(HAYWARD, CA) – On the second weekend of July 2019, the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival celebrated its 20th Anniversary – and as it turns out, its last festival. Due to a variety of factors, the West Coast Blues Society has decided to change the show’s format from the two-day Hayward Russell City Blues Festival to a Summer Series of several single-day, July blues shows. The venue is to remain in Hayward, and the shows will continue to celebrate the rich cultural and musical tradition of Russell City and the East Bay during the post war years from the 1940’s thru the 1960’s. We can show our support for the West Coast Blues Society and the Russell City blues shows by contacting the Mayor’s Office in Hayward, California, to let them know how much these shows have meant to so many of us. More information about Russell City can be found at their website.
In addition to all the great music, a special highlight this year on Saturday was the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ronnie and Paula Stewart. The Stewarts, along with a host of volunteers, have worked tirelessly to make the festival a success over its 20-year run. The award was made on behalf of The Golden Gate Blues Society and was presented by Richard MacLaury, President of the group.
We’re excited to hear that the West Coast Blues Society is making plans for a Summer Series and hope to see you there in 2020. We also want to thank everyone associated with the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival for so many great blues shows over the years.
By Cheryl and Tom Yearnshaw
Photos by Tom Yearnshaw except Award image courtesy Richard MacLaury
Top Rt: Richard MacLaury presents award to Ronnie and Paula Stewart
Bottom Rt: The Stewarts and their grandson, L J Wright