Swanage Blues

Want to Play?




There are currently no openings for paid shows (see NOTES) but there are Other Opportunities to take part, see below. When the process of selection is open again, notification will be given on the website and in the monthly newsletter. Decisions are made in conjunction with promoters, venues, key assistants and organisers of other festivals - no correspondence can be entered into.


Why are there no openings for paid shows?

Swanage Blues Festival started in 2001 as a birthday party and in 2007 developed into a ‘Pub Trail’ held twice a year in March and October to attract people into town when it would otherwise be very quiet. Admission is Free and some festival-goers voluntarily purchase a low price support wristband to help with costs towards the not-for-profit organisation that runs the event. The ‘Venues’ are nearly all small pubs and restaurants, a hotel bar, a British Legion club, two rooms in holiday parks and a golf club.

Unlike most festivals, where the organiser hires a site or a number of venues, here the venues are 'hosts' of the event. Almost all specifically request the same acts back again because they work well together, their customers want them, the musicians have become ‘part of the family’ and the venues know it will be another success financially. They don’t want to risk all that by getting rid of their regular bands to take a chance on someone else. Sometimes a venue may require a substitute band because the regular band isn't available or (on rare occasions) didn't reach the venue’s expectations last time. Even then, each venue has specific needs and knows exactly the type of act they want, and if the venue hasn’t a specific substitute in mind, there are dozens of bands on file from which to choose. There are many acts on the ‘reserve’ list that have played here previously or done particularly well at Stan's Blues Jamboree or at open mic or jam sessions.

But does the system work? Well, some accommodation is booked up three years in advance - and according to our latest statistics, 50% of online purchasers of wristbands are repeat customers, so they must be happy to come back. The other 50% are new to Swanage Blues Festivals, which indicates sustainability. 



Here are the regular sessions and additional ones are under consideration for the blues festivals in 2019.


On Saturday afternoon (1pm – 7pm at The Royal British Legion – 150 High Street) musicians can take part in Stan’s Blues Jam. All backline provided. Please arrive early to be sure of a slot – see Stan or Helen to get your name on The List.

There are also a limited number of ½ hour long Showcase Slots for Bands during this event. These Showcase Slots for Bands are exactly that: an opportunity for your band to appear before a discerning audience and there is no guarantee of being booked back at the festival for a fee. If you are interested in a Showcase Slot for Bands please contact Stan by email:- steamerblues@sky.com 

For more info see www.stansbluesjam.co.uk/jamboree.htm


Jam Sessions will  be hosted by the Robin Bibi Band at Swanage Bay View Holiday Park on Saturday afternoon and The Legion on Sunday afternoon. Check in with Robin at the Jam Sessions, drummers bring own sticks. 


The Open Mic Sessions are held at the Red Lion on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Slots are not booked in advance, so turn up early! Preferably Friday but 1.30pm on Saturday's OK, and book in with the host. 


More ad hoc for players of all levels, Saturday afternoon at The Waterfront, Sunday afternoo at Salt Pig Too (October 2019).


Rumoured to be descending on Harry Ramsden's at various times over the weekend (October 2019).


Please see the council's advice at http://www.dorsetforyou.com/399174. If unavailable, go to Dorset For You and enter Busking in the Search Engine.