The 2015 edition of the Mayor’s Blues Ball is now recent history. Also recent are memories of the hundreds of melodies heard, coupled with amazing images seen through the viewfinder of my camera (photos soon to be posted in gallery). The past three evenings have been spent in stifling humidity of unseasonable heat in Medicine Park, OK. The 2015 edition of the Mayor’s Blues Ball marks the ninth year for this festival. I haven’t attended all nine, but me and my camera have attended several, sometimes with a friend, often alone. That’s how much I love this music festival. It is my favorite of the major annual musical events at Medicine Park: “Park Stomp”, “Mayor’s Red Dirt Ball”, “Mayor’s Blues Ball”, “Native American Flute Festival and Art Walk”. It’s like homemade ice cream; it’s hard to beat for a treat.
And this year’s Mayor’s Blues Ball served up a special treat for me. The official photographer for past events was unable, due to a need to address his personal health, to photograph the 2015 Mayor’s Blues Ball (my prayers are lifted for my friend’s speedy and full recovery). I was honored and blessed to be able to act as this year’s official photographer and to be included on the 2015 Mayor’s Blues Ball T-shirt as a Silver Sponsor (Okie Dokie Photography). This year’s Mayor’s Blues Ball was dedicated to the late, great BB King! An image of the gifted hands of “The King” picking his legendary “Lucille” graces the front of the shirt. It’s a double-treat for Okie Dokie Photography to be included in the sponsor’s listed on the back. From beginning to end, each of the performers honored and paid tribute to this great blues giant! Each of the three nights of the festival was filled with musical tributes to BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, and others; even heard some ZZ Top.
The best thing about being the “official” photographer was the additional license it gave me. Really, I’ve never let not being “official” deter me from taking as much license as I wanted. Those who know me best know my motto, “Walk in like you own the place and you’re supposed to be there”. But, respect for others create boundaries I don’t cross without permission: going on stage, mingling back stage, making special lighting requests, etc. However, being official erases those boundaries. This additional freedom being new to me, I was shy, at first. As the weekend progressed my boldness grew and I began to expand onto this enlarged playing field. New areas were open for exploration, and explore I did. I also wore my sixty-four year old butt out. It was hot, hot, hot, and the humidity was high, high, high! That meant I sweat, sweat, sweated! But I loved, loved, loved it! Kudos to Dwight Cope and all the other “Parkies” for making this year’s 2015 Mayor’s Blues Ball the best ever! As Chant said last night, “When Jerry Smith (bass player) and I played the very first Mayor’s Blues Ball nine years ago, we performed on a flatbed trailer. Look how far this event has come! We love coming to Medicine Park and the Mayor’s Blues Ball, and hope you keep inviting us back.” I second that!!
(photos from 2015 Mayor’s Blues Ball soon to be posted in gallery)