Tenby blue festival
The price of tickets vary from venue to venue, typically starting from £5 and upwards; the Blues Trail performances have no admission fee and are open to all. A number of acts were confirmed before the festival began, those including Paul Cowley, The Eddie Martin Band, Catfish, Dave Arcari, Lightnin’ Willie and the Poorboys, The Kyla Brox Band, and many more. The entire line-up for the Blues Festival and Trail were also made available before the event began, allowing attendants to be informed of which acts were performing at different venues and the times they were taking place.
With this being the 13th annual event of the festival, it has become a cornerstone of both the spirit of Tenby and the local music scene. As previously mentioned both local and international artists participate in the event, allowing musicians to network and socialise amongst many others alike themselves within the confinements of a small town. Another benefit of the Blues Festival experience is that it encourages other music lovers and artist to engage with their local music scene, as well as encouraging venues to hold live music events due to all the attention it attracts and the custom that it brings to Tenby. Who could resist the sublime magnificent delightful sound of blues resounding through a seaside town?
Friday’s Events – The De Valence
Starting off the night at the De Valence at 19:15pm, Lightnin’ Willie and The Poorboys, an American blues band having released eight albums, with their debut EP being issued in the year of 1994. Signed to 145 Records, and having opened sets for renowned artists such as John Mayall, Junior Wells, Robben Ford, the Chicago Blues All-Stars, and most recently Robert Cray. The band itself only consisting of vocals, a guitar, bass, drums, and the harmonica; a traditional blues format. The setup may seem stripped down, but Lightnin’ Willie and The Poorboys produce a deep, rich, and full bodied sound that resonates with their audience on astounding levels. An undeniably great addition to the Blues Festival.
The Paul Garner Band followed Lightnin’ Willie and The Poorboys performance, carrying on the high standard that the festival initially began with. Active from 2005 and based in London, UK, The Paul Garner Band is a progressive roots, guitar/organ blues trio, producing an original and exhilarating sound that can be refereed to as nothing but innovative. The combination of progressive roots and blues, a combination I was yet to hear or come across, pushing blues into a new and unexplored territory whilst remaining connected to the roots and history of both genres. Producing an overall upbeat and positive atmosphere through their sound, with Paul’s voice bringing in some contrasting tones through the edge and well roundedness it can bring (showing the great control he has over his vocal abilities), it is impossible to deny the talent and overall musicianship of the band and its members. Having opened for Jools Holland at the Rhythm on the Thames event in London, in addition to national TV and Radio appearances across New Zealand and Australia, along with numerous festival appearances in the UK, France, Australia, and New Zealand; it is no surprise to see the well-deserved international recognition that they have received for their work.
Dave Arcari, internationally acclaimed Scottish alternative blues artist, was up next in line. Born in 1964, during the era in which it was the prime of blues being mixed in and blended with elements of rock, R&B, and soul, Dave’s influences and musical experiences can be easily recognised through his sound. Having been showcased via ten internationally-acclaimed solo album releases, a finalist the UK Indy Music Awards reaching the top four in his category (best male solo artist), numerous festival appearances and a busy live schedule in the UK, as well as regular shows across various countries internationally, Dave’s commitment to pioneering the alt blues scene remains unstoppable.
The Fourcroft Hotel
Moving over to the Fourcroft Hotel at 12am, Paul Cowley’s performance was about to begin. An English singer, songwriter, acoustic finger-style and slide guitarist, Paul has been involved in the music industry for over a decade. Inspired by country blues, and previously having immersed himself in acoustic and pre-war blues, Paul’s sound is as unique as it gets, years of experience within life and music resounding through the music that he produces. You can feel the love and respect that Paul shares for country blues and the genres he has focused on throughout the duration of his performances, the incredible skill and vocal work that Paul has is an honour to bare witness to.
The De Valence
The Church House
The Fourcroft Hotel
The Blues Trail is one truly appealing event for many reasons, and to many people. First of all, the admission to these performances is completely free and open to everyone, secondly, performances begin sometime within the early afternoon ending late in the evening, allowing attendees plenty of time to, well, attend. The Blues Trail takes place in a vast number of venues across the town with a huge variety of bands and artists taking part. There is nothing not to love about this aspect of the festival.
As expected, the Tenby Blues Festival was a huge success and an incredible experience for all of those who attended, attracting record numbers of attending visitors to the town. A staple in the local music scene, I’m sure that this event will continue to take place year after year, bringing together musicians and music lovers from across the globe; as well as inspiration to the young and new artists trying to make their way out there.
All of the performing artists have a blatant love for Tenby, the local music scene, and of course the blues genre; bringing their years of musical experiences and their love for music from around the globe.
© Stargazer Music Magazine 2020
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