News: 8th Carlisle Blues & Rock Festival at The Swallow Hilltop Hotel – 7th-9th November

Posted on: Saturday, Jul 12, 2014


Carlisle Blues & Rock Festival, hailed by reviewers as ‘the UK’s premier autumn music event’ and ‘a magnificent weekend’, marks its eighth year this November.

It is unique amongst Cumbrian festivals in that all the bands play at a single venue – the Swallow Hilltop Hotel in Carlisle. This gives audience members the opportunity to completely immerse themselves in brilliant music for an entire weekend – with a roof overhead. As an added bonus, the hotel has recently been refurbished, so the festival package will be a treat in every sense of the word.

But what about the music? How can organiser Nick Westgarth keep improving his line-up year on year? The answer is partly because Carlisle Blues & Rock Festival has such a glittering world wide reputation that many of the world’s best blues and rock performers are very keen to be on the bill. Each year, they come from all over the UK and the US to grace the stage at the Hilltop.

Nick ensures that the infrastructure including sound and lighting are top quality and the audience is made up of dedicated music fans, many of whom travel to the festival every year. All this makes for an extremely warm, friendly, almost ‘family like’ atmosphere.

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Mike Zito

This year, Sparo & The Yahs, a Scottish rock/blues/funk act, will kick off proceedings on Friday night. They will be followed by Samantha Fish, from Kansas, who has been setting the international blues world alight with her searing guitar licks. The legendary Marcus Malone, originally from Detroit, will treat the audience to his irresistible blend of blues, rock and soul. Mike Zito and the Wheel take the Friday headline slot. Mike appeared at Carlisle in 2013 with award-winning US ‘supergroup’ the Royal Southern Brotherhood and this year he is bringing his own, equally extraordinary band. And for those who want to party on into the night, The Little Devils will be playing a late session in the bar.

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Rosco Levee & The Southern Slide

Saturday offers a Great British theme featuring some of the very best British acts from as far back as the 70’s right up to the current day. Included in the packed Saturday programme are the hotly tipped Rosco Levee and the Southern Slide, the charismatic Mustangs, blues diva Connie Lush, husky-voiced Sean Webster, the veteran Climax Blues Band, the multi-talented ‘UK adopted’ South African Bushman Brothers, the amazing prodigy that is Blues Boy Dan Owen, legendary Scottish blues and boogie outfit Blues’n’Trouble, and the popular Aynsley Lister. The regular late-night jam session in the bar will attract some of the big names playing at the festival and should provide some memorable music and visuals for the late night dwellers.


Ian Siegal

Sunday begins with fast-rising young blues band TC & The Moneymakers and continues with gifted singer/guitarist Dani Wilde with her superb band. The event is delighted to announce The Boom Boom Band, a high profile collective featuring some of Britain’s finest blues performers, including Marcus Bonfanti, Jon Amor, Matt Taylor, Paddy Milner, Mark Butcher (yes the former England Test cricket superstar) and Steve Rushton, drummer from the Imelda May Band and event wouldn’t be the same without the UK’s premier blues artist, maestro and festival favourite Ian Siegal (this time accompanied by Misssissippi multi-instrumentalist and Grammy Award winner Jimbo Mathus).

To book tickets, visit:

Tickets represent unbeatable value at only £31 for Friday and Sunday single-day tickets, £46.50 for Saturday midday to midnight and £99.50 for the full weekend.

The residential weekend festival package is only £191.50 per person (2 people sharing a twin or double room), including two nights accommodation, with dinner, bed and breakfast and full use of the hotel’s leisure facilities.

You are advised to book early, as this festival looks likely to sell out in advance.

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