QUINCY — A better night couldn’t have been ordered for the opening concert of the 25th Blues in the District season.
“I live for the 60%,” Emily Lombardi said. Lombardi is the director of economic and community development at the District. “If the forecast says there’s a 40% chance of rain, I live for that 60%.”
Friday night in Washington Park, Lombardi’s optimism was rewarded with mild temperatures and a clear weather radar.
A last-minute change of performer was taken in stride as Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Alter Boys had to back out at the last minute. Amanda Fish, the Blues Music Award winner in 2019 for Best Emerging Act, stepped in without hesitation.
“All of the people involved, from the band to the talent agent, they were great to work with,” Lombardi said. “Amanda (Fish) has been here before, and she said she was thrilled to be back.”
Fish played the second week of the 2019 Blues in the District.
This year is Lombardi’s first year at the helm of Blues in the District after joining the organization last October.
“The last time I was at Blues was seven years ago as a fan,” she said. “To come back in this capacity is kind of surreal.”
Blues in the District is a free concert series that runs throughout the summer. Performances are held the second and fourth Friday in June, July, and August in downtown Quincy. The park was filled early Friday afternoon for the first concert of the year.
“I was worried about rain earlier today,” Dave Kendrick said. Kendrick was set up with some friends on the west side of the park, near Fourth Street. “I’ve been out here every year, nearly every show, and this is one of the better nights to be out here.”
The District, in addition to selling merchandise at the show, was running a 50/50 raffle. Lombardi said that was something they plan to have every week.
“I want to try and give people more of what they want,” she said. “If that means we have to throw out the playbook, that’s what we’ll do. But I want to talk to as many people as possible to get ideas.”
Along with the main event on the park’s gazebo, food and drink options were available to purchase, and guests are invited to bring coolers for drinks.
“That’s what summer’s supposed to be about,” Kendrick said. “Hanging out with friends, having a few drinks, and enjoying some great music.”
Lombardi said she wanted to extend her thanks to the sponsors of the event for keeping it going strong.
“Here we are at 25 years, and people keep coming back,” she said. “The audience, the sponsors, everyone’s so excited. We want to build on that.”
The next Blues in the District concert, featuring the Coyote Bill Boogie Band from Kansas City, Mo, will take place on June 24.