Back Porch Band
Buddy's Blues Band
C Sharp Blues
Coalhouse Walker Blues Band
Dave Raphael Band
JC & Angelina Grimshaw
Jon Walsh Blues Band
Kevin Brown Band
Pete Harris Band
Robin Bibi Band
Saiichi Sugiyama Band
The Rhythm 'n' Blues Brothers 8-piece band
The Riotous Brothers
The Riverside Blues Band
Robin Bibi’s Jam Sessions on Saturday and Sunday afternoons
Open Mic Sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons
Assorted Street Buskers and on Swanage Railway Station all weekend
Blues Steam Train Rides – details to follow
Thank you for all your comments about the March 2010 Swanage Blues Festival!
M and R said...
We are local and retired. Thanks for organizing the Blues Festival we really enjoyed it. Every year it acquires more and more interest.
We went out on Monday night, AFTER the weekend and the town was quiet, whilst the two previous days it had been hopping with interest, people and music. I enjoy Blues and like the way you had combined the Soul Music into that, the music of my youth, much starting out from the Blues, like the Chess Label music.
The local businesses have a lot to thank you for. Well done.
Lyn - Limes Hotel, Swanage said...
Great feedback from all our guests! Congratulations on another great festival, Steve.
Karen, California Barn, Swanage said...
Guests at my holiday let discovered the blues Festival for the first time by chance (were here to climb). Thought it was great and brilliant atmosphere (and cheap)said they will be back.
Sheila C said...
It was great to see you this weekend and looking so good too! We loved the Festival - your gig last night with Buddy's Blues Band at The Grand was just brilliant - obvious from the reaction of the crowd. Bet you are exhausted today after all the effort that must have gone into arranging such a fantastic event - it really does bring the town to life and just walking through Swanage at night hearing such good blues coming from all the pubs was magical - we managed to see a good few of them over the three days and were really impressed to hear such fantastic music going on - we shall definitely come again.
Great to see you again at the weekend, I really enjoyed the gig. Your standing ovation at the Grand Hotel on Sunday night was fully deserved, you do a great job with the festival, what a great event!
This was my seventh visit to these twice yearly Swanage blues/roots festivals and I am only sorry I didn’t know about it at the beginning.
If ever cloning becomes available I would consider it for this event so I could be in several of the venues at the same time, as the only problems are deciding who to hear and pacing or resisting the intake of wine, fish and chips, lovely coffee and cakes in Earthlights and newly discovered chocolate shop!
For increasing numbers of us it has become not only somewhere to hear our favourite types of music in truck loads, but look forward to meeting other ‘regulars’, share this event with friends and new converts. It is somewhere someone could go on their own if needs be and feel a sense of belonging. The people are friendly and I fully understand why some people have visited for a week-end, only to end up staying over ten years. If I wasn’t so lucky to have an abundance of such music where I live, I could be tempted.
The atmosphere is amazing and the freezing wind over the week end had no impact on enthusiasm. This event transcends and absorbs any age, gender, ethnicity, disability etc. etc. In fact the differences reflect how the total can be more than the fragments, as experienced musicians cascade, encourage, support, nurture and inspire new, young talent. In turn they fuel growth, regeneration and ensure the music we all love will be ongoing.
There were amazing female singers in Bands and at open mic’s, I am also fortunate to have Anna and Vicky as friends. Anita Jardine’s fabulous lyrics were thought provoking and uplifting for how things have changed for mature women in a few generations.
Gender, religion, sport and politics are irrelevant here, as after all, who is ‘on top’, which position and importance at that moment in time for any of them just keeps changing.
Lovely stories abound, such as Stan who not only has his own Riverside Blues band, performs at open mic’s, but also drove to Bournemouth for a replacement when Robin’s amps blew!
We met Elwood (how cool to have that name) and his lovely lady who recognise us from local music events and have told several people about up and coming gigs in Kingston, Twickenham, Putney and Surbiton, so Swanage people can ‘twin’ with Surrey and Middlesex!
