Dereham ready to hear the blues as Dr Feelgood open festival

Sweeney Entertainments. Pictured: Dr. Feelgood. Picture: James Cumpsty

Sweeney Entertainments. Pictured: Dr. Feelgood. Picture: James Cumpsty - Credit: James Cumpsty

The fourth Dereham Blues Festival will launch this evening to the sounds of true blues masters.

poster for the opening concert of the Dereham Blues Festival

poster for the opening concert of the Dereham Blues Festival - Credit: supplied

Dr Feelgood will headline this year's event with a sold-out gig at the town's Memorial Hall, leading into four days of almost non-stop music around the town in 16 different venues.

The band's booking was a real coup for festival organisers and shows the reputation the event now has both nationally and inter- nationally.

The R&B band's biggest hit – Milk and Alcohol –reached number nine in the charts in 1979 and although th personnel has changed over the years the band still retains the same appeal.

They will be supported by rising star of the music scene, triple UK National Blues Awards nominee, Rebecca Downes and her band.

While the opening gig is a ticket-only event all other venues will be offering live music for free throughout the weekend.

This year 47 acts and some dozen street buskers are going to bring the centre of Dereham alive with blues music and ensure nobody has to miss a single beat.

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The event also gives a huge boost to the town's other businesses attracting music-lovers from across the UK who will want to explore the town's shops and facilities.

The Wolf Brewery from Attleborough is among the businesses supporting the festival and has brewed an ale specially for the event. Ten pence from every pint sold of Howling Wolf will be going to festival funds.

All accommodation in the area is full and there is a large increase from last year in the amount of people camping and caravanning.

A new committee of volunteers has helped festival founders Doreen and Stewart Aitken with the organisation of this year's event, a need perpetuated by its growing success. It attracts more than 2,000 music fans from across the country and is becoming one of the go-to events on the blues calendar.

'There is a great mix of bands, some from East Anglia and some national and international performers,' said festival director John Vasco.

'It really is an amazing celebration of blues music.'

The festival tent will be in Dereham market place tomorrow and Saturday with festival programmes, including details of any last-minute changes, badges and wristbands plus merchandise from some of the performing acts. Sales will help provide funds to ensure the festival's future.

To find out who is performing where and when, go to the website www.derehambluesfestival.org.uk

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