Lancashire Blues Archive’s Festival round-up for 2014 from Rosy Greer
It’s been a busy festival year with many that were not sampled!
Our first festival of the year here in the North West, was ‘Bowness Bay Blues’ in April. A well organised festival, with total commitment throughout the town. Although with no specific main stage, the Wheelhouse, as one of the biggest venues, housed the headline acts. A great atmosphere at all the venues with a plethora of excellent music with the highlights for me of ‘Brothers Groove’, ‘The Blues Duo’, ‘Blue Swamp Band’, ‘Dan Burnett’, ‘Marcus Bonfanti Band’ and the ‘Sean Webster Band’. http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2014/04/19/review-bowness-bay-blues-bowness-on-windermere-cumbria-april-2014/
‘Burnley Rock & Blues Festival’ was next on the calendar in early May. Although we only managed the Saturday evening at the Mechanics to see the amazing ‘Hoax’ – who took the place by storm – we had a ‘taster’ of a young and talented band from Clitheroe, ‘Good Foxy’ who were in support. The festival spirit continued over the weekend throughout the town, with many of the pubs being part of the Trail. http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2014/05/05/review-the-hoax-the-mechanics-burnley-rock-blues-festival-saturday-3rd-may-2014/
Heading off to the Black Country in mid May, to the one day ‘Stourbridge Blues Festival’, the highlight acts were ‘Brothers Groove’, ‘Tom Walker Band’ and ‘Big Wolf Band’. A fabulous bluesy day at a local rugby club.
Towards the end of May we hit the fourth and final award winning ‘Hebden Bridge Blues Festival’ in West Yorkshire. Another great success with a fabulous line up over three days, including highlights for me, of ‘David Migden and the Twisted Roots’ and from the north west, ‘MaKuini and The Hoo Doo Men’ and Liverpool based ‘Forty4′. The ‘Blues Boy Kings’ did a fabulous set with Jon Amor taking a guest spot. ‘Tom Attah’ and his Band played some astounding blues. The fabulous ‘Russ Tippins Electric Band’ blew the house down yet again, with ‘Jenna Hooson’ joining the band for a guest spot. One has to mention the famous ‘Paddy Maguire Midnight Jams’ which were synonymous of the festival. Sad it was the last.
A new local festival at the end of May, the one day, ‘Preston Blues Festival’ at the Live Lounge of the Bears Paw in Preston town centre. A choice line up with ‘David Migden and the Twisted Roots’, ‘The Stumble’, ‘TC and the Money Makers’, ‘Tipitina’ and the ‘Special Agents’, proved a great success. It will be back in 2015. http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2014/06/08/review-1st-annual-preston-rockin-blues-festival-saturday-31st-may/
I didn’t manage ‘Upton Blues Festiva’l this year, but went instead to the small music festival, Thamesfest, near Oxford. It was great to meet ‘Debbie Bond’ and Band from Texas, along with the excellent ‘Backbone Blues Band’ and the local band ‘The Missing Persians’. A great little festival over three days with a good mixed genre line up.
A quiet June, but plenty to look forward to with the ‘Maryport Blues Festival’ towards the end of July. They provided a class line up on the main stage and out on the trail, with headliners over the three days of ‘Eric Sardinas’, ‘Coco Montoya’ and ‘Danny Bryant’. For me, it was a treat to catch the young, acoustic blues man, ‘Blues Boy Dan Owen’ from Shrewsbury. Also ‘The Deluxe’, from Carlisle. We also saw a return of the reincarnation of Hokie Joint in the form of ‘LaVendore Rogue’, they rocked the place with their own, totally individual style. From Harrogate, the ‘Dan Burnett Band’ played a captivating performance, playing a mix of blues, soul, funk and rock ‘n roll. Out on the trail ‘The Hexmen’ from Liverpool played great harmonica driven, high octane rhythm and blues, interspersed with humour. A Maryport favourite! http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2014/07/31/review-maryport-blues-festival-2014/
Towards the end of August, the best in the North West with the ‘Great British R & B Festival’ in Colne What a great four days with an amazing line up on the International Stage, British Stage, Acoustic Stage, Outside Stage and the many Road Houses throughout the town. Highlights for me were ‘Kyla Brox’, a blues soul jazz diva and the guest appearance of her dad ‘Victor Brox’. The British Blues Awards were held again here again this year and I was honoured to be asked to present an award to Victor Brox for ‘Lifetime Achievement’.
On the British Stage were the high class ‘Stumble’, a powerful six piece band from Preston, followed by a favourite of mine ‘Cold Flame’ from Derbyshire, with some honest blues rock. ‘Chris Bevington and Friends’ from Stoke, were sensational with a great big band sound giving us blues with a funky edge. Another treat, from Liverpool ‘The Midnight Ramble’, as a six piece they gave a great performance with a big band sound leaning towards Southern rock, soul and blues. A favourite at Colne, ‘The Franny Eubank Band with Tom Attah’ played a great set.
On the last day of this great festival, one of the best bands on the circuit at this time, ‘Brothers Groove’ from Birmingham opened on the British Stage, They also did a brilliant set on the Acoustic Stage. Rockin’ the British Stage, the excellent ‘Legendary Slack Alice’ from the North West. Our Lancashire lass, singer songwriter, ‘Lucy Zirins’ gave us great arrangements of traditional blues songs and her own tunes on the Acoustic Stage. A truly talented young lady. http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2014/08/30/review-the-great-british-rb-festival-a-trail-viewpoint/
The last festival for us this year was ‘Carlisle Blues and Rock Festival’, with a cracking new venue and an excellent line up. With magic moments for me from ‘The Little Devils’, ‘Marcus Malone’, ‘Blues Boy Dan Owen’, ‘Sean Webster’, ‘Climax Blues Band’, ‘Connie Lush & Blues Shouter’, ‘Rosco Levee & The Southern Slide’, ‘Matt Woosey’, ‘TC & The Money Makers’ and the amazing ‘Boom Band’. What a weekend! http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2014/11/15/review-carlisle-blues-rock-festival-the-venue-november-2014/
ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer
(Pics courtesy of Jan Fialkowski and Rosy Greer)