Thank you again Steve Darrington for being the organiser, great performer and catalyst for such a wonderful event. Also Robin Bibi and his band not only wow the crowd in their own right, but Robin has the ability to mix and match musicians not only bringing out the best in an individual, but by the Sunday afternoon he appears to have ‘logged’ everyone and manages to put together several ‘supergroups’ to the palpable and extremely audible pleasure of the audience.
This event, like all good things, leaves people wanting more, so be warned, as some accommodation is already full. A few of us are taking no chances and have already booked for October 1, 2, 3 and next March 4, 5, 6. See www.swanage-blues.org for more info.
I look forward to reading other comments and to October, love from Wendy x.
Pete Bennett said...
This was the best festival i've attended so far with top blues acts appearing around the town in some great venues. I play guitar in my spare time and thanks to the superb open mic sessions at the red lion ran by Johnny Sharp & Martin Froud, i was able to even get up and perform three of my own songs to the audience and family. Thank you for a wonderful time and see you again in October.
Our first visit and we loved it. Couldn't catch everyone, but all the more reason to come back. Thanks to all involved, particularly Steve for making it all happen and Robin for working so hard to make the jams so much fun. Yes, the pubs were packed but that's much better than the alternative ... and at least all those bodies gave us a chance to get warm! We'll be back, with thermal underwear next time.
Phil and Wendy
Great festival as always, seemed busier than last year. Particularly enjoyed the jam sessions run by Robin on Sturday and Sunday featuring some great talent. I also enjoyed the Back Porch band style of blues. Excellent and well done to you on the organisation
Fully agree, it's been a great festival. I was one of the bucketeers (which by the way is an excellent way to get chatting to other festival goers). One suggestion I received 2 or 3 times (although I cannot see that anyone else has mentioned it yet) is for a gospel service to be held on the Sunday morning. How do we find out how much support this would get?
Riotous Brothers said...
We have played the festival three times now and it just keeps getting better! The atmosphere for us, particularly on the Saturday afternoon in The Ship is fantastic and it's great to have so many people in one place into the music. I like the fact that the pubs all have bands playing at the same time, I wouldn't stagger the times as most bands are playing 3 hour slots so you can always move on and catch something else.
I like the fact that there's no main venue in a way - it makes you feel that there's no top-of-the-bill, you're all equal and people will find the right band for them.
The B&B's were good and the weather was kind. People we spoke with had come long distances so this is great for the bands, for the music and for Swanage. Keep it up Steve!!
Yeah! What they said. For a seaside town on a cold March weekend to be bustling with people must be a rarity and it must be a boost to trade in the area.
We had a great time at The Anchor on Friday night, and it was a pleasure to play to such an enthusiastic and friendly crowd.
We played a slot at The Red Lion Open Mic earlier in the aftenoon, which was very well organised, as usual.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons found us at Robin Bibi's Jam for the now customary high jinks, where we were joined by quite a few of the jammers who attend our own Champions Blues Jam in Bournemouth, as well as musicians from all over the country.
With regard to earlier comments, we think the slots are staggered to a degree, but to stagger them more would increase the problem of over-crowding as the core audience would try to get into fewer venues with music on at that time.
Also, many of the venues do food, and presumably want to have a music-free period to enable the diners to come in between 5pm and 8pm. A tricky balance to keep everyone happy!
Having so many gigs going on at the same time, with the ensuing migration of audiences between the venues, is all part of the experience that is Swanage Blues Festival. Congratulations, Steve, for yet another successful weekend and here's to many more!
Wonderful time. Loved the jam session with Robin Bibi at the White Horse on the Saturday afternoon. Pete Harris Band at the Grand on Saturday evening was excellent. Loved JC and Angelina Grimshaw at the Bankes Hotel in Corfe on Sunday afternoon.
Great event and we'll definitely come again
Great festival as ever. Hope your hard work is appreciated by both visitors and locals alike. Had a giggle with the Fez heads and tried to squeeze into certain venues. looking forward to October already. Keep dancing Steve - one day it will be Burlesque.
