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This page relates to the March 2023 Swanage Blues Festival
Fri 2pm The Legion, Fri 9pm Herston C&C, Sat 5.30pm ConClub
With their foot-stomping, danceable rhythms and a lot of fun, Back Porch will make you laugh, cry and tap your feet! It’s a stripped-down line-up of harp, washboard and guitars – just some mates sitting on a back porch, playing the blues.
BEN WHITE & THOMAS LUCAS
Sat 3.30pm The Centre, Sun 2pm The Greyhound
Young performers whose enthusiasm, ability, wit and charm were very well received last festival. Enjoy good original material, paying homage to classic Chicago blues.
Fri 8.30pm The Legion, Sat 8.30pm The Showbar
Blue Touch delivers heavy duty blues rock with a blend of original and re-worked classic blues songs in an entertaining stage show with Andrea Maria on vocals.
Sat 2pm Herston C&C
Blues and blues rock. “Blistering blues-laced soul... stunning" - Blues in Britain/ "Helen Turner's voice remains in a different class” – Classic Rock.
CHICAGO 9 RHYTHM & BLUES BAND
Fri 5.30pm ConClub, Sat 9pm White Swan
Formed in 2002 from friendship and musical respect and led from the front by skilled guitar and saxophone interplay, driven by a solid backbeat and enhanced by keyboards and Angela’s superb vocals.
FRAN McGILLIVRAY & MIKE BURKE
Sun 4.30pm The Centre
Exciting and compelling performers who have developed a unique take on blues and roots music, and an amazing empathy on stage and on record.
GARY FLETCHER TRIO
Sat 4.30pm The Centre
From The Blues Band, Gary Fletcher, guitar, slide and banjo, together with Alan Glen, harmonica and Nick Ritchie, guitar, play their take on blues/roots.
GEOFF GARBOW BAND
Sat 3pm White Swan
Rock/Blues band, great fun!
Thu 4pm Globe
Open Mic Blues Jam. Great fun and all blues standards very welcome.
GEORGE HALL TRIO
Fri 9pm White Swan
“George Hall gives some of the greatest guitarists alive a run for their money and can simultaneously switch from swaggering rock to blistering blues” – BeCider Seaside
Sun 1pm The Centre
HUGH BUDDEN AND THE BLUE CHORDS
Sun 1pm Con Club, Sun 8.30pm Grand Hotel
Hugh will also be MC, Host, Guest Artist and Sound, Lighting & Stage Manager at the Grand Hotel all weekend. He is the hardest working harmonica and vocals man I know, no doubt due to his style, showmanship and sheer professionalism! Make sure you catch him at least once!
ISOBEL THATCHER DUO
Sat 9pm Red Lion
Isobel has been appearing at our open mics and jam sessions for 10 years and we are pleased to see her in her own named slot with her brother Domonic on saxophone. Sonja Christina of Curved Air said: “A confident performer with a sparkling voice and well-crafted songs. It was a pleasure to hear and to have a good reason to return to the Troubadour after 20 years. Congratulations.”
JOFF WATKINS DUO
Sun 2.15pm The Centre
Joff Watkins on harmonica and vox and CJ Williams on guitar make a sound inspired by North Mississippi, New Orleans and South London. Joff is one of the best harmonica players on the scene and CJ is a uniquely talented guitarist. Both are members of Jimmy Regal and the Royals, one of the most exciting blues acts at the moment who have been playing festivals and venues up and down the UK. www.facebook.com/joff.watkins
Sun 12.00 The Centre
Jonathan’s performance of acoustic blues styles last festival rightly drew rapturous applause from the discerning audience. Expect early blues to Rory Gallagher and his own compositions.
JON STOREY BAND
Fri 8pm and Sat 8pm Globe
Based in Portugal and Spain, so it’s a great pleasure and all credit to the Globe Inn for attracting them to Swanage! Quality, strong and hard rock-blues with contributions from other genres.
