4th UK Blues Challenge At The Cavern Liverpool

4th UK Blues Challenge At The Cavern Liverpool


4th UK Blues Challenge Announced At The Cavern Liverpool



UKBlues Federation are delighted to announce Tickets for the 4th UKBlues Challenge, which will be held at the world-famous Cavern Club in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017, are now on sale via the Cavern Club’s website – HERE They are priced at £10.00 in advance, £12.00 on the door.

Members of the UK Blues Federation can enjoy a reduction of £2.50 per ticket (maximum 2 tickets per member). This discount will be applied when they next renew their membership after 10th September 2017. Join the UK Federation Today

The bands/artistes appearing are, in alphabetical order

Elles Bailey

LaVendore Rogue

The Rainbreakers

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



4th UK Blues Challenge At The Cavern LiverpoolThe fifth and final band for 2017 is an exciting new addition to the Challenge.

As recently announced, they will be joined by the young band chosen by representatives of Jessica Foxley Unsigned at the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival at Colne 25th – 27th August.



Get your tickets now for what promises to be a great celebration of Blues in the UK.

Doors will open at 15.30 with the first band on stage at 16.00. It is anticipated that the event will finish by about 21.00 and will close with a set from the winners and, we hope, feature some top guests who will be at the event.
Bluesdoodles invites you to  share this news, help support UKBlues in what it is doing. Visit our website – UKBlues to read about membership benefits and to join

4th UK Blues Challenge At The Cavern Liverpool

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home



Saturday the 8th April 2017 was a big day for blues in the UK because of events many miles away in Horsens, Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back HomeDenmark, the venue for the 7th European Blues Challenge organised by the European Blues Union (EBU) in conjunction with the BluesKartellet of Horsens, a town described by its mayor, Peter Sorensen, as ’a city of music – with streets of blues’ and a city ‘known throughout Denmark for its concerts with renowned artists, festivals and major events’.

For the first time in the event’s history, the European Blues Challenge was won by the UK with Northern Ireland’s Kaz Hawkins Band beating off some stiff competition, particularly from Belgium’s The Bluebones who were placed second. The event saw acts from some 21 European countries competing over two nights at the Forum in Horsens, a venue which, in the past, has played host to many major names including the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Paul McCartney.

In an emotional acceptance of the trophy, Kaz first thanked the UK Blues Federation for making it possible for her and her band to take part in the International Blues Challenge, which took place in Memphis, Tennessee in late January and where the band reached the semi-finals, as well as the European Blues Challenge.

She also expressed her gratitude to the event organisers and to the judges for ‘getting’ her music which is so much a reflection both of her and her life.

In addition to the trophy, the band will also have the opportunity to play at a number of top European Blues Festivals as well as enjoying a considerably raised profile on the European Blues scene.

Kaz’s acceptance speech was full of emotion, warmth and the power of the blues.

Watch the VIDEO HERE

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back HomeBefore the results were announced on Saturday night, The European Blues Union announced the winners of the Blues Behind the Scenes Awards for 2017 which saw the Award for Production going to veteran and legendary producer Mike Vernon whose career spans many decades working with many great artists including John Mayall and Eric Clapton on the iconic Beano Album as well as many other major names over the years. Recently he has come out of semi-retirement to produce a number of albums for 21st century blues artists as well as putting together his own band with which he is touring.

Accepting the Award, Mike commented that he was knocked out to receive it but also very proud. He confirmed that he had no intention of stopping yet suggesting that if John Mayall is still touring in his 80s there was no way he (Mike) was going to quit!

Earlier in the day at the General Assembly of the European Blues Union, Dave Raven, award winning blues broadcaster, Chair of the UK’s Independent Blues Broadcasters Association and Treasurer of the UK Blues Federation, was elected to the Board of the EBU, the first time that the UK has been represented on this board and another big step towards blues in the UK being better represented in Europe.

For the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues), Ashwyn Smyth – Chair – said: ‘ We are both thrilled and very grateful that Kaz and her band have done us and blues in the UK so proud. Whilst the winning was down to Kaz and her band, we are so happy that we were able to facilitate them taking part in both Challenges and the win in Denmark is the cherry on top of the cake and can only serve to raise the profile of the blues in and from the UK!”