Absolutely stunning festival with great bands - particularly loved the Riotous Brothers and the Back Porch Band. Only one issue - we couldn't get to see some of the bands, particularly at the White Horse and Swan, the venues were dangerously over-crowded. Any chance of finding a bigger venue for some of the acts at future festivals? I know this is difficult at Swanage, but the Festival, rightly, gets more and more popular each time. Well done Steve a really great festival.
Forgot in earlier posting to add our appreciation of the doughty bucket brigade. It would be nice to think they raised enough but, looking at the sheer number and quality of the performers, I have my doubts. But the pubs and local B&Bs (and other shops etc) must do really well out of the weekends, especially as they take place out of season. Hope they realise that and give some back to help make sure the festival keeps going.
Hi and thanks to all we met and those we didn't.
vinyl saturday said...
Visited all the venues and bands playing on Sunday afternoon, pretty full venues and some absolutely excellent performances and blistering guitar players - well done a recommended event for all music fans, next time I hope to get there for longer, Steve thank you for organising it
Gavin Robinson said...
About twenty two people came down with me and generally we all had a very good time indeed. The Limes is a great place to stay, the breakfast there was excellent. Food elsewhere seemed average though. The music was good, in particular a lot of my crowd, including myself, thoroughly enjoyed Will Killeen. I saw him last year and it was certainly a motivating factor in my coming this year. The Grand Hotel on Saturday and Bankes Arms on Sunday were very good.
My only comment, and this is a 'victim' of success, so to speak was that the central pubs were packed and the bands seemed to play a lot of grunge blues, and appeared similar. Also, a lot of the pubs seemed to specialise in Ringwoods at the expense of more local ales. It was a case for me, of 'oh no not more Ringwoods best.'
If there were some more venues that would be good especially away from Swanage such as Langton, Worth and Studland, and maybe Kingston,
Thank you very much for the efforts of all involved as it is a great place to be. of course the sunshine helped,
Blues Cats said...
We enjoyed the festival as much as ever - yes some of the venues get a bit packed - this might have had something to do with the bitter wind! Less people were hanging about outside.
Enjoyed the Brick House Pizzas and the cake and the "pretty witches" at Earthlights.
Music-wise, Robin Bibi was good value as ever opening the festival. Friday night we loved the Riverside Blues Band at the Anchor - short songs and LOTS of them! They don't get bogged down in extended solos. Shame they had to stop early so that the pub could do karyoke. We were going to wander the other venues but ended up staying there!
Saturday we went to the open mic and the jam at the White Horse - thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm and the music of all standards - there does seem to be a lot of music which is not really blues but I suppose that is to be expected.
Later we did manage a grand tour and enjoyed a little bit of everything. Couldn't get into everything of course!
Sunday, Dave Raphael - wonderful. Time to go home... See you in October
JS and PH said...
Just wanted to say thank you for an excellent weekend of Blues and brilliant musicians. This was our first time to the Festival and we have been so impressed that we are enthusing to all our friends and family.
Thank you for all your hard work, we look forward to attending next year.
Thanks for organising such a great event in Swanage. My wife and I really enjoyed it especially Will Killeen. We would have liked to see all the bands but of course weren't able to, including yourself.
The Jawbreakers said...
Sorry to have missed you. We had a fantastic time, and I see the photos of the boys dancing are on the website, Brilliant! I have to say that as well as we went down (and I believe that we did) the biggest cheer for the afternoon was when I asked the audience for a round of applause for you, for organizing this fantastic event. They dug deep, and really want this to continue. I spoke to two different couples who had seen us in October and came back for the whole weekend this March, and, of course to see us to round their weekend off.
The staff and management at The Ship were absolute stars, and the landlord said we were welcome back any time. That would be good, especially if you could come along and play with us.
You’re a star Steve, and thanks again. We’d love to be back in October if not before
Ed and the boys from the The Jawbreakers
L and RG said...
Just got back from Swanage after another great festival.
Fabulous weekend. We watched Back Porch Band on Saturday night, they were fantastic - hope you book them for October we'll certainly be making a date to see them if you do - the harmonica player was something else and all the band were excellent.
Well done once again.
B and VH said...
I haven’t been to Swanage before, or to any of your festivals - but I certainly hope to do so again.
