Dereham Blues Festival to have first ever open-air busking event

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

A scene from the Dereham Blues Festival back in 2014 - Credit: Matthew Usher

An open-air busking event will be held for the first time as part of this year's much-anticipated Dereham Blues Festival.  

Following a two-year absence, the musical extravaganza will return to the mid-Norfolk town from July 6 to 10.

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

A scene from Dereham Blues Festival back in 2016 - Credit: Archant

Organisers have said this year's edition, with even more venues and dozens of top blues acts, will be "bigger and better than ever".

And now, an exciting new event sponsored by Nofolk Blues Society (NBS) has been announced for day three of the festival. 

The NBS ‘Blues Busk’ will feature an array of seasoned buskers, as well as up and coming local blues talent.

Eight solo artists, duos and bands will entertain revellers at the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham town centre throughout the Saturday afternoon. 

The society is keen to see young people getting involved in the Blues Busk given its role in encourage young musicians to engage with blues music.

The Ellenor Fenn Garden opened in Dereham in September 2021

The Ellenor Fenn Garden opened in Dereham in September 2021 - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

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Doreen Aitken, secretary of the NBS, said: "Blues is at the core of most modern music and provides a bedrock for understanding the basics.

"The Blues Busk will be a fabulous chance to hear these new young acts, who will ensure this region - and Dereham in particular - continues to be at the heart of live blues music both traditional and innovative."

The Blues Busk will kick off at 1pm with Dereham’s very own Rockavox choir, who are past favourites of the festival and have appeared at many opening concerts the Memorial Hall.

Each of the other busking acts will then play an unplugged set of between 20 and 30 minutes. 

Jamie Roe Band performing at Strikes in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

A scene from Dereham Blues Festival 2015 - Credit: Archant

Terry Bunting, a music tutor at Reepham College who mentors one of the young busking bands, added: "This is such an important opportunity for these young musicians.

"Young bands so rarely get such a professionally-run chance to perform in public."

The Blues Busk is being facilitated by Percy Paradise, who has organised the busking events at the famous Swanage Blues Festival.

Although NBS is sponsoring the event, performing acts will be rewarded in true busking style by the town centre throwing money into a bucket. 

Ten per cent of funds raised will be donated for the upkeep of the Ellenor Fenn Garden, a community pocket park which opened in September. 

Scenes from the 2014 Dereham Blues Festival - The Blue Crew play at the Railway Tavern. Picture: Mat

The Blue Crew playing at Dereham Blues Festival 2014 - Credit: Matthew Usher