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Harry Lee huffs and puffs on his harp while performing with The Back Alley Blues Band at Rockport State Park during a past Rhythm & Blues Rendezvous. The event will celebrate five years on Saturday, July 20. (Photo courtesy of The Rhythm & Blues Rendezvous)
Five years ago, Ides of Soul guitarist Greg Daniels and KRCL radio's Brian Kelm organized the first Rhythm & Blues Rendezvous at Rockport State Park.

The idea was to raise money for medical expenses for Andrew Arnold, a boy who lived in Heber who suffered from a rare liver cancer.

The event pulled in more than $1,600.

Daniels and Kelm decided to produce three other Rendezvous in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to raise money to buy musical instruments for children who were patients at Shriners Hospital. The respective events raised $2,921, $2,590 and $3,847.

This year, the Rhythm & Blues Rendezvous, which will be held on Saturday, July 20, at Rockport State Park, from noon to 10 p.m., will benefit KRCL radio, the local community nonprofit station in Salt Lake City.

Although the recipient is different, the goal hasn't changed, Daniels said during an interview with The Park Record.

"The basic premise was to get the families and the musicians, who have known each other for years, together and have some fun," Daniels said. "As all of us musicians were getting older, we were gathering less because we all started having families and even grandchildren.

"So, we thought it would be fun to start an annual get-together, and while we were at it, we could help out a local cause and raise some awareness and money," Daniels said.

Daniels and Kelm selected KRCL this year because the station is a big supporter of the blues.

"The station is important to us local musicians and has supported all sorts of music," Daniels said. "Of course the music that is dear to my heart and Brian's heart is the blues, and of course the station has done the Monday-night blues broadcast for 32 years."

The bands and artists that will perform this year include The Neighbors, River House Band, Tony Holiday Band, George T. Gregory Band, The Soulistics, Blues on First, Ides of Soul and Harry Lee & The Back Alley Blues Band Allstar Jam.

"The most flattering thing to me is we didn't have to ask these guys to play this year," Daniels said. "They called me and asked if we could use them.

"There are some who couldn't be part of the event this year, but have asked if we could put them on a bi-annual rotation," he said. "That feels great, I appreciate the fact that these guys are giving up their talents and time, because all of this is voluntary."

Daniels said the Rendezvous is an important event for these Utah-based musicians.

"Local musicians for the most part have never been really wealthy," he said. "Even some of the more well-known ones are still struggling to afford health care. So, doing an event that helps support organizations such as Shriners Hospital is very important to us.

"In fact, I've had several of these musicians tell me that their nephew or neighbor's kid were patients at Shriners," he said. "So, when they play this event (they) are giving back to the community and, in a way, saying thanks for all the support the community has given them."

The other key reason for this year's event is to say thank you to KRCL for giving local blues music a voice on the radio.

Daniels said he is happy with the feedback and popularity of the Rendezvous.

"Every year we are being contacted by people involved with important causes that need help," he said. "And we're trying to be as good as we can about sharing the love."

Even with the support of the musicians, the Rhythm & Blues Rendezvous would not be possible without the support of Joe Donelle, the manager of Rockport State Park.

"He has been with us since the inception," Daniels said. "And this also helps him, because we're getting people to come and experience the park."

Also, Alan Wilberg of Wylder Production has donated the stage, sound system and lights.

"It's a professional stage that measures 16 feet by 32 feet, and the sound system itself carries 20,000 watts of power," Daniels said. "The whole system would have cost $10,000, and he's providing it for free."

In addition, the local sponsors — Guitar Czar, Island Sound, Carlson Distributing, Pat's B.B.Q., Pierpont Place, Red Butte Garden, Stoneground, Lee Oskar Harmonics, The Bruno Group, Summit Tax Services, The Garage on Beck Street, The State Room, The Sun and Moon Café, Third Sun Productions, Uinta Brewing Company, Xmission, XP Audio, The Travel Clean Car Wash, The Spur Bar & Grill, 350 Main Restaurant, Kamas Food Town and Walmart — have stepped up to make the event happen.

"The local community has been part of the reason we can pull this off," Daniels said. "Thanks to them, our production cost is zero."

The fifth-annual Rhythm & Blues Rendezvous fundraiser will take place at Rock Port State Park on Saturday, July 20, from noon until 10 p.m. Admission is a suggested $10 donation at the gate. Funds will help support KRCL radio. For more information, visit www.rnbrendezvous.org .