Festival fun as blues stars pack into town

Some of the crowd in the marquee in Calder Holmes Park at the first ever Hebden Bridge Blues Festival. Picture by Craig Shaw at Blu Planet Photography
Some of the crowd in the marquee in Calder Holmes Park at the first ever Hebden Bridge Blues Festival. Picture by Craig Shaw at Blu Planet Photography

HEBDEN Bridge was left feeling the blues after four days of top festival talent.

Several thousand people packed into various venues across the town for the first ever Hebden Bridge Blues Festival, which the organisers said had a “really good vibe to it”.

Headline act and Texas Blues star Lance Lopez rocked the Picture House on Saturday, while crowds were drawn to the venue on Sunday for the ‘Women of the Blues’ night, featuring Chantel McGregor.

Craig Shaw, who helped organise the event, said: “Everyone who attended, whether performing or watching, had a really good time and said what a good environment it was. They found Hebden Bridge to be a friendly and welcoming place.

“Some people said it was one of the best festivals they had ever been to, which is all you can ask for as an organiser. A lot of people stayed locally, which was obviously fantastic for the local economy.”

Mr Shaw said the festival would return next year and organisers hoped to establish it on the Hebden Bridge calendar. He also said punters should expect a change to the line-up, with more top acts but a continued commitment to promoting local talent,

The festival was officially opened by the Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Nader Fekri, who praised the organisers for “bringing the Blues from the Mississippi Delta, via the shores of Lake Michigan, across the Atlantic Ocean to the banks of Hebden Water”.

“It was a really good show. The old hipsters and the younger end looked like they were all enjoying it,” said Coun Fekri.

Also in attendance was Hebden Royd Mayor Coun Scott Trickett, who thanked the organisers for bringing trade to Hebden Royd.

“I had a fantastic time and congratulations to the organisers,” said Coun Trickett

“This should turn into a fantastic event on the Hebden Royd calendar and should bring tourism to the area.”

Other top acts performing included Paddy Maguire, Larry Miller, 24 Pesos, Jon Amor Blues Group, P-A-U-L, Tony Dowler’s Hellhounds, Marcus Bonfanti and Paddy Milner.

Cherry Lee Mewis, who performed at the Trades Club, Picture House and inside the marquee on Calder Holmes Park, said: “The line-up was brilliant and all the main bands on the blues scene at the moment were there.”

Performances were also held in Hope Baptist Church, Marshalls Bar, Bar Place, The Hole In The Wall, Nelsons Wine Bar and other venues.

For more information visit www.hebdenblues.co.uk

Pictures by Craig Shaw of Blu Planet Photography