My wife and I, and a couple of friends, booked a break in Swanage for the weekend 5-7 March, unaware until our arrival Friday afternoon that the Blues Festival was being held. About 3pm we were having a drink in one of the local pubs, and I spotted a ‘Live Wire’ leaflet on the table. On reading it we realised the Festival was kicking off a bit later in the day.
Fantastic weekend! It took me back to the early years of R&B (round about 1960-64 period) – visits to the Crawdaddy Club, Richmond, and Eel Pie Island (middle of the Thames) at Twickenham, to see up-and-comers like The Stones, The Yardbirds, Long John Baldry, etc., and many others, equally as good, but who didn’t ‘get famous’.
Your Swanage festival was the serendipitous icing on the cake. In particular, The Riverside Blues Band at the Anchor, Friday night, was a knockout – I even asked the harmonica player if he was Cyril Davies reincarnated. The gig was ‘very’ Clapton and Friends at the Royal Albert Hall in the early 1980s.
Towards the end of the gig, the vocalist said that if we liked the festival, tell the organisers. So, that’s what I’m doing. It was great! Nope, it was bloody great! Many thanks for putting it all together. It must have been hard work.
I’m only very sorry that we missed the gig ‘Steve Darrington & Friends’, Saturday afternoon, 2.30pm - we were trekking part of the Dorset Coastal Path at that time. I bet the gig was good! We did make up for it by doing the rounds Saturday evening, though. If we manage to make it again this October, I’ll make sure we attend your session(s).
As much as I would wish to, I’m sorry that I’m unable to help you in the administration of the festival as we live in Cornwall (north-west corner of Bodmin Moor), and our friends are from Bedfordshire (slightly even further afield).
Anyway, hope to see you in October.
Les Lipscombe said...
Thanks again Steve a truly great festival.Loved the Back Porch Band, Rhythm & Blues Brothers and Saiichi Suglyama Band. I hope Swanage start to appreciate the time and effort you put in.
Dan Red Jacket said...
Gospel - I will work on MacClean for next time. We don't need to look at a pub for this one, perhaps a church or school room/hall will do. Can't think of anybody better to lead the singing. Lay preachers can get up and choose their texts. I think it would be an excellent idea.
The Jives said...
Another great festival, enjoyed our gig at the Red Lion, always a good one for us. Had Saturday free, which gave us time to catch up with some of the other bands for a change.
Very impressed with Kevin Brown at The Grand in the afternoon; John Crampton was superb as usual; and finished off the evening watching The Back Porch band at The Crows Nest - they really got the audience going - a great act and a very nice venue.
Belter of a weekend, fun almost all the way (do not mention locking myself out of my van), Huge Ta to Robin for getting the right singers and players on together at the jams. The White Horse gaffer (Ross?) said he'd charge money for a show like that. Even pay money to see it. To be an old amateur and look out at the crowd and see that the band has them by the dance nerves,it's a hell of a kick.
We raised £50+ busking on the station on Saturday and Sunday, don't know what any of the other buskers raised, but it's all welcome. Fellow busker John McClean is up for some sort of Gospel bash next time; Gospel Train, anyone?
And mega thanks as always to Steve. Must be a nice feeling to know you've made so much difference to so many lives. Enjoy it, son, you deserve it. Have a glow.
Jamming in John's van on Monday morning, Clive finding out the tone he's always wanted comes from a £2 car boot battery amp.
I ain't anonymous, it's me, Dan, in the red leather jacket and the yellow lefty Strat.
Dan Red Jacket said...
AB, I've had this busker placement discussion with Steve, and the problems of licensing and authorisation are, on the face of things at least, too much of a hurdle to deal with. If we have anyone with experience of busking on a semi pro level, please shout up, this could really go places if we could only find them without being arrested.
Well done Steve, another great festival! Shame to hear that you didn't get around as much as you'd liked, but the comments on this blog show that once more your hard work has paid off.
We caught part of the Blue Touch set in the White Swan (sunday afternoon) and their whole set at The Anchor in the evening,and both times really enjoyed their playing and rapport with the crowd. The Anchor gig was more like a party, so many dancers!
