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Bob Dorr & the Blue Band get ready to rock City Square Park

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Bob Dorr & the Blue Band will play in the Uptown Getdown in the first of a series performing through August.

By Levi Wright

levi-wright@uiowa.edu

Today, the Marion Chamber of Commerce, 1225 Sixth Ave., will host the Uptown Getdown. The event will continue every Thursday in August, bringing live music and food to Marion in an opportunity for friends and family to get together.

“It’s always a fun time when the community can get together,” said Jill Ackerman, the president of the Marion Chamber of Commerce. “We usually have around 2,500 people attend the event, and they get to just sit and talk to their friends and neighbors and listen to music. It’s a great community builder for us.”

The Uptown Getdown started more than 20 years ago as a way for Marion to involve the community by providing local artists and food. The event gives people a chance to just enjoy each other’s company on the park’s lush green lawns or see some of the historical pieces City Square Park has to offer.

“We’ve always had food vendors come in, but social media have made it more fun,” Ackerman said. “We’ve done a contest; this year, I think we’re doing a contest in which people submit a photo on the Facebook to win a prize, and that’s made it a lot more fun to be able to engage with the people who attend the event.”

Each week, a different genre of music will take the stage at the Uptown Getdown. This weekend, Bob Dorr & the Blue Band will perform its smooth and fast-paced music, which they call “blues soul rockabilly reggae rhythm.” For the Blue Band, this is a farewell tour.

Dorr and the Blue Band started 36 years ago, and the group has made a name for itself over the years. In 2007, Dorr was inducted into the Iowa Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame as the leader of the band. Two of the original band members have made it into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame.

‘A band in my mind is primarily a collection of its songs, and the changes have become more by the people who play those songs and the evolution of those songs.’

— Bob Dorr

At one point in the band’s history, it would travel across the country to such places as Sun Valley, Idaho, and Memphis, Tennessee. Now, it doesn’t travel more than 150 miles outside of Cedar Falls.

“A band in my mind is primarily a collection of its songs, and the changes have become more by the people who play those songs and the evolution of those songs,” Dorr said. “When I played the Cooper Wagon Works at my very first Blue Band gig on June 10, 1981, and when I played it last night in Des Moines, it certainly has changed over 36 years.”

Future bands that will play in the Uptown Getdown include the catchy cover band Decoy, the classic/country-rock cover group Compass Rose Band, and the energetic country band 8 Seconds, all of which are Iowa groups.

“I think a lot of people don’t know how great the music scene is in Iowa as far as musicians, the bands that are here,” said Fix Brown, the bassist for Decoy. “It’s a great showcase to be on the same event schedule with all these other Iowa bands.”

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