Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - Updated: 2:41 PM
By Venita Fritz
The Hot August Blues Festival, a summertime staple for the past 26 years in Aurora, will continue despite losing its production company. Hands On Promotions owners Sam and Debbie Howard announced last week they will no longer produce the show which they have been involved in for the past several years.
But Kenlake State Resort Park officials say “the show will go on” with new producers. Tammy Nanney of Kenlake said Monday it will be taken over by the Kentucky Blues Society.
“When I called them to tell them of our situation, they never hesitated. They immediately said they wanted to take over the festival.” said Nanney. “We have been meeting with them for a couple of months now and plans are progressing. I think we needed some new life in the festival. If you think about it, the people who first started attending the show are now in their 50’s and 60’s.
Nanney said the Kentucky Blues Society has preliminary plans to include a student musical production inside the tennis center, opening the event up to a whole new audience.
“The festival has a huge economic impact on western Kentucky and on Aurora. We did not want to lose it.” said Nanney. She conceded the crowd was down in 2016 but blamed a heat wave for the poor attendance.
The Hot August Blues debuted as a four-hour festival in 1990 under the sponsorship of the Kentucky State Parks Department. Since then, it has become a three-day event drawing both national and regional blues bands. The Parks Department dropped funding for the event in 2010 and Hands On Promotions took it over.
The Kentucky Blues Society works to promote the blues in Kentucky schools.