Dereham Blues Festival cancelled for second year running

The Mojo Preachers performing at the Dereham Blues Festival. Picture: Ian Burt

The Mojo Preachers performing at 2016's Dereham Blues Festival. - Credit: Ian Burt

A Norfolk town’s music festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Dereham Blues Festival’s organising committee said in a statement: “The uncertainty last year was recognised but it was hoped the situation would be clearer as the year progressed.

"We now know this is not the case. Indeed, if anything, the position at the beginning of 2021 is less clear.

“To put the festival on, many of the arrangements and decisions must be made early in the year - for example to sign up the venues, agree arrangements with sponsors, arrange the line-up of the bands, work with the Friends of The Dereham Memorial Hall to set-up the opening headline concert and organise the publicity.”

Though it had been a very hard decision made with “extreme regret”, the committee said it could not fully operate the festival “while maintaining the safety of all those involved, especially audience members.”

The Dereham Blues Festival is this weekend. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Blues Festival performers in 2014 - Credit: IAN BURT

The festival, which ran continuously from 2013 to 2019, was set up by members of the Norfolk Blues Society, and has grown over the years to garner national attention from blues fans and artists.

The committee said that given its growing reputation, it did not “want to do anything to dilute the festival’s brand" and added that it would rather wait until 2022.

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Dereham mayor Stuart Green said: "It's a shame that the successful and popular Blues Festival is cancelled again.

"I can totally understand their reasons why as there is still lots of uncertainty regarding Covid and when we can return to 'normal'.

"I'm glad that they are looking forward to 2022 and we haven't lost a successful festival forever."

The festival’s not-for-profit finances remain sound, and the committee said it was grateful for the support of its fans, who continue to nominate the event for grants from the Breckland Lottery Fund. 

Scenes from the 2014 Dereham Blues Festival - Dove and Boweevil play at the Bull. Picture: Matthew U

Scenes from the 2014 Dereham Blues Festival - Dove and Boweevil play at the Bull.  - Credit: Matthew Usher

Bands will be contacted again in September to sign up for the 2022 festival.

The committee said: “We are always on the lookout for new talent. So if new artists and bands want to apply to play next year, of course this is encouraged via the ‘Wanna Play’ page on the Dereham Blues Festival website at from September onwards."

Those wishing to nominate the festival for support from the Breckland Lottery Fund can contact the fund: