I was visiting my good friend Memphis Gold this afternoon and we talked about some of his upcoming appearances including the Tinner Hill Festival and the Columbia Pike Blues Festival, when his wife mentioned another DC area festival that essentially offered him $500 for a seven piece band while offering several times this amount to a touring white performer (and if the person is who i think it is, I think she is a fine performer). According the Memphis Gold's wife, the person from this festival took offense when challenged on the low amount they were willing to pay. Lets remember, Memphis Gold needs money, but certainly a gig has to pay enough to make it worth it to show up and perform. If it is true that Memphis Gold was expected to play for $500, and the touring act is getting several times that amount, well I can say there is no excuse for that. Why can't someone putting on a festival in Washington DC show enough respect that the folks who know something about the blues in Europe know.
In the context of telling me what happened, Memphis Gold's wife said that someone told her to the effect that Blacks may have been the originators but whites are now its caretakers. I initially misunderstood her and though it was the person from the festival that was trying to low-ball Memphis Gold, but that was not true. Still that comment probably reflects what a lot of folks think. The fact that there is plenty of blues still being played its originators who are doing quite a bit in preserving and extending the blues tradition. And these acts increasingly get ignored while the popularizers and imitators increasingly get many gigs and press. Those that ignore the originators and those playing the tradition, are not serving as caretakers of anything. rather they are acting like undertakers, but this music ain't ready to die.