2013 festival review – by Rosy Greer

Posted on: Tuesday, Dec 31, 2013

The best festivals in and around the North West – round-up for 2013

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The first blues festival for me in 2013, was in April at The Theatre of Blues in Shrewsbury. A nice, well put together little festival , held on a Friday evening in the Lion Hotel and all day Saturday in Theatre Severn.

Not a mega line up, but well chosen and an interesting mix, hosting some bands from the North West, Fuschi4, and Slack Alice. The Drivetones, a local blues band from Whitchurch, blew everyone away as they opened on the Saturday, as did the unscheduled guest appearance of Blues Boy Dan Owen. Buddy Whittington was the headline act on the Saturday evening ending the festival with a great atmosphere. http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2013/04/21/review-and-diary-theatre-of-blues-festival-shrewsbury-by-lancashire-blues-archive/

The beginning of May brought the Burnley International Rock & Blues Festival in its 25th year. The line-up didn’t really grab me, so we only did the Saturday. The highlights for me were David Migden & The Dirty Words, an off the wall Zappaesque, but highly talented band, giving a fresh take on the blues and Hokie Joint who were sadly doing their last gig before morphing into other projects. http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2013/05/13/review-burnley-international-rock-and-blues-festival-2013/

At the end of May was the British Blues Award winning Hebden Bridge Blues Festival. Over three days, it again proved a superb friendly festival with a class line up. A bizarre choice for the evening main stage, in a chapel … but it surprisingly worked well. With afternoon acoustic and electric sessions at the Community Centre, there was plenty of variety to suit all tastes. It was nice to see Lancashire lass, Lucy Zirins on the acoustic stage and Manchester based Kyla Brox Band on the main stage. There were also lots of class acts out on the trail including, Manchester band, Junkhouse Dog Blues Band. Finishing off the evenings, on the main stage, the now famous Paddy Maguire Jam Sessions, always a crowd pleaser!

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July had me missing the magic Upton Blues Festival, but later in this month was the Maryport Blues Festival, and what a good one this year! Lots of talent from all over the North West on the main stage, Lucy Zirins and Blue Swamp and on the trail Forty4, The Hexmen, Olly Alcock Band. The festival was really well put together this year with a main stage marquee and an outside stage catering for the rock introduction, which went down really well with the The Quireboys headlining. Bernie Marsden headlined on the main stage on Saturday evening but the highlights for me were BabaJack and King King. http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2013/09/08/review-maryport-blues-festival-2013-by-rosy-greer-of-lancashire-blues-archive/

Towards the end of August, The Great British R&B Festival in Colne, opened its doors yet again for this mega four day event. The weather was near perfect. I only went on the trail and to the roadhouses, but this year it hosted the prestigious British Blues Awards, as an added extra to this splendid event. As it is a Lancashire based event there was a showcase for the talent from around the North West on Friday evening on the British Stage (or Bulmers Stage) on the trail, going out live on BBC Radio Lancashire, including The Full Fat Boogie Band, The After Hours Blues Band, Dr Truth and Slack Alice.

The Bulmers Stage also had a raft of super calibre bands and artists from across the UK on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Acoustic Stage on the trail, gave an opportunity for acoustic artists and bands. This year there was also an outside stage, which proved a great success, with a highlight for me on there were The Brothers Groove from Birmingham. The International Stage hosted many famous names, but at a price! Next year will be the 25th Anniversary of this prestigious North West event. http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2013/10/12/review-the-great-british-rb-festival-colne-lancashire-2326-08-13/

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The last festival for 2013, for me, was the Carlisle Blues and Rock Festival. This took place in November at the Swallow Hilltop Hotel. With a good mixed line-up, including a few North West bands, The Stumble, Blue Swamp and Slack Alice, it was an entertaining weekend. The highlights for me were Ian Parker, David Migden and the Dirty Words and Ian Siegal and the Mississippi Mudbloods also the after hours Jam Session on the Saturday, which was excellent! http://www.bluesinthenorthwest.com/index.php/2013/12/04/review-carlisle-blues-and-rock-festival-2013/

Other blues festivals take place in and around the North West, so maybe in 2014, I will try and fit in a few more. For 2013, The Great British R&B Festival in Colne had the edge for me and next year, as it is the 25th Anniversary it could be even better!!!!

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive

http://www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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