The Central Valley Blues Society has long served as a go-to-resource for the area’s blues fans and musicians.
The group’s most visible contribution might have been its annual Father’s Day Blues Festivals and weekly blues jam, which played at (and outlived) many clubs around Fresno (Porky’s, Babylon, the Crossroads, Audie’s Olympic and others).
But for the past 17 year, it has also ran an online calendar, where blues fans could find a rather comprehensive list of events in the central San Joaquin Valley, and also the Bay Area, Sacramento, Central Coast and Sierra.
The list was personally updated each week by Hal Kent — was being the operative word.
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Kent is retiring and with him the web page will be going away, says CVBS president Don Heflin.
As a way of saying thanks, the group has organized a free concert at 4: 30 p.m. Sunday at Fulton 55. The concert will feature performances from Deja Blues, Richie Blue, Baby Bee and more.
“Hal was the reason this amazing website has lasted this long,” Heflin wrote in a thank you letter on the site.
It was a time-consuming task, especially in recent years, as more and more artists turned to social media to directly market to their fans. Kent would have to collect information from the artists’ and venues’ social media or websites and then hope it was up-to-date and correct.
“We just were not getting the gig submissions like we used to,” Heflin wrote.
This isn’t the end for CVBS. Heflin will continue to promote shows and post local events on the group’s Facebook page and mailing list. It will just be scaled back some.
“We are returning,” he says, “to our roots of covering just the Central Valley.”