A three-day bill packed with blues

Matt Taylor, appearing with The Motives on the main stage at Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2014. Picture: Tony Winfield
Matt Taylor, appearing with The Motives on the main stage at Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2014. Picture: Tony Winfield

The blues comes to town for one final time as the fourth - and last - Hebden Bridge Blues Festival brings a host of talent to a number of venues over three days.

The main organising team feel they have achieved all they set out to with the festival, which has won “best festival” accolades in the British Blues Awards for the last two years.

They hope fans of the music will join with them to take it out on a high and they have drawn up a bill to match.

Cutting edge contemporary blues has been its hallmark and from internationally known artists to some local heroes, some of the very best have been gathered for the occasion.

As well as main stage events at Hope Baptist Church in the town centre, which will also host the JHS stage and Outlaw stage, and acoustic and electric stages at Salem Mill, Salem Street (just behind Market Street, close to the Co-op), there are other events, including some free “juke joint” events at a number of venues including the Old Gate, Crown Inn, Marshall’s Bar, The Vine, The White Swan and the Pennine Club, all strolling distance from the town centre.

Events begin at 3pm tomorrow, Friday, May 23, when Manitoba Hal plays at Muse Music in Market Street, and follows it with a blues ukelele workshop at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. After that acts range from local rhythm and blues heroes Private Dicks (at Old Gate) to main stage headliners Virgil and the Accelerators, and run until late across the venues.

On Saturday, May 24, events get under way at noon at the Salem Electric Stage with the Mustangs, and again run through ‘til late at a range of venues, with the day’s big headliners being The Motives featuring Matt Taylor on the main stage at Salem.

The final day, Sunday, May 25, also sees a noon start with Richard Townsend on the Salem Acoustic Stage, while acts along the way until late include the wonderful Revelator Band, a Calderdale combo headed by Barnaby “Doc” Neale at Old Gate in the late afternoon. Closing the festival on the main stage will be Northsyde. Each night though there is a midnight jam session to enjoy thanks to the Paddy Maguire Midnight Jam Sessions with the Hebden All-Stars. These usually have a 1.30am finish.

For full details about who is playing where, and when, can be found on the festival website www.hebdenblues.co.uk and details can also be found on the festival’s Twitter and Facebook feeds. In all, 52 acts will have appeared across nine stages by the time the festival closes.

Jason Elliott and Paddy Maguire, of the organising team, said: “Those of you who know us personally, know we’re not comfortable with being part of the ‘establishment’ - we like to keep things fresh and exciting for us and four years is a long time for either of us to stay focused on a single project. This particular one has taken up a huge amount of time and energy and has outgrown our small town so quickly!

“With this in mind, we’re going out with a bang and this will be the last ever Hebden Bridge Blues Festival, so if you’ve never joined us before, this is your last chance.”

With free juke joint concerts and extras like the workshop, you can still be part of it.