Economic conditions have hit what is regarded as the longest continuous-running blues festival in the U.S. The annual San Francisco Blues Festival, which began in 1973, has been cancelled due to lack of funding and rising production costs, according to festival founder and producer Tom Mazzolini.
In a post on the festival’s Web site, Mazzolini stated, “We regret to announce that after 36 consecutive years, the 2009 San Francisco Blues Festival is forced to cease production due to economic conditions. It has been a wonderful journey through blues history and we thank all of you for participating in this long and illustrious journey. May the blues continue to inspire you as it has touched us.”
Held each September at the Great Meadow, Fort Mason, in the city’s Marina district, the festival has featured some of the biggest names in blues, including B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Little Richard, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, Etta James, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, and Albert King, among many others, as well as performers from the Bay Area blues scene.