“I woke up this morning; I had the Blues for a big town” – Sweet Sammy Myers
Rico Ferrara has been a mainstay on the Blues scene since 1997. It was also in 1997 that he, (with more than a little help from Gary Cormier), produced his first show – a Boz Scaggs concert at Massey Hall. Since then Ferrara’s Blues For A Big Town has introduced a number of well received artists to the Canadian market including Jimmy Burns, Tab Benoit, Deanna Bogart, Reba Russell, Chico Banks, and Tad Robinson in the course of establishing a reputation for producing outstanding shows. Also, in keeping with his keen eye for identifying sure fire talent, the BFABT letterhead can be found on media releases for Darrell Nulisch, Rusty Zinn, Fathead, and Johnny Max to name a few.
After an initial involvement of recommending Blues talent to the The Beaches International Jazz Festival, Rico became a member of the Beaches Jazz team in 2000. In addition to continuing to provide Blues talent in conjunction with Artistic Director Bill King, he manages the Festival Main Stage, handles all the logistics for the Main Stage talent, and lends his skills in writing on-line and program bios.
In addition, Ferrara handled all the booking, talent co-ordination, media relations, as well as stage management for the long running Waterfront Blues, (formerly The Distillery Blues Festival). And, Rico also played an active role in booking, media, stage management, and talent co-ordination for Parti Gras!, The Barrie Waterfront Festival, and Wasaga Beachfest, among other events.
Rico also works as a booking agent for a select stable of artists and has helped guide the careers of a number of artists through specifically tailored business plans.
A self proclaimed “music junkie”, Rico credits Gary Cormier and Gary Kendall as instrumental in getting him started in the music business – as well as his wife Debbie who fully supported his move from corporate marketing executive. An active member of both the Toronto Blues Society and The Blues Foundation based in Memphis, he is well regarded in the industry.
It’s been an interesting trip for the 6 year old boy who ran home every day to catch American Bandstand and made that fateful first purchase of a 45 of Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”.