Rich Ruoff Roots and Blues Founder.jpg

Rich Ruoff, Lancaster Roots and Blues Festival founder/organizer, on stage introduces Live on Friday night February 6, 2015 at the Lancaster County Convention Center.

Rich Ruoff's Sunday afternoon was a simple one.

He took a hot bath and lay down.

"I'm exhausted," the director of the 2nd Annual Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival said around 5 p.m.

Not surprising, since he'd been running around like a madman well before the event started Friday evening, and for hours after it ended early Sunday morning.

Same goes for his director of operations, Sam Campbell.

"People asked me what my weekend was like and I told them it was like putting on 10 weddings each day for two days," he said.

Coordinating 79 acts on 10 stages at eight venues in downtown Lancaster was a monumental juggling effort, according to Ruoff.

And except for some behind-the-scenes glitches, he proudly dubbed this year's event a success.

"I think it went very well," he said. "I heard a lot of positive comments."

So did city Mayor Rick Gray.

"I'll tell you what - the city was packed this weekend," he said. "This was a positive event for the merchants, it was positive for the city and it was positive for the attendees."

Ruoff hadn't yet calculated the final attendance figures as of Sunday night, but he estimated that number at "north of 6,000."

Attendance at last year's inaugural festival was around 4,000.

Those people turned out to see 50 bands perform on nine stages at five venues.

"It grew substantially this year," Ruoff said.

Ruoff on Sunday couldn't name all the places attendees came from, but he did know tickets were sold to people from California, Tennessee, Virginia, Illinois and New York.

"I talked to people from all over the place," Mayor Gray said. "There were local people I knew, of course, but there were a lot of people from out of town."

A big plus for this year's festival was the weather, according to Ruoff.

It didn't snow. It didn't rain. Temperatures ranged from a low of 17 degrees at 1 a.m. Saturday, when The Rad Trads would have been finishing up at Federal Taphouse, to a high of 41 at 2 p.m. Saturday, when Masters of the Telecasters launched the Day Two acts at the Lancaster Convention Center.

"For the middle of February, this was about as good as it gets around here," Ruoff said. "I know one year we're going to get hit with a big snowstorm, but we'll still put on a show."

Every one of the eight venues saw good traffic throughout the festival, which confirmed Ruoff's belief that the weekend lineup was solid.

"We had something for just about everybody's musical taste," he said.

Pressed to pick a few acts that seemed to be fan favorites, Ruoff named the Gas House Gorillas, Steep Canyon Rangers, Blind Boy Paxton and Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown.

Ruoff admitted there were some ticketing issues — primarily at the will-call window, which was not set up when it was supposed to be, and where tickets were not set aside alphabetically.

"We'll get better at those kinds of things as we get more experience," he said. "I think that's going to be fixed next year when everything is computerized," he said.

Campbell said the Food Truck Court in the 100 block of North Queen Street didn't see the traffic he had hoped.

"This was something people asked us for last year, and we gave it to them and they just didn't go," he said. "I know it wasn't because of the food.

"I'd like to see us do better with that next year - maybe better lighting or a different location."

A complaint Ruoff heard more than once was that people wanted to see more acts, but they couldn't get to them because their performance times overlapped with other acts they wanted to catch.

"It's a good problem to have, and I think we're going to work that out a bit next year," Ruoff said.

The 3rd Annual Roots & Blues Festival already is scheduled to last three days, instead of two — Feb. 19-21

By adding another day, Ruoff said he hopes to spread out the acts more, so there is less overlapping.

Planning for that event begins today.

"Absolutely," he said. "We're going to start working on it right away."

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