Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2014: Don’t be blue, join us to bow out on a high

Paul Lamb and the Detroit Breakdown, playing Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2014. Picture: Tony Winfield
Paul Lamb and the Detroit Breakdown, playing Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2014. Picture: Tony Winfield

Fans of blues music will be beating a path to the award-winning Hebden Bridge Blues Festival this Bank Holiday weekend - but it will be for the final time.

Festival organisers Jason Elliott, Paddy Maguire, Kate Dakers and Jenna Hooson hope local fans and visitors alike will help take the festival out on a memorable high after four great years which have seen it, for the last two years, win its category at the British Blues Awards.

Jason said the decision had not been taken for financial reasons - it has not been grant funded, for example, but that was not the issue. They had also always been prepared to surmount obstacles they might come across along the way, such as removal of promotional banners.

Rather the main organising team of four had felt they had taken the project as far as they could, and wanted to bow out with the festival at its height.

“All the main organising team have other obligations and condsiderations and we just thought that rather than run the risk of something that we had always envisaged as being in a particular way getting bigger and becoming more a part of the establishment, it was the perfect opportunity to bow out on a high. Knowing when to quit is one of those things,” he said.

All had individual businesses and concerns and the time was right, said Jason: “Essentially, we have achieved everything we set out to achieve.”

With not only time commitments a consideration but also the fact they had funded the festival themselves meant it was difficult for anyone else to just take it over, although someone, if not in Hebden Bridge, could run an event fulfilling a similar remit.

“This is it for us.

“We were flying the flag for the cutting edge blues people but someone will pop up, of course they will, no person’s bigger than an idea,” said Jason.

The idea to arrange camping space in Calder Holmes Park had been scrapped, said Jason, largely on grounds of the age demographic of many visiting fans.

Jason added: “There are a few people we would like to thank including Les and Sam at Salem Mill, Gerard at Hope Baptist Church, and also the pubs who are putting on juke joint venues - Old Gate, Marshall’s Bar, the White Swan, the Pennine Club, the Crown Inn and The Vine, as the Hebden Bridge Times and Halifax Courier.”

Muse Music and Hebden Bridge Town Hall are both hosting festival opener Manitoba Hal, the latter a workshop.