Chairman creates Bluesfest oversight committee

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Most Naples residents and certainly the business owners would say they like having the Maine Blues Festival in their town — that they like the Bluesfest.

Some folks might grumble that it’s too crowded when Bluesfest is in town. However, it is a tourist town and crowds feed the economy.

The Bluesfest gives Causeway businesses an economic boost before summer is in full swing. Plus, what local resident can complain about not having to drive far to hear phenomenal music. The Bluesfest fans definitely outweigh any naysayers.

“I am a 100 percent supporter of the Bluesfest. I go to it every year,” said Jim Grattelo, the new chairman of the Naples Board of Selectman.

“It is a great thing for this town. There needs to be some oversight from the town,” he said.

“While it is fresh in everyone’s mind, we should form a committee to just review the Bluesfest: What went well, what didn’t go well,” he said.

“I don’t have any specific strong issues. But I really believe the town has to have some oversight so it doesn’t get out of hand,” Grattelo said.

Later, after some discussion, the board supported the idea of creating a Bluesfest Oversight Committee. The vote was 4–0, with Selectman Kevin Rogers abstaining.

About midway through the discussion on the Bluesfest, Grattelo volunteered to chair the committee.

One of the objectives of the committee would be to address the question, “How to keep it safe” as it grows and expands from year to year, Grattelo said.

Rogers said safety had already been taken into consideration.

“All the venues decided to end at 11 p.m., he said. “So the Bluesfest organizers are very aware.”

“They pulled back the reigns and upped the security. The [Cumberland County] Sheriff’s Office found some volunteers” to help with safety and security.

“The committee is fully aware of” the potential for problems stemming from drinking, Rogers said.

“The beauty about the festival, it has come into itself. When it first started, it was younger people. It was a ‘booze-fest’ instead of Bluesfest.

“But, now it has an older crowd,” he said.

Grattelo nodded.

“I don’t disagree with what you are saying. We cannot turn a blind eye as officials of this town,” he said.

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