Rockland Bracing For Weekend of Blues 

With the sun shining brightly, the town of Rockland is busy getting set for the North Atlantic Blues Festival…Even with a sagging economy, producers say they expect about 16,000 people to descend upon Rockland this weekend, some of them traveling here from quite a distance. “The tickets that have gone out of my office have gone to 27 different states,” says co-producer Paul Benjamin, “we’ve sent tickets to all over Canada. I’ve sent tickets to Bermuda, and I’ve sent tickets to Japan this year, so blues fans do travel for quality events and we feel we put on a quality event.”The festivities are expected to reach their peak saturday night when the annual club crawl gets underway. The club crawl features several local bands performing all over the community. “We got the club crawl where we actually close down us route 1 on saturday night,” Benjamin explains, “and we have four bands on the street and we got 15 bands playing around town so we basically turn downtown rockland into a mini New Orleans.”That makes local business owners here very happy and for some who have been around awhile, they know what to expect, “crazy, just crazy,” says Time Out Pub owner James Beaulieu, “you know the festival brings in you know 10,000 people over the course of the weekend. It’s great, gotta love it, makes up for a long winter.”The producers say all the hard work is well worth it for the fans here.”One of the things that’s really exciting is about the show is that the artists say the Maine audience here in Maine is one of the best audiences they play for and you know melding together the audience and Maine and the great blues acts is really an honor to be able to put that together.”