Friday, 20 May 2011
The first ever Hebden Bridge Blues Festival is now over, and only tidying up the loose ends remains. But what a weekend!. From Friday 27th May till the early hours of 30th May, the area was witness to what must be one of the greatest concentration of musical talent and epic performances in its history.
A celebration of the very best in Blues music began on Friday afternoon, with a showing of movies about the Blues at the Trades Club, including a special showing of Full Moon Lightnin, an emotional documentary about the journeys of two Blues musicians. The live music began later that evening, with headline act Jon Amor Blues Group packing out the Trades Club, to an enthusiastic crowd, ably supported by Poor Boy. Highlight of the first night of the festival had to be the first of Paddy Maguire’s Midnight Jam Sessions.
For what was probably the first time at a Blues festival, Paddy and his band were joined by artists from the day, in an informal jam session. Jon Amor and other musicians were joined by the special guest appearance of Lance Lopez and his bass player Chris Gipson, who played and sung to delight of the crowd. It was an amazing start to what turned out to be a highly successful festival.
Saturday saw the first of our Marquee in the Park events, including performances from Pie, The Blues Jukes, Marcus Lazarus & Dogs life , Sam Hare and the headline act of the day, the irrepressible Larry Miller. Larry in particular brought the audience to their feet with his exuberant show, and he topped off a day of fine performances in the park. In addition to the music, festival goers could also view the amazing art of Steve ‘Pablo’ Jones, and visit the stand of Blues Matters magazine, one of the leading publications about Blues in the UK. A great selection of food and drink was available from in the Marquee, including Veggies from Nottingham, and I-Spice. The marquee performances were officially opened by new Mayor of Calderdale Nader Fekri, a fan of the Blues himself.
The performances did not stop when the sun went down, with action moving to both the Trades Club and the atmospheric surroundings of the Hebden Bridge Picture House. Headline act of the festival at the Picture House was Lance Lopez, Texas Blues superstar from the USA, supported by the incomparable Bex Marshall and emerging new talent Krissy Matthews. The Trades Club hosted performances from the foot stomping Tony Dowlers Hellhounds, ably assisted by Cry Baby and the Hoochie Coochie Boys and Dan Hudson. As on Friday night, the witching hour saw the next Midnight Jam Session with various musicians from the day giving their all for a large and appreciative crowd.
Sunday saw more electrifying performances in the Park, including recent competition winners 24 Pesos, Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band, Afterhours Blues Band, Sharon Colgan Band, The Revelator Band and the young up and coming band The Mentulls. The Picture House again played host to one of our headline performances Women of Blues, with Chantel Mcgregor, Hooson and Clare Free playing to a sell-out audience. We were also lucky enough to announce guest appearances by new star Cherry Lee Mewis throughout the day. Mayor of Hebdenroyd Scott Trinkett attended the 'Women of Blues' concert, and really enjoyed the show.
The audience at the Trades Club were thrilled by the performance of the amazing duo of Paddy Milner and Marcus Bonfanti, supported by Johnnie White and the Speakeasy Blues Band, and Crosscut Saw. A remarkable Midnight Jam Session followed featuring, many of the artists from the day.
After several amazing days, all good things have to come to an end, and they ended with a bang with performances during Monday from WT Feaster and Mitch Laddie, the Blues Jukes and P-A-U-L from Detroit, USA. The festival ended on an electrifying note, with the last of the Jam Sessions.
Throughout the festival, the entertainment also spread across the town, with free events hosted by Barplace, the Hole in t Wall, Marshalls Bar and Nelsons Wine Bar. Quality acts performing included Will Tang, Chris Martin, Tom Attah, MT Arms, the Stuart James Band, and the Tommy Allen Band. The Hope Baptist Church played host to a day-long Open Mic stage sponsored by Guitarzone in Halifax.
The inaugural Hebden Bridge Blues Festival was considered by everyone concerned to be a great success. Many music lovers, regulars at other festivals, said they were blown away by both the quality of the music at Hebden Blues, and also the friendly welcome they received in Hebden Bridge. So it is with great pleasure I say, here’s to the next one in 2012!. Follow the latest news at the website at www.hebdenblues.co.uk