By Leila Dycus staff writer

There was no Sunflower Festival in Rutledge, but this year a blues festival – the “Red, White and Blues Festival” graced the Rutledge gazebo, bringing in quite a crowd. “I believe that in order to keep people in the area and not lose our residents to bigger cities, it’s important to keep people home and give them something to do so that they don’t have to leave town to hear good music or to enjoy other entertainment and activities,” said festival director Terry Reeves. With the Sunflower Festival on hold until next year, two Rutledge merchants, Joellen Artz and Molly Lesnikowski thought it would be a good idea to have a blues festival. They then asked newcomer Terry Reeves, who has a background in booking bands, to help with the Friday night concert series and the blues festival. Reeves worked hard booking four bands for the event.

The show opened with The Maloy Brothers Bluegrass Band at 11 a.m. The Madisonaires Gospel Group followed the bluegrass music. The Georgia Flood and Freddy’s Finest, two bands based out of Atlanta, traveled to Rutledge to participate in the festival. The point of the show was to book artists that would attract all ages. Genres also played an important role when designing the show. Reeves said that they wanted to make sure to have something for everyone and each person had their favorite band from the line up. “I enjoyed seeing so many different people from different walks of life and different ages at the festival,” said Reeves. The festival, and Forth of July holiday, had Rutledge decked out in it’s best red, whites and blues.

People from across the county and tourist flocked to the park with their lawn chairs. Children enjoyed a blow up water slide and face painting booth. Big Kev’s BBQ brought some of the seasons favorite treats to the town square. “We didn’t have any expectations because it was the first year,” said Reeves. However, the concert-filled day brought in a great crowd for it’s first appearance. With this being the events first year Reeves hopes that it will turn into a tradition. The goal would be to have more bands and different artists at each year’s event. “Everyone should stay tuned for next year’s festival and make plans to be there because it is going to be bigger and better and we have something for everyone,” said Reeves. Forth of July weekend in Rutledge is typically noted for its Sunflower Festival, but this year the grounds needed to rest in order for the farm to grow the iconic blossoms.

With the help of The Rutledge Merchant Association, Madison Flea Market and a few passionate residents the town was still able to make the national holiday special in a way that only Rutledge can do. This Friday, July 11, Rutledge will host another concert. It’ll be a double header featuring Tim Cadiere and Randall Bramblett. Bramblett is a well know artist from Athens that has toured with bands such as Widespread Panic. The show starts at 7 p.m. so be sure to get there early to claim your spot on the lawn.