On a cold, windy and rainy day, the 2022 Rainy Day Blues Festival was moved from Island Park in Springfield to Mac’s in Eugene, and the festival was a smash hit. 

Only days before the event, there was talk of canceling the festival after Rainy Day Blues Society president Jimmy Haggard, 68, had died unexpectedly. In the final analysis, it was felt that Jimmy would want the show to go on.

“These are real blues fans and I love it. People here are loyal to the music,” Johnny Burgin said. “I’d come here any day of the week for that. That’s what I care about and I couldn’t be happier. I’d go to Antarctica for that, man.”

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin, the co-headline act along with Johnny Main, kept the dance floor hopping and had the full-house audience mesmerized with an assortment of blues to suit any palette. 

Burgin says he likes a mix of music – and bandmates – to keep things fresh. 

“I have a band from the Midwest, I have a band from the East Coast, a band from the West Coast, and I have a band from the Pacific Northwest. That was the Pacific Northwest edition of my band with me here,” Burgin said, “but they’re all based on long relationships – like I’ve known Eddie the drummer for 30 years, we used to play with Pinetop Perkins around South Bend, Ind. – and Joel is like my little brother, and Melanie is like my sister – so we spend a lot of time together and I love them. And I feel the same way about my Midwest band.” 

Burgin, 52, spent 28 years in Chicago, but a recent family situation has landed him in Norfolk, Va., for the time being. 

“Now I’m going to be hitting it (doing shows) from Atlanta to Montreal,” Burgin said. “I’m gonna show them what I can do.”

“I quit music for about eight years after my daughter came along, but now my comeback has lasted longer than my original career … Playing the blues makes me happy and if I’m able to make other people happy, then that’s all that really matters to me.”