Sat 1pm The Centre
aka The Infamous Rooster Fish! “Most original country blues I’ve heard in years” – Kent Duchaine. “Highly original blues delivered with passion and aplomb” – Banbury Blues Club. “Great voice, great songs” – Richard Harris, Folk & Blues Show
LEWIS COHEN AND SPENCER COUZENS
Sat 2pm Greyhound solo, Sat 7pm Tawny’s with Spencer
As a solo performer Lewis built a strong reputation thanks to his powerful and versatile vocals and mastery of roots guitar styles to enthral, excite and above all, entertain. Spencer is a without doubt a marvellous, talented and versatile country/blues guitarist.
LIAM WARD AND MALCOLM THORNE
Sat 2pm The Centre
Liam Ward and Malcolm Thorne combine the authentic blues sound with rich lyrical originals to serve up a modern take on the classic harp-guitar duo. Together these young men will take you on a compelling and memorable musical journey.
MARK HARRISON & CHARLES BENFIELD
Sun 3.30pm The Centre
Each song is a snapshot of life or has a story to tell, like a 3-minute film or novel. Mark Harrison, one of the most original and interesting singer-guitarists around, brings his unique music back to Swanage Blues Festival, this time with singer and double bassist Charles Benfield.
OPEN MIC SESSIONS WITH ANDY BRADSHAW
Fri 2-5pm, Sat 2-5pm, Sun 1-4pm all at the Red Lion
Andy writes: Are you ready to be part of making music at the Swanage Blues Festival? You are? Fabulous! Some of my happiest memories of Swanage Blues have been at the Open Mic sessions. The audiences, the variety of acts and the sheer amount of talent every year, make it an exciting part of the festival experience. There are new surprises, acts which leave you speechless and many laughs and cheers along the way.
I will be there at least an hour before the start time with the sign-in book, previous years’ experience tells me the slots fill up quickly so bear that in mind!
I will be providing a cajon for accompaniment if you need a back beat. Out of a courtesy to our neighbours this will be un-mic'd.
If it's your first time playing at an Open Mic, that's great, we welcome everyone. To help you get the most out of the experience, here are a few pointers to smooth you through the experience.
- Make sure you are tuned up and ready to go in time for your slot. Time is limited and the audience want to hear you play!
- If you are using any battery powered equipment, make sure your batteries are fresh - you don't want an electro acoustic giving up on you half way through your set!
- If you have any special requirements, let the host know beforehand so they can be ready to say, mic up a purely acoustic guitar, or you want to use a different mic set up.
- As a courtesy to other performers, please try and work within your time slot.
- Once you have finished to rapturous applause, please leave the performance area to allow the next act to get ready to play.
Other than that, enjoy what promises to be a great Festival!
Thanks as ever to Steve Darrington and all the venues for making this all possible!
PETE HARRIS AND…
Fri 7pm Tawny’s with Ray Drury, Sat 4.30pm The Legion with Pete Harris Blues Band, Sun 8.30pm Red Lion with Jon Vaughan
Top bluesman, great voice, great guitar, great band leader! Pete & Ray play Blues, Soul and Rock'n'Roll. Pete & Jon play Ragtime with a hint of Gospel and Americana. The Pete Harris Blues Band plays Chicago-style Blues with both Ray and Jon plus Henk Leerink on bass and Brian Wright on drums.
RAY DRURY AND JON WALSH
Thu 9pm Red Lion
Ray is a fine keyboards man with an amazing range of styles and moods whatever he touches. Soul, blues, jazz, funk… you name it! Highly recommended.
Jon is a fine blues/jazz singer/songwriter/guitarist and guitar tutor.
Fri 3pm White Swan – an informal but 'up-tempo, goodtime, foot tappin’ acoustic Blues session with Bob, Geoff Garbow and the Great West Groove to kick off the weekend!
Sat 2.30pm and 8.30pm Grand Hotel – The Grand Blues Bonanza!
Robert Hokum, Tim Staffell, Hugh Budden, Paul Cook and David Stone - all bandleaders in their own right - get together for a mega 'revue style' blues gig backed by The Great West Groove rhythm section of Paul White & Steve King.
Acoustic in the afternoon, Electric in the evening. Blues of all varieties.
