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Wintertime Blues Fest 2020 held at the Nick Stoner Inn

The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff The Fabulous Mojos of Utica is one of four bands performing at the annual Blues Fest 2020 on Saturday at Nick Stoner Inn and 19th Hole in Caroga. The other bands at the eight-hour show were Dealt the Blues of North Greenbush, Soul Sky of Albany and the Insolent Willies of Fulton County.

CAROGA — Joe Mele of Troy is a musician who has played blues, country and classic rock, but he likes the blues best.

“My favorite thing is the blues because there’s more feel to it,” he said during the second annual Wintertime Blues Fest Saturday at Nick Stoner Inn and 19th Hole.

“I love the blues,” said Kathy Drygula of Johnstown. “I worked in the music industry for more than 30 years at Universal Music in Gloversville.”

“Modern music is too perfect,” she said. “They’ve taken the human side out of it. I want to hear the fingers on the guitar strings. I want to hear real people play real music.”

“I like the old time music,” said Kelly Nauroth of Bleecker. “It’s good clean fun.”

In some contemporary concerts, “people get out of control,” she said.

“It’s good music close to home,” said Paul Frederick of Caroga.

Four bands played at the Blues Fest — Dealt the Blues of North Greenbush, Soul Sky of Albany, the Fabulous Mojos of Utica and the Insolent Willies of Fulton County.

John DonVito worked the sound system for the bands. He said he pitched the idea for the blues event to Nick Stoner Inn co-owner Rebecca Ward. Last year’s concert drew more than 350 people. DonVito said they were hoping to get 500 people this year, even though two poker runs were scheduled in the town on Saturday.

DonVito, who plays the blues said, “We [musicians] bring out our own twist. There’s lots of room for artistic flair.”

He noted that the Caroga Arts Festival musicians are playing here during the summer, but “we wanted to do something specifically with music during the winter,” he said.

Ward said she and her husband, Charlie, are working on expanding the business, including developing year-round lodging with the aid of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, and wedding catering with CAF providing music.

The inn held its third annual Halloween party and 98 percent of the 700 to 800 attendees showed up in costume.

“It was a huge success,” she said.

This winter the inn also became a snowmobile stop.

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