By: Christine Souders
This summer, many festivals like Red, White and Boom, and Blues Fest had to move last minute because of flooding. But it's not keeping festival goers away.
Blues Fest kicked off Thursday on 2nd Street, but there is actually the third choice to hold the festival, which is usually a couple blocks away at Leclaire Park.
Flooding eliminated seating for Red, White, and Boom, and moved Gospel Fest and Blues Fest, but organizers are finding out, even if you move it, they will still come.
"We haven't seen any dramatic downturns in numbers or fun, that's the most important thing. It seems that the public is enjoying a great summer in the Quad Cities, just like always, it's just in a little different place maybe a few hundred feet inland away from the river," said Joe Taylor, QCCVB President.
We're told more than $30,000 people showed up for this year's Red, White and Boom, a record setter for Rock Island, where city leaders said it was pretty much standing room only in Schwiebert Park.
But what does that mean for Blues Fest?
"The turnout is better than we expected having moved the site. It's always a gamble when you move the venue," said Karen McFarland, with Mississippi Valley Blues Festival Board.
Organizers said it was a sold out show opening night, with nearly 5,000 festival goers, but there are mixed reviews.
"This is actually more accessible, but you don't get the river," said Jamie Koppes, Festival Goer.
"These guys know what they're doing when they put on a Blues Fest," said Robert Thomas, Festival Goer.
"We always love coming to the park, but this has happened before so, the die-hard fans are going O be here," said Dick Dewater, Festival Goer.
Event organizers said expectations are high this time around because they want to make sure the show is extra special for their 30th anniversary next year.
Blues Fest continues through Saturday night.