The Costa Rica Blues Festival was the idea of Mo Ledesma, leader of the local blues band Blues Devils. Mo, who missed the traditional summer blues festivals from the USA, which are outdoors, child friendly, with great food, and of course, with great live blues bands all day. In 2008, with a group of friends decided to produce the first festival, which took place at the Club Cubano in Escazú, San Jose, Costa Rica on February 2008.
Mo, who was born in Chicago to Costa Rican parents and was raised in Costa Rica until the age of 18, when he decided to move back to the USA. In Houston, he had the chance to experience the blues revival started by Stevie Ray Vaughan, which introduced the blues to a new generation, and had the luck to jam, play and see the magnificent performances of great late Texas Blues Legends and enjoy the strong blues scene that this city has to offer.
In 2001, Mo founded his band in Costa Rica: Blues Devils, bringing blues music and rock and roll all over the country.
Since 2008, the Costa Rica Blues festival has brought many great artists from the USA and other countries such as Smokin Joe Kubek, Texas Johnny Brown, Guitar Shorty, Donnie Walsh, Sonny Boy Terry, Chris Ruest, Gene Taylor, Diunna Greenleaf, Sparky Parker, Annika Chambers and Walter Trout.
The purpose of the festival is to promote culture and live music by helping to keep the blues alive, promote tourism in the area of Guanacaste and the country of Costa Rica and to support education by helping NGOs that work in the betterment of education among children and adults of this region.
The Costa Rica Blues Festival is a charitable event that benefits an organization called Abriendo Mentes. This local NGO works on empowering individuals from rural/underserved communities in Guanacaste, Costa Rica to develop the skills they need to seize educational and economic opportunities for themselves and their families by promoting culture and teaching English, computers, sports and arts.
In 2017, The Blues Festival saw the incorporation of Mercedes, Mo`s wife, who is the financial manager and the co-producer of the festival. Together, they are the driving force of the Costa Rica Blues festival, and with the support of an amazing group of volunteers, sponsors and friends, make this event possible every year.
We hope to see you in February 2020, for the 9th Annual Costa Rica Blues Festival.
Mercedes and Mo