ROBIN BIBI BAND (jam sessions see next entry)
Fri 4pm White Swan, Sat 8.30pm Legion
Explosive, passionate, dynamic and entertaining! Stalwart of UK Blues Rock, award winning singer guitarist Robin Bibi is an amazing crowd puller who has played every Swanage Blues Festival since 2007.
ROBIN BIBI BAND JAM SESSIONS
Sat 1.00-3.30pm ConClub, Sun 2pm The Legion
Some of the finest impromptu music of the weekend with one of the best ‘Jam Masters’ I’ve ever seen. Check in with Robin at the Jam Sessions, drummers bring own sticks.
THE FABULOUS DUCK BROTHERS
Fri 8pm Isle of Purbeck Golf Club
The Fabulous Duck Bros are a collection of professional and experienced musicians that wish to pay tribute to their love and appreciation of the solo career of Eric Clapton. Fronted by long term Clapton fan Phil Astles, the band concentrate on the songs produced by Eric throughout his long career including his hits from the 80’s, 90’s and modern era.
"Light and shade throughout every number and the volume just about as perfect as possible" "Close your eyes and it's like Eric and his band are in the room"
THE MILK MEN
Sat 9pm White Horse
The Milk Men is a band made up from the cream of British R’n’B talent and pedigree. With members of the Mustangs and Pirates on board, the band draws its influences from a wide range of classic bands from Dr Feelgood to Fleetwood Mac. Their original music is classic blues rock, but always played with attack, energy, melody and a sense of fun. Their latest album Spin The Bottle, has received rave reviews from the critics and looks set to cement their place at the forefront of the UK Blues Rock music scene.
THE MILLION DOLLAR BASH
Thu 8.30pm The Legion
Based in Dorset, George Hall and Robbie McIntosh (ex-Pretenders and Wings) on guitar, Chris ‘Kipper’ Roberts and Roye Membury on vocals, Chris Lonergan bass, Ady Millward vocals & drums, Thomas Hughes vocals & keyboards, all celebrate the fine music of Bob Dylan and The Band in their own unique style, with some blues favourites thrown in!
Fri 9pm White Horse
With over 20 years together, the Mustangs are one of the most established and best-loved blues rock bands in the UK. They have toured Europe, won awards and even played Glastonbury. The band's jam-packed nights in Swanage have become tradition, with the band playing a huge range of songs from originals, rock, blues and even often improvising covers and requests from the audience. Perfect let your hair down fun.
THOMAS HEPPELL SOLO & BAND
Thomas Heppell is a Berkshire based musician who performs Blues, Jazz and Rock & Roll solo or in his band, alongside his own compositions.
TOMMY ALLEN DUO & BLUES BAND
Fri 9pm Red Lion with Jon Vaughan, Sat 9pm Herston C&C with Ray Drury, Sun 3pm White Swan with Jon Vaughan, Sun 8.30pm with band
Street-style 1950’s Chicago blues from this amazing singer/guitarist and friends, and high energy blues rock from the band.
VINCE LEE & THE BIG COMBO
Fri 8.30pm The Showbar, Sat 1pm The Legion
A variety of blues, R'n'B, swing, jazz, slide and more from this excellent guitarist singer with his band. Come see for yourself!
VINCE LEE & SOPHIE LORD
Sun 2.30pm Grand Hotel
A voice, a guitar and a double bass… some of their YouTube videos have recently each achieved over 500,000 views in just a couple of days! A variety of blues-based material and all excellent.
Sat 12 noon The Centre
Celtic roots, American blues, Dylan classics by a unique singer/guitarist
ZOE SCHWARZ BLUE COMMOTION
Fri 8.30pm Grand Hotel
Vibrant and melodic funky rocking blues featuring Rob Koral-guitar, Pete Whittaker-Hammond-organ, Dave Mayne-drums complimenting the commanding vocal delivery of Zoe Schwarz. The band refresh the blues genre with eclectic arrangements, virtuosic playing and vocal prowess; expect an exciting live set based around rootsy original songs, strong catchy riffs and exciting grooves, they mix old school tradition with contemporary flare and sophistication.
"Powerful singing and a stylish performer, great guitar work, phenomenal Hammond …. a great set” - LIVE at Carlisle Blues & Rock Festival, Blues Matters Dec 2019/Jan 2020