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Rediscovering Downtown Hagerstown with the Blues

"Blues is such an original American concept and art form and I think that's one of the other exciting things is that the acts that are brought to Hagerstown is there's such a diversity even within that genre that you really can't get bored at the Blues Fest," said Mayor David Gysberts.

HAGERSTOWNMd. - Every year the Western Maryland Blues Fest attracts thousands of music fans from across the state and even the country to experience the blues in the heart of downtown Hagerstown.

"You just can't put a price tag on that, what it does for the community," said Mary Ann Burke with the Washington County Arts Council.

"Blues is such an original American concept and art form and I think that's one of the other exciting things is that the acts that are brought to Hagerstown is there's such a diversity even within that genre that you really can't get bored at the Blues Fest," said Mayor David Gysberts.

Since it started nearly 20 years ago, many say the Blues Fest helped bring the arts and entertainment district to life by showcasing what the city has to offer.

"One of the things the Blues Fest has taught us is that having events downtown is good for business," said Mayor Gysberts. "And it's not only brings people downtown but people are staying in hotels, there's a whole ripple effect in the local economy."

The festival also intertwines the visual arts with its annual poster art contest that gives artists a chance to illustrate the blues through art.

"Really nice opportunity for artists to use their style and contribute that to the actual festival. So I work with a lot of sharpie and acrylic and I've got a really, you could say almost musical, loud vibrant style so I think that really lends itself well to the Blues Festival itself and the energy and the music of the festival," said Matt Long, the 2014 Blues Fest Poster Artist.

And in the future, many hope to bring more events like this to the city's growing arts district.

"We want to continue what we're doing, make sure what we're doing is meeting the needs of the citizens and we're bringing in the type of entertainment and art and performances that the community is interested in," said Burke.

A growing musical festival reminding the community how to rediscover what's already in their own backyard. 

Recently, city's arts and entertainment district won the Maryland Art's Council Outstanding Achievement Award for all the festivals hosted in the area

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