Blues in Mid Suffolk


The Suffolk town of Stowmarket is really enjoying its increased standing on the local music scene. It has certainly had its moments down the decades but since the opening of the John Peel Centre and the phoenix-like rise of The Regal it now has two entertainment venues to complement the local pub scene. You can, of course, add both the Museum Of East Anglian Life and the town’s rugby club into the mix with those locations hosting StowBlues and StowFiesta respectively.

I have a close connection with StowBlues having co-founded the event some time ago with Mike Rushmore, Daniel Harvey and the museum’s Patsy Cane. When I was first approached to talk about setting up Stowmarket’s first ever blues festival I had no doubt whatsoever it would a success. The museum’s central location and great infrastructure mean it lends itself perfectly to a music event and given the big following the blues has in Suffolk and beyond it made perfect sense to celebrate the genre.

This year’s StowBlues takes place on Saturday, June 9 and runs from 2pm to 10pm. It falls to me to assemble the bill with help from Mike Rushmore and we are delighted with the line-up. New to the festival are Essex band Cold Norton, Suffolk-based singer and guitarist Clare Free, Cambridgeshire blues rocker Chris King Robinson and Essex-based Richard Townend’s Mighty Bosscats.

Norfolk singer Malaya Blue was one of the best received acts early afternoon last year and as her set was coming to an end I made a point of asking her hard working manager Steve Yourglivch if Malaya would fancy returning in 2018. He took all of a second to say yes so the lady herself is back but at a later time.

Also returning for his second StowBlues appearance is one of America’s great modern day country-blues acts – Kent Duchaine. Two of Ipswich’s most popular bands are also back – the blues-rock trio Hot Tramp and the ever popular Back Porch. I always insist on Back Porch appearing as, quite frankly, the event would not be the same without them.

Here’s the running order :

  • 2pm – Cold Norton
  • 3pm – Clare Free
  • 4pm –  Hot Tramp
  • 5pm – Back Porch
  • 6pm – Kent Duchaine
  • 7pm –Malaya Blue
  • 8pm – Chris King Robinson
  • 9pm – The Mighty Bosscats

Advance tickets are £8 while admission on the day is £10. I’ll be your MC for the afternoon and evening and I must thank Webby from The Drumming Shop in Ipswich for providing a drum kit for the event. That should ensure a quicker turnaround of acts which I hope will mean longer running times!