To the Kalamazoo Blues Community,

First, I want to thank you and the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association (KVBA) for allowing me to serve as President and be a part of an organization that not only serves the Blues community through Blues Fest, but also gives back through programs like Blues in Schools, the KVBA Scholarship program and the International Blues Competition. This organization was formed over 25 years ago. The individuals who formed it were motivated and persistent in pursuing the mission to promote, educate, and preserve the rich history of blues music in the Kalamazoo area. I am proud to announce that there will be a 25th annual Blues Fest this year and we will bring the venue back outdoors. There are many details to work out, but the KVBA Board is excited to have planning underway. What does this Blues Fest mean to you?

My first KVBA Blues Fest was in 1996, the year we moved here from Chicago. My wife and I served as volunteers and poured beverages in the beer tent. There was an asphalt lot, a couple tents and a stage with incredible local and regional talent.  That festival has grown to include national acts as well as regional and local talent. It has become a well-known event in the region.

Over the past couple years, I have been involved with the KVBA Board of Directors and have developed a great appreciation for the work that goes into these festivals.  Some years have been done better than others, but despite the selfless volunteer hours, fundraising activities, and sponsors, over the past couple years the festival has not been able to cover costs. The primary factors include ticket prices, line-up and venue (including weather).  Last year, the line-up was unprecedented, but the indoor venue was not supported. Lessons are learned each year.  That said, the 25th annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival will need your support more than ever – starting with your input. Our focus will be to bring the best experience that the community can support. We have developed a brief survey and will use your input to create this year’s festival. The festival is by the Kalamazoo blues community and for the Kalamazoo blues community.

I can be reached directly at and welcome direct feedback as well. I look forward to working together to make the 25th Annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival as memorable as ever.


Mike Depoian


Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association (KVBA)

Categories: KVBA News