NEWS: Durham Blues Festival Initial Line-up Revealed | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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For all of the region’s blues fans, one of the biggest events on the calendar is creeping around the corner. Durham Blues Festival is taking place on Saturday 20th June and is celebrating its fifth birthday. That means they’re planning one of the biggest and most diverse line-ups in their history.

On the Main Street Stage, Queen of the Slide Guitar Erja Lyytinen is one of the headliners, bringing her highly emotive voice and tribute to Mississippi legend Elmore James, The Sky Is Crying, to Durham. The Finnish roots musician is a master of reclaiming old blues songs and presenting them from a female perspective, as she does on Got To Move, one of the standout tracks of the latest album. She’ll also be playing tracks from her 10-album career. Joining her on the stage is Red Butler, who first formed his band at the age of 18. Since then he’s been drawing on influences as wide as Etta James, Joe Bonamassa, King King and Santana to produce light hearted and melodic tunes that culminated in the release of their debut album Freedom Bound last year.

Over on the Blues Cafe Acoustic Stage, six equally talented musicians are showcasing everything good about modern blues music. Jack J Hutchinson is bringing his latest, almost universally acclaimed, new EP Get It Back to Durham, while Gary The Slide Guy Smith is going to try and take the slide guitar out of the ghetto and bring it to the quaint streets of Durham (they said it couldn’t be done, but here we are!) Nineteen-year-old Alex McKown‘s passion for blues ignited when he was only eleven, leading to him being a finalist in at the British Blues Awards for four years in a row. Meanwhile, Gary Grainger, who cut his teeth playing working men’s clubs of the north east in the early seventies, is bringing his dexterous finger-picking abilities and heaps of experience to the day’s events. Rounding off the line-up isĀ Mike Wyatt, whose mature, soulful voice has earned him great feedback from industry insiders, and Starvin’ Sid, a band who simply like to enjoy themselves with no strings (except guitar strings, of course).

With more acts for the Main Street Stage still yet to be announced, this year’s Durham Blues Festival is shaping up to be one of the biggest events in its history.

The Durham Blues Festival takes place on Saturday 20th June. Tickets are now available.


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