On June 2, as I stood in Payson's event center with my small army of volunteers Scott, Dan, Larry, Anthony, my wife, mother and sons I had this feeling of big empty loss. It's a hollow feeling that goes clear to the bone. I'm sure my friends felt it too, but we didn't acknowledge that something good was gone.
The June Bug Blues Fest comes once a year, so we talked about good things how sweet the music was, how the children danced, how perfect the night was and how good the food was.
We had eaten like kings, drank like sailors, danced like spirits and smiled like fools. So this is my letter to you, my fellow Paysonites, the ramblings of a mad man laugh at them, put them in your pocket, throw the paper away or take my words to heart.
First, if you weren't there, you really missed something good. You missed the opportunity to support art and culture in our community. You missed the chance to see people lay their burdens down. You missed seeing children dancing to music that was harmony and melody, not just a thumping beat. You missed seeing old people, young people, the rich and the poor, sharing an experience called life.
I need to say thanks to all of our sponsors, big and small without their support this beautiful thing couldn't be.
When the Majestic Mountain Inn became the major sponsor, they saved the day. By their contribution, an Arizona and Payson tradition was given one more year of life.
The Michelob people always come through they even provide full-time, free taxi service for those who may have had too much fun.
Zane Grey Bail Bonds helped out. I find that rather amazing since the June Bug never has any trouble, but they were there because Sandra cares about the community.
Kim and Kim at ReMax Realty helped out, even though they had just had big opening expenses, they were there for Payson with bucks and smiles and even a truck.
Ed and Diane at PostNet produced all those beautiful posters that Steven and Lane designed. The PostNet people bent over backwards to help support the event.
So many people helped bring the 2002 JBBF about by their sponsorships and efforts that I can truly say without any reservation, we put on the finest, the very best blues festival west of the Mississippi right here in Payson, Arizona.
I can and must also say that it is truly a cryin' shame that more locals don't come to it. Good things don't last unless you put forth effort. People, if you really want a strong, cultural base for our community, you've got to tend your garden. Blues might not be your favorite music, that's alright. But the June Bug Blues Festival is a happening. It's an event, something to do, a place to go.
I've lived here almost 10 years and I've heard there's nothing to do in Payson 10,000 times. Well, there is something to do, but you gotta do it.
I'm 51 years old, one thing I've learned, good things don't come to you, you gotta go get them.
You young people where were you? I want you to think about something. I personally know Ozzie and Steven Tyler, and if they were anywhere around Payson June 1st, they would have been at the June Bug Blues Festival. Where were you?
As John D. Holman wrote in a song back in 1946, like a good woman, ya never know what a good thing ya had till she's gone.
Shakey Joe Harless