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PlaybackSTL writes up STLBlues

  This article ran in the December 2004 issue of PlaybackSTL, written by Jeremy Segel-Moss of the Bottoms Up Blues Gang.

STLBlues.net is one of those think globally act locally kind of ideas that actually work. And Dave Beardsley, publisher, is one of those guys that takes a hobby and turns it into a grassroots-community-based-music-focused-project that is an immediate success.

Not to go overboard on the back-patting, but truth is, there are no other sources on or off line that have such a collection of reviews, musicians support, interviews, schedules, venues, or festival information that STLBlues does.

The journey of STLBlues.net started in 1993 when Beardsley, a career Fire Department Paramedic, was asked to help at the St. Louis Blues Heritage Festival. He pulled together some of his “blues lovin' friends in the medical field” and soon had plenty of volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics to help out. (The scheduled Red Cross volunteers had to pull out, to help with the floods of 1993)

“I met lots of the local bands along the way, and also the organizers of the Festival at that time - the St. Louis Blues Society! As I delved more deeply into the Blues, my appreciation for this musical artform kept growing. Gradually my involvement in the Blues led to 5 years as a writer for the Bluesletter, the magazine of the St. Louis Blues Society, and as a Board member for the 1997 St. Louis Blues Heritage Festival,” said Beardsley.

When Beardsley launched the site in 2000, there was no plan to speak of. The site was a hobby. As he started collecting the information he also listened to what the fans, the artists, record labels and venues suggested. The ability to hear what people want has become the attribute that has unexpectedly created a successful site.

“When we started STLBlues, I was told that a regional Blues site was a recipe for failure, that we needed a National focus! We’ve proven that St. Louis has its own story to tell, and that millions want to know about it!” said Beardsley.

There must be some truth to it since they started with 7 pages and are now well over 600. Not to mention the site is quickly closing in on 4 million hits a year. (We had 4 million+ hits in 2004)

“There’s a very powerful online Blues Community! With the Internet as the ‘great equalizer’, more artists are realizing the old press kit have given way to the ‘Electronic Press Kit’, which is nothing more than having all your promotion a ‘click away’ from record labels, festival and club promoters! I believe [STLBlues] gets the St. Louis Blues scene the long-overdue exposure it deserves,” said Beardsley.

STLBlues.net is continually changing. Adding to its interviews with all types of local blues musicians, venues, CD and show reviews, history of St. Louis and its music. STLBlues.net has also partnered with Vintage Vinyl to make local blues CDs available to the world. Along those lines, Beardsley also has the musicians in mind. In a time where bands are paying to having their online presence felt, Beardsley puts every local band up for free.

“I feature local bands for free, because most artists do it out of love, not for money. I think if I charged to promote it would prohibit the entire goal, which is to promote the artists. The best payoff for me is when a band comes up and says that someone heard about them on STLBlues, or they landed a gig. That’s the real payoff,” said Beardsley.

Editors note - STLBlues owes a huge thanks to the Street Teamers, we couldn't do it without them!

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