Swanage Blues

2012 October


Assorted Buskers, Back Porch, Bare Bones Boogie Band, Blind Lemon Gliders, Blue Touch, Blues Machine, Bob Pearce Gospel and Blues Band, C Sharp Blues, Chris Collins & Blues Etc, David Raphael Band, Elevators, Fabulous Fezheads, Hugh Budden, Jam Sessions with Robin Bibi Band, Jason Manners & 3 Buck Shirt, Jawbreakers, Jay Tamkin, Johnny Sharp, Martin Froud, Motel 6, Mustangs, Open Mic Sessions, Paint It Blue, Pete Harris & Hugh Budden, Riotous Brothers, Riverside Blues Band, Robin Bibi Band, Sonny Black, Stan's Blues Jamboree, Steamer, Steve Darrington, Tim Harrison, Tin Cats, Tommy Allen & Johnny Hewitt, and Will Killeen
This Review is courtesy of BLUES MATTERS! – The Voice of the Blues! – www.bluesmatters.com  
February/March 2013 Issue 70 Price £4.75
Swanage Blues & Roots Festival - 5-7th October 2012
What an amazing weekend organised by the wonderful Steve Darrington. This is, in all, his 18th festival and although I’ve been to a few others round the country, this certainly takes some beating. For the princely sum of £10, you buy a bracelet and wander round the lovely town taking in all sorts of, sometimes diverse, acts.
 I’m afraid I missed the Mustangs on the Friday night, due to other commitments, but the feedback was encouraging. Basically, there are 15 indoor venues with bands playing constantly, and there is no place for egos! On the Saturday afternoon I caught the end of a rousing set from Reading’s Jason Manners & 3 Buck Shirt in Bar One, meeting up with the Bare Bones Boogie Band, prior to their early evening slot.
Having seen the first part of that, I made my way to Tawny’s where Pete Harris and Hugh Budden were doing a fantastic set. What I like about Pete is that he explains in depth the origin of each song he sings, very enlightening. I was put off by being asked politely to stand as the tables were reserved for diners, who had materialised, but never mind.
A walk back down to the bottom of town, I went to East Bar where I caught up with Jay Tamkin and band setting up. Having not seen him for a couple of years, I was interested to see how, if at all, he had progressed. I soon found out in as brilliant a set of blues/rock as you could wish for, supported by Ric Christiansen on keys and dad on drums. Brighton’s own
The Elevators were another ‘must see’ for me. It meant a longer walk than first thought up to the British Legion Club, only to find that the place was full, so had to wait for someone to exit before I could get in, who says the Blues is dying? What a set they did, with Fran Galpin at the front on vocals and various guitars/harp, mainstays Mick and Martin on drums and bass, Phil Greaves on guitar and ‘newby’ Tall Paul Lawson on guitar/slide etc.
Sunday was a little more tranquil. Starting by seeing Peter Harris and Hugh Budden again at Sea Breeze, a short wander to the White Horse took me to the Robin Bibi Band doing a set prior to the jam session. It had everything a set by Robin consists of, the man just never ceases to amaze. I’d like to make special mention of Robin’s young step-daughter, whose name eludes me but she did a couple of covers and the voice is to die for! There is talk about the festival not being able to carry on, that would be a travesty, so it’s up to us, the public, to keep supporting it. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
PD said:
Three days of great music, over 40 gigs in a variety of venues, some of the Finest examples of Blues Music talent around, the chance to see seasoned pros and up-and-coming talent, a great atmosphere, one of the (if not THE) friendliest festivals around, meeting friends old and new, looking forward to the next one…
All this for the purchase of a £10 wristband. Hell even buying one for each wrist would be insanely good value!!!!!!!!!!!!
DK said:
Don't know why they call it The Blues, cheered me up no end. Great time, great bands. Well done to all concerned. Here’s looking forward to March
AG said:
This is only my 5th festival and I organise my work time off around them. I’m absolutely sold on them and cannot imagine not having them. They are part of my life. I’m a certifiable Swanage festival freak! I've introduced friends who equally love it. And what better place? Full of old familiar faces and the only strangers are just friends you haven't yet met. Keep it up!!