Bluesdoodles send our congratulations to Kaz Semi-finalists first in Memphis and now the Winner in Europe.

Check out review Feelin’ Good Album HERE

Check out Interview with Kaz after Memphis trip for international Blues Challenge HERE


Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home


Kaz Crowdfunding to compete in Denmark & Memphis

Kaz Crowdfunding to compete in Denmark & Memphis Kaz Crowdfunding to compete in
Denmark & Memphis

At the 3rd UK Blues Challenge held at The Robin 2 on 12th November. The UKBlues Federation we delighted to organise the event celebrating the blues for the second year.

Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of UKBlues said:

‘ This was an excellent evening and our thanks go to everyone involved, the bands, the judges, the sponsors and all the team at the Robin 2 who made us so welcome and worked so hard to make the event such a success. The feedback we have received has been great and it is clear that those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the very fine musicians who played for them. I hope that we have laid the foundations for future UK Blues Challenges and that it will become one of the must-attend events of the blues year.

This was a night that celebrated the best in UK blues and demonstrated only too clearly the quality and range of the talent that is all too often unsung in this too frequently ignored musical genre. The event also raised funds which we, UKBlues, can use to further our aims and to make a contribution towards the Kaz Hawkins Band’s costs attending the two Challenges.’

In addition to being invited to play at four festivals during the U.K. the winners Kaz Hawkins Band will be representing The UK at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, U.S.A. were 250 other acts from all over the world at the 33rd International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, U.S.A. organised by the Blues Foundation between 31st January and 4th and European Blue challenge in Horsens, Denmark 6th, 7th and 8th April 2017 in which 20 plus bands from across Europe will compete.

Listen to Kaz as she explains about the fundraising.

Donations can be made on the Crowdfunding page


Multi award-winning Kaz Hawkins is Northern Ireland’s very own blues and soul darling. The Belfast-born singer-songwriter is fast becoming a performing icon across UK & Europe with the United States temptingly beckoning her over. Her high energy, original shows with her 1950s style swing-dress-meets-Dr Martens look and ability to closely connect with her public contribute to making Kaz one of today’s most popular blues artists in the UK and Ireland, as she continues to play to full houses.

Kaz has been compared to Etta James & Janis Joplin to name but a few. Mixing the genres of music for over 20 years, she finally found her niche in roots and blues, bringing a fun, inspiring & hopeful message with her new debut album ‘Get Ready’ self-released in August 2014, featuring Kaz’s deep, powerful voice, original songwriting and soulful tracks. ’Get Ready’ wooed both the public and the critics, winning the Blues Matters! Magazine Writers’ Poll Best Studio Album of 2015 in September.

In a hat trick  during the same month, Kaz accepted the prestigious Barry Middleton Award for Emerging Artist at the British Blues Awards (the first ever Northern Ireland recipient) and also received the Pure M Award for 2015 All-Ireland Best Female Act at a ceremony in Dublin.

Kaz’s stellar rise to success will be no surprise to the Northern Ireland’s music friends and blues fans over the world she has been wooing for years with her deep, powerful voice, original songwriting and soulful tracks. No mean feat for the 43-year-old funky grandma, who owes surviving a life of physical and emotional hardship to music and a larger-than-life personality that doesn’t take setbacks lying down! Kaz has now rebranded full-time as KAZ HAWKINS BAND. Guitarist Nick McConkey has been with Kaz 4 years and has been a crucial part of the bands direction. With the addition in 2015 of brothers Pete & Jan Uhrin on drums and bass KHB as they are now known, release their ‘Feelin’ Good’ album and UK tour on 28th May at Belfast Empire Music Hall.

Kaz has worked tirelessly for different charities and is Arts Ambassador for EastSide Arts Belfast in which she lectured students at Boston University on how she used music to survive trauma.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..


2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..


2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS….. that will have to wait a moment since there are four acts to listen to first. Tonight is the third UK Blues Challenges that decides the band that will be representing the UK at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and The European Challenge in Denmark in 2017.  Tonight is the second time that the Challenge has been under the auspices of the UKBlues Federation and what a success tonight is, thanks to sponsorship from the award winning, crowd pleasing Upton Blues Festival and the support from The Robin 2, Bilston with superb sound, lighting and the support staff who ensured there was food, drinks and a welcome on the doors.

