Dereham Blues Festival team targets more big names after Paul Jones gig sells out

Paul Jones plays the harmonica at the Manfreds gig at the Fisher Theatre at Bungay in 2007. Photo: Denise Bradley Paul Jones plays the harmonica at the Manfreds gig at the Fisher Theatre at Bungay in 2007. Photo: Denise Bradley

Thursday, June 12, 2014
8:40 AM

Tickets have sold out for the Dereham Blues Festival’s big-name headline act – and event organisers said preparations are already under way to attract another celebrated performer to top the bill next year.

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Dave Thomas Blues BandDave Thomas Blues Band

Manfred Mann frontman and BBC radio presenter Paul Jones will play at Dereham Memorial Hall on the opening night of the festival, on Friday, July 11.

The concert will launch a weekend blues extravaganza featuring bands and musicians from all over Norfolk playing at pubs, bars and other venues throughout the town.

But after the coup of securing a nationally-renowned musician to headline this year’s festival, organisers are planning a fund-raising event to help pay the fees of another big name next year, while keeping ticket prices affordable for the audience.

The idea is to host a “Superjam” in autumn, bringing the stars of Norfolk Blues Society jam sessions together onto the Memorial Hall stage for a unique, spontaneous performance.

Doreen Aitken, treasurer of the Norfolk Blues Society (NBS), said a date of October 23 had been pencilled in for the show, and some of the players approached so far include Ron Sayer, Dave Thomas and Paul Tinkler.

“The Superjam will involve all the hosts who front our jam sessions, and it is an opportunity to see some of the best musicians in Norfolk all on one stage at the same time,” she said.

“They won’t have played together in that set-up before, so they will really be on their mettle, and we are going to see some special moments.

“All of the profit from that will go towards the fee of next year’s headline act, so we can get another celebrity of national standing.

“We have sold out the Paul Jones concert, which shows that the appetite and demand is there for that quality of entertainment. But we won’t be able to get someone of that status next year without some extra funding.”

The Dereham Blues Festival organisers have also renewed their call for singers to perform as part of the Community Blues Choir, which will be trained to perform three songs in public during the festival weekend.

The first workshop with singer Lauren Dove will take place on July 5 from midday-4pm.

It is hoped that the choir will comprise 20-30 people and organisers will soon be approaching Neatherd, Northgate and Litcham Schools to recruit volunteer singers. Registration for the workshop can be booked via the festival website.

The full schedule of events for the Dereham Blues Festival is online at www.derehambluesfestival.org.

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