TED GEHRKE is the Board and Festival founder and has been the FBF Director of the Festival since its inception in 1981 having booked such legends as John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Bo Diddley. The first 30 years were with the help of the Associated Students Program Board of San Jose State University. Gehrke’s known as the “Elder Statesman of Blues” in the Bay Area, but his love for music history and diverse genres extends beyond the blues. With mostly OCA, NEA & AS backing, Gehrke created New Sounds SJ from 1978-81, which brought such musicians/composers as Phil Glass and Steve Reich in concert, participating in FREE discussions and master classes in San Jose. All of the FBF Board Members will tell you that the reason they are so passionate about keeping the blues alive, and volunteering on the Board, is due to the shared passion that Gehrke possesses and the legacy he has built.