers say dozens of volunteers will be needed and, of course, sponsors as well. Anyone interested in being a part of the great new event to keep the blues alive in Hot Springs should contact Mary Zunick at email@example.com who is assisting with plans for the inaugural event.