DB said:
Steve, what a brilliant weekend. This was my first visit and l can't believe that l had missed all the previous events. I wish you all the success for the future and know that many of my friends will be looking forward to visiting in the coming years. I just hope that the wristband is a workable financial solution, because talking to other visitors, we felt that the charge was negligible and even £10 per day would not be unreasonable
LL said:
Another great week-end again Steve. I never heard one negative comment all over the Festival. The Bands were superb the quality of the music was astounding. Once again Steve thanks for all your time effort you put in organising the Festivals it is appreciated and I hope the wrist bands work for you.
Robin Bibi said:
Another Swanage Blues Festival over...a fantastic weekend of music and good vibes..Great gigs for us starting the weekend at the Bar 1.... and Saturday nights gig at the White Horse for us was indeed special...Big thanks to all who contributed in any way and especially to the MAIN MAN Steve Darrington....hoping the wristbands were a success...the vibes we were getting were positive so lets all keep our fingers crossed...and say thanks again to Mr Darrington!!
Eddie Earle, manager of the East Bar said:
Heaving in the East Bar for the blues. It's Like New Year's Eve
CM said:
Thanks Steve. Of the 4 Swanage Blues Festivals I have been to this was the best. I suspect people supported it to the hilt, because I don't remember it being quite so busy. The standard of the gigs was stellar. I do hope the new finance strategy worked, because I want to be back there in March, and with a mate from Yorkshire.
RG said:
One of the interesting side effects of the wrist band system was the obvious camaraderie which prevailed between the wearers. The audiences needed little prompting by the bands to put their arms in the air to show the support they had for the festival. Every band I saw encouraged this and every crowd responded with the same level of enthusiasm; hopefully a sign that the system was a success and we can look forward to another great festival in March where I would imagine an even higher number of wristbands will be bought!
WM said:
Rarely lost for words, but stunned into silence at times by yet another wonderful week end organized by the amazing Steve Darrington.
Lots of great music festivals and sessions out there, but where else can you choose to be enveloped and lost in a music bubble, transfixed to the spot or hypnotized into uncontrolled dancing, depending on mood or energy levels at that moment?
Every fragment of these week ends seem to expand into more than the whole.
It is ageless and great to see really young talent (Callum, almost smaller than his guitar), being supported by those with amazing expertise. Regulars have watched young Bands evolve, developing their own style (Paint it Blue, Blues Machine etc) whilst at the same time as David Raphael said- ''looks like the Blues is safe''.
The magic of Swanage is there to see and hear. Established hero's like Robin Bibi, who some of us are lucky to see regularly, never disappoints, but on Saturday night in The White Horse, he was a man possessed (by people such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter Green and Hendrix at the very least!).
If you loved these people or wished you had seen the likes of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, then their blues is here. Otis Span move over for Steve too.
Hoochie Coochie Men and Black Magic Women descend on Swanage and as far as I am concerned, you can keep your 'Firemen of the month calendar', people playing slide guitar, blues harp or 'tickling the ivories' has far more depth than a hose pipe! --- now you photographers out there - what a great idea for a calender?!
Thankfully enough people bought wrist bands for there to be another week end in March. Let's hope those that did not buy, will pay double next time to ease their guilt.
This has to be the best value deal out there and a great investment to boost 'happy hormones'. So arguably good for your health.
See you in March (accommodation and time off work already booked).
LT said: Already got hotel booked and really hope the 'honesty bands' generated more funds than the 'honesty buckets'. I was sorry to see so many without bands. Shame on you - you know who you are....! Send Steve a tenner NOW
IT said:
Such a good weekend, already excited for March!
HC said:
Firstly, we would like to say huge thanks to you for organising such a great festival. This was our third time at Swanage and was definitely the best yet. Highlights for us were:
Stan's Blues Jamboree - thoroughly enjoyable mix of jamming and showcase bands, comfy seats and cheap drinks! We hope this event will return next year.
