Of course, there will be ample amounts of St. Louis talent on display, too, including 2004 RFT Music Award-winners Soulard Blues Band and Fontella Bass, guitar wizard Bennie Smith and many others. True, many of these musicians and singers can be heard weekly in local clubs. But with so many groups performing in one place, it's the perfect opportunity to catch up with a favorite or two and then check out someone you haven't heard before. Also, there's something about the combination of a big festival crowd, outdoor stages with nice sound system and a little friendly competition that seems to inspire all the performers to reach down for something extra on occasions like this.
This year's Big Muddy should once again serve as a fitting testament to St. Louis' blues roots, a community and a heritage as deep and enduring as the festival's namesake river.