August 12th, 2014
By Gloucester Times Staff
Two of Cape Ann’s newest “traditions” proved to be glowing successes again this past weekend.
First, the third annual Gloucester Blues Festival drew more than 1,200 music lovers to Stage Fort Park, where fans danced, sang and swayed along to the music of seven top-notch blues acts, headlined by performers like Ronnie Baker Brooks and keyboard master Victor Wainwright. Then, after a day of celebrating the Rotary Club’s and town’s annual LobsterFest, Rockport lit up its harbor skies with its second annual fireworks show that drew rave reviews from spectators who lined the towns shores from Granite Pier to Bearskin Neck and beyond.
Both of these events have very quickly carved out a niche on the Cape Ann summer calendar — and both of them, while providing a lively day and night of entertainment for residents and visitors alike, have clearly attracted more of those visitors to support local businesses and the local economy.
Yet these events also speak volumes about how much even one or two people can achieve through a grass roots effort and the power of their ideas.
Bob Hastings, former director of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, said he and fellow blues aficionado and promoter Paul Benjamin always thought they could make a blues festival work in Gloucester — especially in such an aesthetic location as Stage Fort Park. And by reaching out to sponsors and the current Chamber, they have put Gloucester on the blues and musical festival map nationwide.
Even moreso, the idea of a Rockport fireworks display was hatched in early 2013 by Susan and Tim Collins, who got a green light from the town and then found businesses and individual residents rallying around their idea with both financial and emotional support.
We extend our thanks and support for those who’ve played a role in bringing both of these events to the fore. But we also hope their commitment serves as a reminder of perhaps just what each of us still can achieve through the power of a good idea.
Congratulations to all.