Jack Blackman said...
Both my gigs were fun. The session in Bar Sev7n was lively , with a loud and excited audience , having been whipped up by the Back Porch band. My response was to alter my set list and play some classic blues numbers including Muddy Waters "I can't be satisfied" with some cool slide etc......The audience was warm and appreciative. (The pizza's in there were good too!)
Up at the Grand Hotel , it was a far more sedate affair , but every bit as welcoming. This enabled me to play a more mellow and reflective set including his arrangements of some classic John Renbourne and Bert Jansch acoustic blues /folk music.(As well as an arrangement of Little Red Rooster)
This festival , coming the day after Banbury , was quite a hike for us , travelling over 300 miles in the day , but we wouldn't have missed it for the world! - Even my younger brother Euan (8) had fun and enjoyed seeing the sea , corfe castle and the station!
We hope to be involved in Swanage again sometime , as you have a super event going there.(And we sold a few CD's!)
The next excursion for us to the South Coast is on May 3rd to Plymouth for the Barbican International Jazz and Blues Festival , where I'm booked for a 12noon set.
Cheers to everyone
i had a fantastic meeting an eclectic mix of music lovers whilst bucketeering. thank you to all those who dug deep in to their pockets to make my buckey heavy. the atmosphere was happy and relaxed with everyone enjoying themselves. i look forward to catching up with you all in october for more dancing and scrumpy drinking
Just a line of thanks. Thanks for putting together another great weekend of non stop great music and feel good stuff.
Always really enjoy the folks who turn up and play at the Red lion as this seems to get everyone in the right frame of mind for weekends proceedings. So many good bands and good musicianship from all the bands that I had the fortune to catch, really loved The Jawbreakers set on Sunday afternoon. The Jawbreakers gave such an interesting couple of sets ranging from Louis Jordan to Santana.
Good to see plenty of collecting buckets at the venues. Thanks again Steve, see you next festival time in October.
Congratulations on another fantastic festival.
We had 10 of us staying at the bungalow and 2 friends from Swanage Farm joined us on the Friday & Saturday nights. We all enjoyed it so much, from Robin Bibi on Friday through to yourself and Hugh Budden on Sunday it was non stop. We mainly ate at home but had a lovely meal in the Crows Nest.
We had some trouble getting close to the action in some venues but saw as many bands as we could. It was good to see Jon Walsh back and really missed Ernie’s.
We especially liked Back Porch Band, Dave Raphael Band, Hugh Budden, Jon Walsh Blues Band, Pete Harris, Robin Bibi Band, Saiichi Sugiyama Band, The Riotous Brothers and of course yourself.
Most of our guests left on Sunday but we stayed on until Tuesday, I think this was wise as we had the better journey home.
We will be down from time to time during the year and hopefully catch some gigs at Bar Se7en or the Grand but really cannot wait until October. I regularly access the website to keep up to date and look forward to seeing the line up for October.
Look after yourself and we will see you soon.
Congratulations to Steve for putting together a real humdinger for the 10th anniversary! This was my 3rd festival visit and well worth the drive from sunny Hastings. The wind was keen, as were the blues fans who enjoyed a marvellous array of bands and musicians in venues which remained friendly and hospitable despite the huge volume of punters.
Glad to have heard Steve's wicked keys this time and particularly enjoyed Blue Touch's infectious energy, rocked my socks off to them once again. Saiichi Sugiyama band were superb, missed Ernie's like mad and have yet to catch many of the bands as there was just so much top drawer blues to choose from.
As a participant I was delighted by the supportive atmosphere created at Martin and Johnny's open mic and rockin Robin Bibi's electric jam. So happy to have played 5 short sets with a total of a dozen other musicians.
Particularly lovely people around, some of whom I've met before and others I was delighted to hook up with for the first time-'specially the Twickenham massive who sure know how to party!
Glad that a delay in the restoration of my VW van led to me enjoying excellent hospitality at the Ocean Lodge B and B, a real home from home. www.oceanlodgeswanage.co.uk
Looking forward to ending the summer with a bang not a whimper in October :)