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A measure of recognition and respect in which Spann is held took place at a ceremony held at the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, when Muddy Waters presented Spann's widow, Lucille, with a plaque which read: 'The people of Ann Arbor Michigan in recognition of the talent, the genius of the late Otis Spann, sweet giant of the Blues, formally dedicate the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, 1972 in the grounds upon which it stands to the memory of this great artist.' That September the performance area where the plaque was placed became known as The Otis Spann Memorial Field and remained so for the ensuing years of the festival.

The clean-up problem was troubling. The Festival had hired scores of young people from the community to prepare the site, an empty field next to Huron High School which we had dubbed “Otis Spann Memorial Field,” to staff the festival grounds during the three-day event, and to clean up the site after the festivities had concluded. These workers effectively went on strike after the Festival ended without any of them getting paid and refused to do any more work, thus postponing the clean-up until enough volunteers could be organized to remove the debris.