The Dereham Blues Festival is back and raring to go. After two years of Covid restrictions the Dereham Blues Festival starts on July 6th and runs each day until Sunday evening 10th July, all ready to put Dereham firmly at the centre of Norfolk’s cultural mix and a must-visit place in the region in the summer.
First off on Wednesday evening 6th July, the big and now sold-out opening concert at The Dereham Memorial Hall gets the festival off to a top-drawer start. Doors open at 18:30 and the local community choir Rockavox will be performing in the bar area before the main gig commences.
Then, not one, but two of the fastest rising and fabulous UK blues and soul acts will take to the stage. Kyla Brox will perform with her band, pouring her heart and soul into her set, truly showing why she is one of the hottest soul acts in the UK today.
Then topping the show, the fabulous When Rivers Meet (Grace and Aaron Bond), together with their band, will take to the stage and show why they are taking the UK-wide blues scene by storm. Hailing from East Anglia, When Rivers Meet are carving out rave reviews for their shows across the UK.
Both acts have won recent awards for their stunning performances. If you have a ticket for the show, you are in for a real treat.
Then for the next four days until Sunday 10th July, Dereham town will again come alive to the sounds of all sorts of blues and soul music. It is amazing, but even after two years of silent guitars and drums collecting some dust and voices not being stretched to their full blues capacity, this festival is truly back, and bigger and better than any previous year since 2013 when the festival started. The blues as a music genre is a true and resilient survivor.
There are a record number of some seventy bands this year and also more than ever, there are seventeen unique venues spread throughout the town, from pubs, bars, restaurants, sports and social clubs, hosting and sponsoring the bands.
All this adds up to a bigger Festival than the organisers have ever seen before. The Festival is once again supported by the generosity of a new group of highly enthusiastic sponsors. The Festival can only take place with their support, and that of all the bands, venues and other supporters and volunteers.
Although the volunteer organising committee continued working quietly in the background over the past two years, knowing thath the festival would be back, it says so much for the enthusiasm and resilience of the all concerned, that there was no difficulty in reviving the festival after the enforced break due to Covid restrictions. Venues, bands, sponsors and festival goers alike, have enthusiastically all rushed forward to make this festival happen again. The Festival Chairman Harry Collins says; “We cannot thank them all enough”.
Additionally, there is an extra special event this year. On Saturday afternoon 9th July. There will be a “popup” open air blues busk in the Ellenor Fenn Garden, starting at 1pm providing a non-stop afternoon of local, both young and seasoned up and coming buskers performing their own special brand of blues music. This event is sponsored by the active and thriving Norfolk Blues Society. So come along and be amazed at the quality of local talent.
With so much going on over the five days of the Festival, if you wonder who is playing, where and at what times, please click here: https://www.derehambluesfestival.org.uk . Under the section “Program 2022” there is a full list of bands, venues and times to help you plan your days at the festival to get the most out of your stay. It is arranged in such a way on the website you can make your own itinerary and timetable to suit you.
With the surge of interest and demand from the public so far received, the Festival brochure had to be extended to forty-two pages and now twelve thousand copies are currently being distributed to the public countywide via the venues, at other public places and at pop-up promotional events throughout the region, eg the Dereham Day event last month.
And the final good news ? It is all free for audiences in all the venues. So get along to your favourite venues, hear your favourite bands, buy some refreshments and enjoy it all.
It is so good to be back.