In 2008 during an annual Blues fest called Coalition Blues a couple of Chippewa Valley Blues Society members were manning the membership table. Unfortunately for this one day festival, it was raining. With six acts scheduled and rain predicted for most of the day it was quickly becoming a non-event. In the back and forth of conversation the idea came up of spreading the fest out over a longer period in the summer. That is how the idea of Tuesday Night Blues On The River At Owen Park was hatched, or at least conceived. Later that fall these same members suggested that it was worth a try. The response in general was “sounds great, good luck with that”. A committee was formed, and it began. Having several seasons on the books now, it's hard to believe how much of a struggle it was making those first shows happen
With no funding, very little experience, and a great passion for the blues and live music, the idea grew and eventually became the primary thrust of the Chippewa Valley Blues Society. With the promise of a small matching grant in that first season and a small group knocking doors for sponsors, it began to come to life. The Chippewa Valley is blessed with music events, but most wanted the musicians to contribute their time & talent. Tuesday Night Blues wanted to pay the talent as well as possible. We couldn't afford a lot, but justified it with the idea it was a Tuesday night gig, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a very easy load in/out. We actually pay better than some taverns, which isn't saying a lot.
The opening night was in the 60’s and light rain. About 200-250 showed up. We were ecstatic. In 2013, on a pleasant summer evening between 6-800 will show for this mid week mini-festival. By the time they arrive the band is set up and going through sound check with one of the best production engineers in the Midwest. There is 9 Degrees Ice Cream with a cart and multiple choices, Dickie’s Barbecue is there with a trailer/wagon and a choice of rib, pulled pork or chicken & sides. The Weeny Wagon has brats and dogs and popcorn. Juanita’s jewelry is usually set up next to the Blues Society tent which is stocked with t-shirts, hats, posters and CD’s of artists that have performed at TNB as well as this week’s band. Nothing unusual for a festival, except it is Tuesday night in small town America. When you arrive you are presented a Tuesday Night Bluesletter, with a small amount of sponsor ads, a band bio, a segment of history of the blues, the annual schedule, and maybe a push to a local fundraiser or Blues On The Chippewa, a “free” 3 day blues festival we support in nearby Durand, Wisconsin.
Our schedule is dominated by bands from the region, but include some from Minnesota and further east in Wisconsin. In 2013 we had two Grammy nominated artists in Bryan Lee from New Orleans, and Ellen Whyte from Oregon. Ellen has performed at Tuesday Night Blues multiple times with the Sue Orfield Band.  In 2014, Dave Arcari will join us from Scotland on August 5, and one member of the Kingsnakes (Ryan Harrington) will be returning to the States for two weeks from his present home in Germany to play a string of shows including Tuesday Night Blues on July 29.
We have had people come in to town from New York, Massachusetts, Florida, California, Chicago, St. Louis, all over. They are almost always impressed, reflecting that they don’t have anything like this where they are from, and wishing they did. Every band wants to come back. Imagine a Tuesday Night crowd of 500 plus loving you, compared to the hit and miss bar crowds in modern America, with all the reasons not to go out to a bar on the weekend. Can you blame them?