For the first time in history, two days of rain caused the cancellation of  “New Jersey’s largest free blues festival” scheduled for September 9.
 
Following the announcement of a one-week postponementand after Festival organizers conferred with executives Essex County — the major sponsor and provider of the venue — until the wee hours this Monday, the painful decision was made to cancel.
 
Producer Mike Griot stated that “we tried to pull together the impossible and reschedule for September 15, but ultimately could not accomplish that due to scheduling and logistics issues.” With performers heavily booked and literally travelling the world, the task of wrangling enough musical acts for a “first-class endeavor of this magnitude in five days was insurmountable,” according to Griot. He noted that the (unrelated) Montclair Jazz Festival was likewise canceled due to rain in August.
 
Preparations for the milestone 10th annual South Mountain International Blues Festival, expected to be the largest ever, will soon begin. 
 
The all-day, all-FREE SMIBF, formerly the South ORANGE International Blues Festival, outgrew the original location in the Village, and has been hosting thousands of music fans yearly at the spacious Oakdale picnic area in the South Mountain Reservation in West Orange. Eight hours of live blues delivered  on open grassy slopes overlooking the reservoir and piney hills is the appeal of this perennial family-friendly crowd-pleaser
The Blues Fest’s South Orange connection is that it was started by longtime South Orange residents Mike Griot and Joel Levin in 2010 to “bring free music to the people and to preserve the legacy of the blues as a foremost American art genre.”
 
The mission of the sponsoring organization, North Jersey Blues Alliance, is to expose blues music to the greatest number of guests at the annual Festival and also to plan musical education to local county youth. The event is  funded entirely by corporate and individual sponsors, vendor fees, and the County of Essex.
 
For more on the festival and its history, see SouthMountainBlues.com.