Hugh Budden and Pete Harris at Seabreeze - engaging and entertaining, we loved how they got the audience involved.
Paint it Blue - On great form as ever, had the pub absolutely packed and loving every minute.
The Mustangs - Even with their dilemma over missing a band member and having to change their set, they were absolutely fantastic!
Robin Bibi - a great opener on the Friday night, sheer class.
The wristbands are a great idea, such good value for money and people seemed to be proud to be wearing them.
BS said:
We love the Swanage Blues Festival, fantastic musicians, venues, atmosphere. For me I love to see Back Porch, so full of fun, energy and damn good music!!!! Music brings people together, the young, middle aged and older all dancing to one band. May the Blues festival continue for many years. Many thanks to Steve Darrington, and so looking forward to March!!!!
VG said:
Unforgettable Sunday lunch time listening to Tommy Allen and Johnny Hewitt at Tawny's ...CD on order - can't wait to hear them again, just so amazing. Ended our week end at The Grand Hotel festival finale listening to Steve Darrington...amaaazing once again. Many, many thanks for all the hard work and effort put into organising this fantastic event. Met such lovely people too...we'll be back!!
NH said:
Amazing weekend, brilliant bands, I specially liked Motel 6 and the Jay Tamkin Band, Bob Pearce was amazing, quite honestly embarrassed that it was only £10... would have paid at least twice that and I am skint! Regrettably missed the Grand Finale but the next one I am staying for the duration! Thanks Steve, stunning job you have done, an entire town, smiling and partying xx
EM said:
Great festival - I especially liked Motel 6, The Blues Machine and the dependably brilliant Riotous Brothers, but only (?) saw 13 bands over the weekend, so many more to catch up on next time! All the best, hope to see you again in March!
NP said:
The music was awesome, but what I liked best was meeting so many great people. I had an amazing time and can’t wait for March to come around!!
One aspect that I really enjoyed was chatting to all the other musicians, there was a great sense of camaraderie. I talked to the guys from Back Porch as we swapped places at Bar One, watched the gig and danced through both sets, swapping my $3 Buck Shirt with Johnny their guitarist. (Just like a couple of crazy teens at their first festival) Both bands then went up to The Grand to enjoy the show and talk about doing some gigs together, and playing in each others locals!! Off to the Anchor for one last drink and then home! just one of many tales of friendship over the whole weekend!!
RS said:
Swanage, Swanage, Swanage, that's what we should all be shouting. The selection of bands, jam sessions and open mic was a great mixture for ALL music fans. I started slow on Friday, loved Paint It Blue, Hyper drive on Saturday watching 11 bands. Great performances from Jason Manners & 3 Buck Shirt, Robin Bibi, Johnny & Martin's Open Mic, Stan’s blues jamboree, & Blues Machine… I need to stop before I get too carried away, but just to say well done Steve for your stellar efforts and I hope that all of us who love this event supported by buying the wristbands
EG said:
Just to say I and a group of friends (from Bedfordshire) have been coming for several years now and how much we enjoy the Festival. Only problem is too much music, so many bands, so many venues and the impossibility of being at so many places at the same time. Decide who you want to see, pass a pub n think that sounds good, or can't tear yourself away from one particular band, and the whole plan goes out of the window so you miss several of the gigs   Perhaps the Festival should be 5 days instead of a weekend?
Wonder if it is worth having wristbands of different colours sold on different days so that those who feel very enthusiastic can buy one of each colour, as when alls said and done if like us you manage to listen to 8 hours of music (give or take a bit) each day £10 is not very much to pay for the whole weekend's entertainment! I asked about having collection boxes for those people who can just turn up to one gig or so but would like to put in some money but was told the security of the collection box in a busy pub is a concern, but surely there must be some way that people who would still like to contribute (even if they have bought a wristband) can just donate a few extra pounds?
