The late Pat Monaghan, past-president of the Highlands Buckslide Blues Society, always wanted to bring a celebration of his favorite music to Haliburton.

Now, Haliburton Forest will welcome blues lovers to the inaugural Haliburton Highlands Blues Festival Aug. 26, thanks also to the Haliburton Folk Society, supported by Haliburton Forest and CanoeFM.

Jenie Thai, a celebrated Canadian blues artist, kicks off the weekend Friday night as the final artist in the Women of the Forest series of concerts. Then, from noon until 10 p.m. on Saturday, various artists with a vast repertoire of Blues music will take to the stage.

Walter Tose, chairman for the folk society, said when Monaghan approached them about possibly making the festival happen, it didn’t take long for things to fall into place.

“Back in about May, we got talking about the possibility of something like this. Pat got a bit teary-eyed when it came together because it had always been a dream for him. I also see it as a celebration of his contribution to the Canadian blues scene with more than 40 years of promoting and educating people about the Blues.”

With Monaghan’s contacts, from many years spent around blues artists, it didn’t take long to get the musicians together for the festival.

“Such amazing support from everyone,” Monaghan told The Highlander prior to his passing. “This could be my legacy, something people will remember me for.”

A total of eight acts have been confirmed for Saturday: Sean Cotton & Tamica Herod, Alone Together, Chuckee Zehr & Cheryl Lescom, The Swingin’ Blackjacks, Rosie’s Smokehouse Deluxe, Jim Dan Dee and The Smokewagon Blues Band.

The folk society already had things in place for ticket sales and promoting their own shows, so it was easy to use that platform for the Blues festival.

Accommodation for the artists performing on Saturday was set up, and the other tasks associated with an event such as this were divvied up amongst organizers and volunteers.

Dave Harland and Rusty Rustenburg, both of the Buckslide Blues Society, will be sharing the emcee duties for the festival.

Tickets for the two events are being sold separately. Information and tickets for Jenie Thai on Friday night are being sold through the Haliburton Forest website; .

Information and tickets for Saturday’s Haliburton Highlands Blues Festival can be found on the Haliburton County Folk Society’s website