Dereham all set for big blues festival
- Credit: Archant
Dereham will come alive with the sound of music as the town stages the biggest blues festival in East Anglia this summer.
Hundreds of people are expected to be attracted from across the region and give the local economy a big boost during the three-day event.
It is being held from Friday, July 12 until Sunday, July 14 and on the Saturday 16 bands will play at nine venues around the town.
The aim is for enthusiasts and local people to follow a route around the town and enjoy the free gigs.
Blues music is enjoying a revival in Norfolk and is appealing to all ages.
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The festival coincides with the first anniversary of the Norfolk Blues Society, which has been holding jam sessions at venues including Tracks at North Elmham.
Two of those at the forefront of organising the festival are Doreen and Stewart Aitken from Gressenhall, who are respectively the treasurer and secretary of the Norfolk Blues Society. Stewart plays bass guitar in the house band The Shunters Blues Band and in the festival will be playing with Against The Grain.
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Doreen said: 'It will be a unique concentration of live blues music which has never before taken place in Norfolk. We are hoping for about 500 extra people to come into the town.'
Stewart said: 'Our blues jams attract the very best of seasoned Norfolk musicians and a growing number of very talented young performers keen to play together.
'Our audiences have a broad mix of ages and backgrounds. We believe the festival will be of great interest to a significant number and wide range of people of Norfolk, not least those who live in or near Dereham.'
John Vasco, from Taverham, is a guitarist with the Cruiser Blues Band. He first suggested holding a festival to mark the anniversary of the society and the momentum grew.
He said: 'The thing about blues is the age range. Teens jam with the really experienced people and it is great to see the joy on their faces.'
Doreen said she was delighted with the response from Dereham venues.
'We walked around the pubs and they were blown away and it was a breath of fresh air.'
Stewart said: 'We want the whole town to benefit.'
Pubs and hotels which will be hosting gigs are: The King's Head, The Plough, The Bull, The Royal Standard, The Cherry Tree, The Gemini, The Railway Tavern, The George and Red Lion.
The acts taking part will be Ron Sayer Jnr, Dave Thomas, Dove and Boweevil, Stone Pony, Paul Tinkler's Part Time Blues Band, Against the Grain, Bianca and the Top Cats, Creole Brothers, Mojo Preachers, Cruiser Blues Band, Outathablues, Space Eagle, After Hours Blues Band, A13 Allstars, Daniels and Morrison and Devlin Blue.
For full information see websites: www.derehambluesfestival.org.uk and www.norfolkbluessociety.org.uk