Hannah Robinson from Paint It Blue said:
Firstly, a BIG thank you to everyone who was at Swanage Blues Festival last weekend - what an amazing time! All three gigs were brilliant fun and we were thrilled by such a positive response. Of course, huge thanks to Steve Darrington for organising another brilliant festival and having us there. Thanks to all those who bought wristbands and programmes to support the festival. Steve has announced that there WILL be another festival in March 2013, which is fantastic news! Keep an eye on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/paintitblueuk for photos from the weekend.
MP said:
Thank you for another fantastic weekend! Loved it. And you got the weather sorted out as well!!! Still didn't get to see all I wanted to. Will just have to keep coming ... Hope the wristband idea will make it more viable. The bands were pushing them too, which was good. Thanks again.
PN said:
Many thanks for all your hard work, and in particular for the risks you take in putting together two great weekends every year. We discovered Swanage Blues in 2010 and have been back with friends several times since then.
I hope that the strategy of using wrist-bands brought in the money needed. Unfortunately not all the venues or bands promoted them and I was still expecting a (smaller) number of collectors. I discovered the sale of wrist bands whilst perusing the site and then made sure that all our friends knew of them. And all did buy them. However I would suggest some kind of statement at the head of each page in the website. I think I must have googled and went straight past the home-page so the wrist bands weren’t obvious. I’ve subscribed to the newsletter and should the Friends of Swanage Blues get reactivated I’d love to join.
Once again many thanks
DM said:
Just wanted to say thank you for putting on such a great show again. From the Red Lion on Friday afternoon to East Bar late yesterday, fantastic. Didn't manage the late shift in the Anchor last night - knackered !
Robin Bibi was obviously his usual brilliant self and clearly loves to play here. The Blues Machine seem to have got better, and the Riotous Brothers were great again. Blue Touch in the Crows Nest, Paint it Blue at the Grand.....the list goes on.
I missed the Sunday morning chill-out in K's though !
Hope the wrist bands were a success - I saw plenty in evidence and many being sold in the venues. With a bit of luck they'll have raised more than the buckets, although I did miss doing that !
Most important for me and many others is that you got the support you deserve to keep these festivals going ! You should feel mighty proud of what you've created !
Ed and the Jawbreakers wrote:
Thank you so much for organising such a fantastic weekend. we had a brilliant time. i can't thank Elmo and the staff at the Legion, the management and staff at the Grand and the management and staff at the Ship enough for looking after us so wonderfully. the Audiences were as great as ever, and from what i could see everybody was wearing a wrist band! The atmosphere in the Ship on Sunday afternoon was amazing! We managed to catch a few other bands who were all great, and Sonny Black was superb on Saturday afternoon. If there is anything we can do to help ensure it happens, please let us know. Thanks again, and hope to see you soon
Blue Touch said:
Just to say thanks again for putting on a great festival. BlueTouch had a blast, as always, and got some great audience feedback too and we made sure that the Crows Nest had sold out of all its wristbands so we hope that the funding change works out. Well done and thanks again
BF said:
Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for another great blues festival, in my view the best yet. Best band of the weekend were Paint it Blue, long may they continue at Swanage. Highlight of the weekend was Stan's Blues Jamboree at the Legion, so much talent in one afternoon, please can we have some more !
The Blues Machine said:
Just got in from Swanage Blues Festival and have to say I think it was the best one yet. The Blues Machine played a couple of 'blinders' at the Ship on Friday and the East Bar where they had 'Harpin On' Dave as a special guest tonight. The reaction from people was pretty amazing if the CD a nd T-shirt sales were anything to go by!! The jams at The White Horse hosted by Robin Bibi were amazing as always and Stan Cockeram's @Blues Jamboree lokks like it will be a permanent fixture going on the fantastic comments I heard about it today and the lovely atmosphere prevailing when we dropped in there last night. I really hope that wrist band sales were good - Steve Darrington puts so much into providing this platform for musicians that it would be a devastating loss to see this wonderful event end due to public apathy - not only for all the great talent out there, but also for all the people who really do support it and for whom this is one of their annual highlights. If we are lucky eough to have another Swanage Blues Festival in March please comer along and support it.
