An IndiePulse Exclusive
IndiePulse Music (IPM below) does an Exclusive Interview with Big Buggs Island Founder, Scott “Wooly” Richardson (Wooly).
IPM: Why did you create the Big Buggs Island Blues Bash?
Wooly: Three years ago, I started the Big Buggs Blues Bash to bring live music to our area as an alternative to Bluegrass or Country, which is the normal fare for our area. At the time, I was President of the Triangle Blues Society in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. I wanted a venue to begin promoting music locally. Most people think that Blues is a sad sort of music, which is totally off the mark. I wanted to show people what great fun it can be, and have them realize that they do in fact enjoy not only listening to Blues, but also dancing to Blues. I hear regularly that people didn’t realize that what they were hearing was actually Blues as it comes in so many forms. Most of which are not sad or down at all!
IPM: How do you go about picking the talent that performs at your Festival each year?
Wooly: I receive many promo packages yearly which include musicians not only from our region, but nationally and internationally. Choosing the lineup each year is quite a task that is taken seriously. The first year I tried to represent as many different Blues types as I could, and relied on feedback from patrons to determine what was the most intriguing for the majority. Based on those results we had more dance-type Shuffles last year and will again this year as well. I visit many festivals throughout the year and try very hard to discover new regional and local talent. If the music moves me, or makes my hair stand on end, then it is time for a second look at the artist! With the overwhelming amount of interest from musicians, next year’s show is almost ready to be booked!!
IPM: What is your own musical background?
Wooly: My musical roadmap began early on in grade school on the piano. Here I learned to read and count correctly but did not have the passion for the keys that I have found in other instruments. I began playing guitar in elementary school and have yet to finish that puzzle, I am proud to say. My father played saxophone in high school so I picked up the alto (sax) in seventh grade and played throughout high school. It (saxophone) was an instrument I thoroughly enjoyed but not to the extent that the guitar had on me. I have been involved with Triangle Blues Society for twenty-seven years, many of which I ran open blues jams for. I enjoy the fact that you can put Blues musicians together on a stage, who have never even met one another, and they can play beautifully together. This (Blues) is the only genre of music I can think of where this would apply.
IPM: Let’s talk about some of the bands and solo artists performing at this year’s Big Buggs. Who excites you most?
Wooly: As a guitarist I would be remiss if I didn’t come clean on the fact that Anson Funderburgh is one of my all-time favorites (by the way, he was a best friend of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s and the model for the cartoon character of Beavis and Butthead Fame). However, every artist we have booked to play this year is phenomenal! Extremely excited to have Bruce Katz, the organ genius headlining our event too! He (Katz) comes complete with a pretty incredible guitarist as well in Chris Vitarello.
IPM: What’s the live music scene like in the Clarksville, Virginia area where you live?
Wooly: The live music scene in Clarksville is very minimal and typically caters to a Country or Bluegrass crowd. One of the largest festivals on the East Coast is in our town each July, which is called Lake Fest. Anywhere from sixty-thousand to one-hundred-thousand people come here for that event and camp all around the lake for a long weekend.
IPM: Five years from now, what is your vision for growing the Big Buggs Island Blues Bash?
Wooly: Since so Many people are familiar with and participate in Lake Fest, I am hoping to do the same with Big Buggs Blues Bash. I do eventually plan to make it a camping weekend with music spread out over two days a little further in the future.
(This Saturday, September 30 from 2pm to 10pm is the 3rd Annual Big Buggs Island Blues Bash, on the Lake at Robbins Ballpark, in Clarksville, Virginia.. Headlining acts include the Bruce Katz Band; Anson Funderburg (with Stern and Cotton); Jon Spear Band; James-Pace and Preslar; Parker and Grey; and more. Swing Dance Contest, Food and Vendors Village, and more. Bring the family! $30.00 General Admission (until September 29), bbibb.org to purchase tickets and additional info.).