Fears allayed as blues festival has Maryport rocking all weekend
Last updated at 12:50, Monday, 30 July 2012
The 2012 Maryport Blues Festival began in uncertainty but ended in triumph.
Despite being trimmed back to basics because of economic uncertainty and without a free stage on Shipping Brow or a main stage marquee, many doubted the festival could be a success.
But throughout the weekend the town was heaving with locals and visitors celebrating music.
Despite the blues town trail being larger than ever, the pubs were packed throughout and many people said they had been unable to get in to hear some of the bands they wanted to.
One publican estimated that his takings were about 20 per cent up on last year and all the blues’ official venues reported a very busy weekend.
A total of 41 bands played the trail and most were enjoyed.
Those who came in for special mention, however, included Babajack, Lewis Hamilton and the Boogie Blues, Little Stevie and the Business and the Carlisle legend that is Olly Alcock.
The main stage was in the Wave Centre and there was some concern that holding a festival in a small indoor theatre meant some of the atmosphere was lost.
But that did not stop the quality of performances from groups such as Saturday’s headline Todd Sharpville’s Blues Review.
Man mountain Nick Moss was a powerful presence on stage with a voice to match and his second guest, Debbie Davies, engaged the audiences with her voice and personality.
Sunday’s acts included Ben Poole and his band. At 25, Poole is developing – or, some may argue, has – the guitar skills of legends like Jimi Hendrix.
Also on the main stage was Marcus Malone, cool and smooth and rocking blues. Malone, originally from Detroit and now living in London, has been through every musical style since he first started performing at the age of 13 - in a topless bar.
The real stars of the festival though, and the ones who brought the audience to life in a way nobody else had, was Chris Farlowe, Cliff Bennett and the New Amen Corner.
Farlowe and Bennett are both in their seventies but their energy and showmanship were second to none and their music, accompanied by New Amen Corner, had the audience up and dancing.
Whether singing their own hits or somebody else’s, the singers and the band ensured this year’s festival ended on a high leaving the audience begging for more.
First published at 11:24, Monday, 30 July 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk