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OUR FESTIVAL DIRECTOR
Steve Darrington was the house pianist and harp player at the legendary Blues Loft, Nag’s Head, High Wycombe in the 1960s/70s. After 35 years as a touring musician and with 50 albums recorded, he retired to Swanage in 2000. He created the first Swanage Blues Festival in March 2001 and has continued to mastermind them ever since, although in recent years ill health has kept him from playing in public.
If he ever has time to write his memoirs, you will read about his times with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Arthur Crudup, Billy Boy Arnold, Lightnin’ Slim & Whispering Smith, The Mighty Flea, Mickey Baker, Jo-Ann Kelly, Duster Bennett, Mark Knopfler, Brewer’s Droop, Dave Edmunds, Chris Jagger, Marty Wilde, Lonnie Donegan, the Roxon Roadshow, Don Everly, Albert Lee, Roy Orbison, ABBA, The Boogie Band and many more.
In 2001 a birthday party for local blues fan George Crane was planned. Newly-arrived resident Steve Darrington was asked to help organise a couple of bands in a nightclub, the idea caught on and some other pubs asked to join in. It was such a success that another one was planned for the next year, by which time it had become the 2nd Swanage Blues Festival. These March festivals became an annual event and October festivals were added in 2007. Then in 2012 the festival formed its own independent not-for-profit limited company to protect festival funds, and support wristbands were introduced. They provide visual proof of your donation and enable festival fans to recognise each other throughout the town. You can buy one a day or only one for the weekend, it's up to you.
There’s live music, drinking, eating, dancing, fun and laughter across the town and beyond, starting with a preview on Thursday evening and going on till late Sunday. Fans love the friendly atmosphere, the wide range of music and the choice of venues. Musicians love the great audiences and being up close and personal, while aspiring performers can get their fill at the open mic and jam sessions. The local economy gets a boost on two weekends a year out of season.
From humble beginnings Swanage Blues Festival is nowadays regularly voted among the top five blues festivals in the UK.
Donations are made to Blues Roots, the not-for-profit company limited by guarantee to protect Swanage Blues funds
Enter the amount in units of 1 penny from the right - for example, if you wish to donate £20.00, enter 2000 and 20.00 will be displayed. Thank you.
Any donation no matter how large or small is always greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Swanage Blues is a trading name of Blues Roots
Blues Roots is a company limited by guarantee registered in England 7270783.
Registered Office: Herston Cross House, 230 High Street, Swanage, Dorset BH19 2PQ