The running order tonight, Wille and The Bandits; Dove and Boweevil; Kaz Hawkins Band and Rebecca Downes, four acts that show the depth and diversity of blues across the UK in 2016. The bands were from across the country from Cornwall to Norfolk; Belfast to Birmingham and they knew how to play live in a way that would challenge the judges as to who had the winning combination of originality, vocal talent, musical interpretation and more. Without the judges there would have been no challenge, no winners so the Federation owe them a big thank you to Becky Tate, Kayla Brox, Peter Noble, Alex Butler, Oliver Carpenter, Mark Housley and Ruth Etheridge. The task we set them was a challenge in itself as every band was different with music that delighted the crowds. The judges listened hard, danced to the music enjoyed the Blues and after much thought, they marked each band and a winner was found. Before that, there were four bands to listen to and enjoy.

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..With Ashwyn Smythe the chair of the Federation getting the evening underway as compare, the lights were shining and the crowds expectant as Wille and The Bandits opened the proceedings. The band have their own rocking interpretation of the blues. The sound is hearty, rooted in tradition with lap slide, guitar upright bass and drums that beats out a sound full of originality and confidence. This is blues stretched and reformed, with a selection from their new album, Steal out in January 2017 and old favourites including Gypsy Woman ensured the audience was engaged from the beginning and the audience showed their appreciation – what a start – had the night peaked too early?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..Following on, we were treated to Dove and Boweevil. Lauren Dove floated as she blended roots, soul and the taste of the east as the beats and rhythms floated around the Robin 2. Opening with Lady Lavoo, from their current album This Life; a song that is full of swampy beats and the sound has a mystical dark sound suiting Laurens vocals and Mark ‘Boweevil’ Howes guitar. The five piece enthralled the audience though at times the vocals got lost among the instruments.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..Third band of the night raised the energy levels as Kaz Hawkins twirled like a whirlwind across the stage. The energy was electric and the vocals spellbinding. Kaz, takes the lyrics, squeezing the emotions out so that the audience is drawn and captivated by the soulful blues.  The petticoats were swished the red gloves thrown into the audience, yet, if Kaz had stood perfectly still it would have been the voice that is full of charm and depths that hit your musical soul. The band are a trio of talent with the solid rhythm section providing the perfect platform and Nick McConkey’s guitar work is stunning. In the mix we heard the song dedicated to her daughter, Because I love You which one of my favourites. The audience cheered, clapped, stamped their feet as they showed their love to Kaz Hawkins’ take on the blues.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..How to follow that with the energy levels were so high, emotions so stretched easy close the night with Rebecca Downes. With her trademark leopard skin coat she took up the microphone and sung the blues.  Rebecca belted out the vocals soaring above her band all eyes were focused on her she was charged with an electricity and glowing energetic fire. Again, the blues was threaded with rock, soul and jazz that gave Rebecca’s blues a depth of tone and interest she is a blues vocalist who delivers the music she loves and believes in.  The band once again played to Rebecca’s tonal strengths so the voice got hotter and the coat was discarded. Rebecca owned the stage and had the audience in her hand and purring with delight.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As Rebecca Downes and her band left the stage and silence fell, what a night of live music four different and superb acts. All gave the blues a touch of difference shaping the music and delivering with energy and love. Now the scores were counted, the raffle drawn and we waited and discussed our favourites and who we thought the winner would be…

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS….. 

2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS…..The Judges verdict was Kaz Hawkins Band. They are now off to represent the UK at the 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, which runs from 31st January to 4th February 2017 and at the 7th European Blues Challenge, which takes place in Horsens, Denmark on 6th, 7th & 8th April 2017.


Watch this space the date and venue of the 4th UK Blues challenge will be announced by the UK Blues Federation soon. Support the blues and check out the page www.ukbluesfederation.com

2016 UK Blues Challenge delights Bilston The Winner IS….. Once again congratulations to the winner Kaz Hawkins

The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues), is a pan-UK Federation that has been established to promote and support Blues in and from the United Kingdom in all its forms and styles.

We have created a not for profit federation of musicians, organisations, associations, groups, venues, companies, individuals and any other interested parties within the UK who already work to support, promote and encourage blues of all sorts within the UK, to work together to achieve UKBlues‘ aims.

Join HERE  today and help support The Blues throughout the U.K.