Paint It Blue said:
A HUGE thank you to EVERYONE at Swanage Blues Festival for an amazing weekend! Special thanks to our sound and merch crew & to Calum Bird Music for guesting with us on Saturday night and blowing everyone away! Thank you to everyone who came to see us play, we hope you enjoy the new album. Hopefully we can do it all again in March 2013..! xxx
R said:
Just got home to Gloucestershire after a fantastic weekend in Swanage. Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication. Hope the arm bands worked out well. I’m looking forward to March.
The Riotous Brothers said:
Thanks for inviting us to play again at Swanage - two gigs, both packed, brilliant atmosphere and we're still buzzing!
The White Swan on Friday was packed and very energetic; the monsoon did not dampen the spirits. We got around the set up and timing issues at The Ship by playing one two hour set. There is something about that room on the Saturday afternoon for us - it was totally magical.
The wrist band idea seemed to be popular with the audience members we spoke to, especially by Saturday when we asked people to wave their arms in the air to show us their wrist bands. Certainly it would have been hard for the Bucketeers to have got at everybody in the pub. I think it shows commitment from the audience and they don't have to find small change for the buckets throughout the weekend; so although for the first time it's uncertain, maybe it'll turn out for the best.
I do hope that you raise enough to keep this fabulous event going - it goes without saying that this is a highlight of our year and we'd love to come again in March. So once again thanks to you and for your indefatigable work in putting on the festivals.
Tracie Norman, manager of the White Swan said:
Blues Festival and so far the weekend has been great. Yet again Steve Darrington has pulled it off. Thanks Steve I'm sure I am not alone in saying your hard work organising these weekends is greatly appreciated. It's nice to see the bar packed and everyone having a great time.
C Sharp Blues said:
Many many thanks Steve Darrington, you’re doing more for Swanage than their council does....brilliant atmosphere....lovely music....and YOU put a smile on many many faces....big smiley tick ,well done xxx
DB said:
Well done Steve, A monumental effort. Brilliant 3 days. Thank you :)
Anita Jardine said:
Yay, that's great news Steve, well done, another triumph of music over bureaucracy
ME said:
The Station Buskers salute you and will buy you a pint!
Sea Breeze said:
Fantastic blues festival thoroughly enjoyed by all, lots of dancing and singing LOVED ALL THE ARTISTS especially tommy allan & johnny hewitt! huge thank you steve another Successful blues festival!
NH said:
Hi Steve. If the Anchor at 3pm on Sunday was anything to go by, I think you will have had a great festival. I have never seen so many folk in a place that size and I think fun was had by all! Thanks for the hard work and you have to keep it going!!!!
GC said:
Thank you so much for all your hard work. We had a wonderful time and desperately hope you sold enough programmes and wristbands to keep going next year. We really enjoyed The Elevators and Tommy Allen & Johnny Hewitt but our highlight was Paint It Blue. Considering three of their number are so young, they have so much soul. Just blew us away !
J&G said:
Thanks for a fabulous festival again. The weather was good to us and we had a wonderful time. We enjoyed the Legion the whole afternoon with Stan's Jamboree. That worked really well and hope he can do it again. A major highlight for us was Bob Pearce's Band. Could have listened to him & Chris all night. The finale was great & pleased that you were more in profile this time. You certainly deserve it for all the hard work you do to make it happen. Hope enough wristbands etc were sold. Thank you again.
DP said:
Thanks, Steve, for a wonderful weekend at Swanage. We heard a few bands we'd not heard before, especially the Riotous Brothers and the fantastic singer Gaynor, who amazed everyone. I hope all is well with the financing side, it is such a wonderful event and it would be awful to think of if ending.
