Longtime Topeka blues bar manager to retire

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - After over a decade of blues, the longtime manager of a famous Topeka music room announced this week her plans to say goodbye.

"You know how you just get that, like, 'I think I've done what I can do here, and now it's time to do something else,'" Suki Willison, longtime booking agent manager for Uncle Bo's Blues Bar, said.

Uncle Bo's, nestled in the basement of the downtown Ramada, opened in 2005 and quickly put itself, and Topeka, on the map.

"What's really neat is when I go other places, and people will say 'Man, you got to play in Topeka,'" Willison said. "So whenever i hear that I think 'Okay, we're on the map, we're in the Midwest loop, and we're recognized as somewhere that's really good to play.'"

Now, after more than 13 years, Willison is ready to move on.

"I'm just ready to do some other things. I'm not sure what they are, but mostly just try to keep music live in Topeka," she said. "I have a lot of things up my head I want to do. I can go places, and I think 'Wow, that'd be cool to paint that, and have cool sound, and have everybody bring their lawn chairs out, and sell hot dogs or popcorn or whatever,' so there's a lot of things to do."

Over the years, Willison has seen many artists perform at the bar, and hopes future generations of artists are inspired to keep going.

"Take the chance. Just take the chance and play in front of people, and enjoy what you're doing, and all the rest will come," she said. "It might not be an opera, but there's a lot of people you can make happy with music."

Willison will remain the president of the Topeka Blues Society, which has been around for ten years now.

Her final hurrah will at Uncle Bo's be a two-day event on Jan. 18 and 19. You can find ticket information, here.