The future of the Blues – Hebden Bridge Blues Festival – May 2011

Over the bank holiday weekend of the 27th to 30th of May 2011, Hebden Bridge will be hosting its first Blues Festival. Up to 50 bands from across Britain, Europe and the USA will be playing in a variety of venues, including the Trades Club, Hebden Bridge Picture House and Calder Homes Park.

As the festival will concentrate on artists performing new material and taking the Blues into the next decade, rather than those who have been on the road playing the same sets for many years, there has been a lot of interest nationally and several thousand visitors are expected to flock to the town over the weekend.

One of the organisers, Jason Elliott, said “It’s great to have the opportunity to bring so many high-calibre musicians into Hebden Bridge. We’ve had bands from all over the world, particularly the USA, contacting us in the hope of getting a slot, so the quality of the acts is extremely high. Another great benefit of an event like this is the amount of revenue generated for the local economy. This many people coming to the town for a long weekend will certainly give a welcome boost to some of our local business in these tough times.”

Some of the most popular events are likely to be the appearance of American blues star Lance Lopez on his first visit to Britain, who has played with BB King, Jeff Beck and Steve Vai, among many others. The up and coming 24 Pesos will be among several bands performing in the marquee in the park over the weekend. Paddy Milner and Marcus Bonfanti will be performing together at the Trades Club, and Jon Amor will be headlining the closing party. A special ‘Women of Blues’ night is taking place at the atmospheric 1920’s Picture House, headlined by Chantel McGregor.

The hub of the Hebden Bridge Blues Festival will be the legendary music venue the Trades Club which, together with hosting the opening and closing night gigs, will be running a special ‘midnight jamming’ hour where some of the artists who have been playing at other venues during the day will get the chance to play together and create a bit of blues history.

The festival’s reach will also spread across the town, with several of the local pubs and bars putting on bands.

More information can be found on the festival’s website