On August 17, 2011 an online petition was launched on Facebook advocating for an International Blues Music Day. Within a few months the group reached thousands of members from around the world, comprising of blues fans, supporters, musicians, promoters and the general public. A formula is now being worked out to choose a date to declare and start celebrating an International Blues Music Day.
The Petition was the brainchild of blues musician Johnny Childs from NYC. A recognized and respected blues artist known for his unique and recognizable guitar style and colorful showmanship.
Johnny Childs is also the founding President of the The NYC Blues Society which he formed in 2010 as well as the subject of an award winning documentary film titled "The Junkman's Son".
Bman: Hi Johnny. Thanks for taking time out fro your busy schedule to talk with me. How did this idea of a petition for an "International Blues Music Day" come about?
Johnny: It's a culmination of over twenty years of pursuing a career as a professional blues musician and some other recent events that made me act on it. I've been wondering for years why there was no IBMD and even back when the U.S. Congress declared 2003 "Year of The Blues" I felt they kind of missed the mark given the inherent expiration date. Then in a highly controversial move, The Grammy Awards scaled back their blues music category leaving us with little else in the way of a high profile awareness to promote the blues as a Genre. Of course we have the annual Blues Music Awards in Memphis which is very popular but still barley gets picked up by the mainstream media. After years as a musician promoting my own act I realized that ironically it might just be easier to think of ways to prop up the entire Blues Music Industry [since it basically sells itself] and start an effort for everyone and with everyone. And I started thinking about how the potential benefits and effects of this initiative can be significant if not limitless.
Then one day I was reading the paper and there was a blurb about International Lefty Day for left handed folks from around the world, and it kind of struck a chord with me. Aside from the obvious deserved recognition Blues Music as a music genre isn't getting enough of, I could no longer live in a world that has an International Lefty day and a national Empinada Day etc... and not and International Blues Music Day.
Bman: You are putting a lot of time into this so I can tell you are taking it very seriously.
Johnny: Obviously this cause [to create an IBMD] is very personal to me. I started the Facebook petitiion and started inviting all my friends to the group and asking them to let their blues loving friends know about it. Before you knew it we had close to 7,000 folks join the group in support of an IBMD. I approached all the Blues Societies in the US and around the world, I approached The Blues Foundation and other respected institutions and asked them all to support this any way they could. We're now also working with local and international government offices, educational institutions as well as event promoters and venues all over the world so that over the next few years we can fully integrate IBMD as an official international holiday and an event that can potentially bring continued recognition to Blues Music in a very large, multiplying and public way and to help it grow and continue to eveolve as we know it can and will in our lifetime and for generations to come"
Bman: It's a great idea. I have been trying to do it through showing similarities across cultures in the music videos that I blog about in Bman's Blues Report. We cover quality bands from every country that we can locate them in.
Johnny: As soon as our Facebook petition reaches 10,000 international members we will declare a date and begin preparations to celebrate the inaugural 'International Blues Music Day' with hundreds of planned events around the world . You can then find an event or concert near you and join us in an annual worldwide celebration of this incredible music genre and artform, and in making blues history around the globe. Our hope is to bring in new fans and help the current base of fans and artists continue on their personal journeys of blues discovery, enjoyment, participation, appreciation and support.
Bman: That's great! I know I support it and I'll hope that this interview helps to explain what we are trying to accomplish. I am also putting a badge at the top of the page so that readers can join in the efforts as they read this article.