The man behind Blues at the Barns, Essex’s new acoustic blues, roots and Americana festival, has spoken of his excitement at bringing together a “dream line-up” for the event.
Musician, writer and broadcaster Tim Aves says he hand-picked the artists for event, which is being staged on Sunday May 7th, just outside Burnham in Essex with the aim of making it the best festival of its kind in the region.
“The venue itself, Creeksea Place Barns and the Parlour Cafe, was actually the inspiration. Last year, I played at an event there; a fantastic day of music, food and drink. Then my partner had a stall at the Christmas craft fair in the big, empty barn on the site in December, and it got me thinking.
I looked around and thought it would be a great place to bring together some of my very favourite people from the more subtle side of the blues scene, with some great folk and Americana artists for good measure – so that’s what we’re doing.
There’s part of the musical spectrum where the blues, folk, singer-songwriter and Americana genres cross over – and that’s the place I looked for the artists on the bill for May 7.
All the acts are not only absolutely first-rate, but each is also a little bit different, off-the-wall and above all, highly entertaining. I’m just SO excited about bringing together these great people, many of whom are also good friends.”
Tim is a well-known and influential figure on the UK blues scene, fronting Essex bands, Automatic Slim and Tim Aves & WOLFPACK, and presenting a multiple award-nominated weekly blues radio show on Saint FM 94.7. He was also co-ordinator for RIVERfest, Burnham’s long-running and fondly-remembered annual festival of music and the arts, for 14 years in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Blues at the Barns will feature eight hours of non-stop live music on two stages, with the bill including US/Irish trio, SPIKEdrivers, brilliant Maldon folksinger and songwriter David Hughes, acclaimed Californian roots/Americana musician Guy Tortora, and Mundon’s own Richard Townend.
“People who go to gigs and festivals on the blues scene will probably be familiar with these artists, but I’m hoping many local people who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves blues fans will also come along – and bring their kids, too. This great, fun, music deserves a wider audience.
We deliberately kept the ticket price low – £20 for eight hours of entertainment is a bargain by any standards – and decided to offer a £7 ticket for under-12s, to encourage families to come and enjoy some great music in a lovely setting.
As well as two stages – one in the barn and the other in the Parlour’s lovely garden – there’ll be food vendors, a beer tent, and other attractions, including a fun photo-booth. There will be plenty of free parking, though the site is an easy and attractive walk from Burnham, across the country park and rural footpaths, if people want to leave their cars at home or travel to Burnham by train.
People around here still talk fondly about RIVERfest and many regret its passing. Blues at the Barns will be different, but the aim is the same: To provide a terrific day of first-class live music. I’m genuinely very excited to have had the chance to do this.”
The district’s community radio station, Saint FM 94.7, will have a strong presence at Blues at the Barns too and stands to benefit financially from any surplus generated by the festival.
The festival takes place at Creeksea Place Barns (which is just off Ferry Road, Burnham, Essex, CM0 8PJ). The site is also a ten-minute cycle-ride, or a 15-20-minute stroll over Burnham Country Park and country footpaths from the town’s railway station.
Tickets are £20 (£7 for under 12s) and available directly from The Parlour Cafe, Burnham-on-Crouch (on Creeksea Lane). To book call 01621 785292 or visit www.parlourcafe.com.
For more details visit www.bluesatthebarns.moonfruit.com.