 2.00pm    Red Lion Open Mic with Martin Froud & Johnny Sharp
 5.00pm    Bar One Robin Bibi Band
 6.00pm    Tawny’s  Pete Harris & Hugh Budden
 6.00pm    Sea Breeze Sonny Black
 8.15pm    Tawny’s  Pete Harris & Hugh Budden
 8.15pm    Sea Breeze Sonny Black
 8.30pm    East Bar The Decades
 8.30pm    Grand Hotel Paint It Blue
 8.45pm    Black Swan Will Killeen
 9.00pm    Bar One Blind Lemon Gliders
 9.00pm    White Swan Riotous Brothers
 9.00pm    Red Lion Tommy Allen & Johnny Hewitt
 9.00pm    The Legion The Jawbreakers
 9.00pm    Crow’s Nest Back Porch
 9.30pm    Ship, Swanage The Blues Machine
 9.45pm    White Horse The Mustangs
 9.45pm    Anchor Inn Riverside Blues Band
11.00am    Railway Station Assorted Buskers
12.30pm    Bar One Tommy Allen & Johnny Hewitt
 1.00pm    The Legion STAN’S BLUES JAMBOREE till 7pm
 2.00pm    East Bar Fabulous Fezheads
 2.00pm    White Horse Jam Session with Robin Bibi Band
 2.00pm    Red Lion Open Mic with Martin Froud & Johnny Sharp
 3.00pm    Bar One Jason Manners & 3 Buck Shirt
 3.00pm    White Swan Back Porch
 3.00pm    Grand Hotel Sonny Black
 3.30pm    Ship, Swanage Riotous Brothers
 6.00pm    Bar One Bare Bones Boogie Band
 6.00pm    Tawny’s  Pete Harris & Hugh Budden
 6.00pm    Sea Breeze Tommy Allen & Johnny Hewitt
 8.15pm    Sea Breeze Tommy Allen & Johnny Hewitt
 8.15pm    Tawny’s  Pete Harris & Hugh Budden
 8.30pm    Grand Hotel The Jawbreakers
 8.30pm    East Bar Jay Tamkin Band
 8.45pm    Black Swan Will Killeen
 9.00pm    White Swan Paint It Blue
 9.00pm    Red Lion Fabulous Fezheads
 9.00pm    Crow’s Nest Blue Touch
 9.00pm    The Legion The Elevators
 9.45pm    Anchor C Sharp Blues
 9.45pm    White Horse Robin Bibi Band
10.00pm    Ship, Swanage Motel 6
11.00am    Railway Station Assorted Buskers
12.00pm    Bar One Paint It Blue
12.30pm    Sea Breeze Pete Harris, Hugh Budden & Steve Faithful
12.30pm    Tawnys  Tommy Allen & Johnny Hewitt
 1.00pm    Red Lion Open Mic with Martin Froud & Johnny Sharp
 1.30pm    Black Swan Will Killeen
 3.00pm    Bar One Jason Manners & 3 Buck Shirt
 3.00pm    White Horse Jam Session with Robin Bibi Band
 3.00pm    White Swan Blue Touch
 3.00pm    Anchor David Raphael Band
 3.00pm    Grand Hotel Bob Pearce Gospel and Blues Band
 4.00pm    Ship, Swanage The Jawbreakers
 6.00pm    Bar One Back Porch
 6.30pm    East Bar The Blues Machine 
 8.30pm    Grand Hotel FESTIVAL FINALE Steve Darrington, Hugh Budden and Chris Collins & Blues Etc 
10.00pm    Anchor The Tin Cats




Starting from the pier end of the High Street, the first venue is the East Bar (1 High St) and Bar One next door (also 1 High St), then the White Horse (11), Ship Inn (23a), White Swan (31), Anchor Inn (30), Tawny’s Wine Bar (52), Red Lion (63), Black Swan (159) and a little further on The Legion (150). That concludes the High Street. The lower high street is connected to Station Road by Institute Road opposite the White Swan.

Funworld Café is in the centre of Swanage where Station Road, Shore Road and Institute Road all meet by the Mowlem Theatre (not a venue)..
From Funworld Café go along Shore Road with the bay on your right and Sea Breeze (7 Shore Rd) is on your left; keep on all the way along the bay and at Ocean Bay restaurant (not a venue) bear left up the hill to the Crow’s Nest (11 Ulwell Rd). From the Crow’s Nest, cross over into Burlington Rd for the Grand Hotel.