The Costa Rica Blues Festival was the idea of Mauricio “Mo” Ledezma, leader of the local blues band Blues Devils. Mo, who missed the traditional summer blues festivals from the USA, which are characterized for being open air festivals, with a great variety of foods, child friendly and for having live blues bands all day, decided with a group of friends to organize 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 created by Stevie Ray Vaughan, which introduced the blues to a new generation.
Mo founded his band in Costa Rica in 2001, and has been very active ever since, bringing blues music and rock and roll all over the country.
Since 2008, the Cosa 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. Since 2015, all proceeds from the festival have been donated to this organization.
In 2017, The Blues Festival saw the incorporation of Mercedes Bucknor, Mo`s wife, who is the financial manager and the other driving force of the festival.