Riverfront Blues Festival honors two local men

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By JOHN BLODGETT

The Western News

Libby’s Riverfront Blues Festival turns 10 this year, and in celebration organizers have dedicated the two-day event to the memory of two local men — Jerry Hersman and Alan Lane — who played a role in festivals past.

Hersman, who ran Rocky Mountain Music and Collectibles with his wife, Debbie, was involved with the festival from its start in 2008, according to materials provided by organizer Jennifer Nelson.

He started by providing sound equipment and being sound man, and in following years he and Debbie expanded their support by donating money and stage equipment and gathering instruments for the festival’s “Connecting Kids with Music” program.

Though Hersman died June 4 this year, organizers say Debbie continues to support the festival.

Organizers describe Lane, who twice played the festival with Frank Chiaverini and often performed at Frank’s Hot Club in Troy, as a “talented guitarist with an unforgettable voice” and “a man of rare resolve.” After losing his right arm above the elbow in a logging accident, he returned both to working in the woods and to playing guitar. Watch a video about him at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAImb-rFLDs.

In the years leading up to his Nov 22, 2017 passing to mesothelioma, Lane built a recording studio at his home, where he made three CDs. His wife, Wendy, hopes to make the studio available to other musicians.

The festival is Friday and Saturday at Riverfront Park in Libby. To learn more and to buy tickets, visit www.riverfrontbluesfestival.com.

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