The 23rd Notodden Blues Festival opened Thursday 5 August. The opening was as always marked with a free concert on the main stage with musical samples from some of the festival artists. The prestigious blues prize was awarded Notodden's successful blues singer Rita Engedalen. On the main stage at night Solomon Burke was back after five years and showed once again who is the King of Soul in 2010 (photo). Photo: Roald Jungård.
We do not remember the last time there were so many on the opening show of the festival. Despite rain in the air the big festival arena Hovigs Hangar was completely filled up with people. (Picture above).
The local artist Rita Engedalen (pictured right) won the festival award this year. The jury said in the statement:
- The composer, lyricist, guitarist and singer is constantly improving and is not afraid of challenging either herself, fellow musicians or her audience. Collaboration with other artists from various genres have become the artist's trademark. This year's prize winner is a musician and entertainer with outstanding communication, and skills to write lyrics that people easily can relate to - whether the inspiration is taken from near surroundings or from places like Mississippi, USA.
Rita received a long and warm applause from her home crowd, and played two songs with her backing band, Backbone, and her longtime musical partner Margit Bakken.
Later on the opening night the big audience in Hovig's Hangar were served three strong shows. First from the bluegrass band, Carolina Chocolate Drops. The Canadian band Downchild had big success with special guest Colin James, and Solomon Burke closed the evening with his spectacular soul show. He proved once again that he is the undisputed king of soul music.
The Canadian band Downchild. (Photo: Roald Jungård - Text: Rune Endal).