Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Big Muddy Blues Festival Survived its Most Ambitious Year with a Little Voodoo and a Lot of Scrambling

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Good times. - JON GITCHOFF
  • Jon Gitchoff
  • Good times.

On Friday afternoon, rain was falling in a solid wall on St. Louis, and Isaac loomed fairly apocalyptic on the radar. Not the best conditions for outdoor activities of any sort. And potentially disastrous for the Big Muddy Blues Festival, which was already taking something of a home run swing with double its previous year's budget and a headliner to match in Dr. John.

So folding wasn't really an option. It took some ten months to organize a festival with three outdoor stages; Laclede's Landing Merchants Association's Executive Director Emily Kochan and the rest of the Big Muddy team had two days to rebuild the festival indoors.

See also: Big Muddy Blues Festival, According to the Fans: "Better than LouFest" Big Muddy Blues Festival Moves Outside for Sunday After a Soggy Saturday Slideshow: 2012 Big Muddy Blues Festival Day 2

Of the five Big Muddy Fests Kochan has spearheaded, she says this was by far the hardest. After moving the first day indoors, she decided to risk the rain on Sunday. "I thought, 'You know, we're just going for it,'" she says. "I did my anti-rain dance."

  • Jon Gitchoff

It was a risky move, because if the storm had shifted or the rain had hit hard, it would have been nearly impossible to move the acts back indoors. She might have ended up with no Big Muddy, right after setting up two of them.

But that's not what happened. The rain proved little more than a nuisance and the crowds turned up. "It's a euphoric feeling," says Kochan. "I'm relieved I finally get to rest."

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