Smart bets: River Valley Blues Festival

Local musician Zuzu Welsh launched his own blues gathering in 2015 to counteract what he viewed as a shaky local festival scene. “I guess you could say this is a benefit for local music,” he told Xpress, noting residents’ readiness to support other community causes. For the second iteration, he’s moving the event from Swannanoa to Asheville and swapping up-and-coming artists for a six-pack of local staples. Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats (pictured) headline the night after sets by Peggy Ratusz and Aaron Price, Riyen Roots and Kenny Dore, Rhoda Weaver and The Soul Mates, Stolen Hearts featuring Pam Taylor and Robert Johnson, and The Zuzu Welsh Band. The Salvage Station, which now offers food and drinks, will host the free riverside shindig on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 2 to 10 p.m. Photo by Kurt Loveland

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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10 thoughts on “Smart bets: River Valley Blues Festival

  1. Jess

    Your article here says that they “will host the free riverside shindig…”, but the info on the Salvage Station website says that tickets are $15. You should update your article! I’m glad I checked their site as I would have been very surprised and disappointed if I found that out on the day of the event.

    • Kat McReynolds

      Hey Jess,

      The festival was originally going to be $15, but it became free yesterday. I will let the organizers know that the venue’s website still says $15.

      — Kat

      • Gisela Egner

        My husband and I, both in our 70s, were there and had a fabulous time!

        • Kat McReynolds

          That’s awesome! I went too, and it was a great time. I love that space.

  2. boatrocker

    I had fun at the first one for the whole 30 minutes I was there.

    While putting on a free show for WNCers in general is admirable, I think live music around here is doing just fine,
    as it will occur whether a festival happens or not.
    Paying for live music, however, seems to be a problem for so many festivals that have gone belly up.

    • Kat McReynolds

      Agreed on the payment problem. I think live music will be just fine, too, in certain instances — when there are reliable booze sales to buoy the bottom line (i.e. brick & mortar events where the turnout depends less on the weather) or when the festival is put on by an established entity with alternate revenue streams (like donors) and multiple events per season to spread out the financial risk. I do think one-off events (especially free ones) are becoming more financially risky unless you’re able to secure sponsorships in advance. The Netflix vortex is nothing to mess with.

      • boatrocker

        Ahhh, the bottom line.
        It does trump human lives, eh?

        Tourists- do not read below this point!

        How “scraping the thin veneer of ‘community’ from Asheville” reveals the true colors.

        Behind every new age healer/shaman/wisdom infused goddess/male creepy masseuse life coach is a free market capitalist yuppie.
        The hoteliers at least don’t make any bones about who they are, for as icky as they are.

        • Kat McReynolds

          It does sometimes, though I’m not sure how often in the sphere of Asheville’s festival scene.

          I don’t follow the rest of your comment. Am I the capitalist yuppie whose true colors were just revealed? I am only commenting with my personal thoughts (not on behalf of any community event), and I’ve never expressed the belief that community and making money are incompatible.

          • boatrocker

            Geez no, you’ll never be a yuppie working in the field of journalism.

            I’m referring to all the festival shysters in WNC over the years for garnering sponsorship, fleecing festival goers, then folding once the check is in the bank. You and I don’t matter as we are but cogs in a wheel.

            The few music festivals that have both entertained and turned a buck were sort of flukes, as in ‘huh, how did that happen?’.

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