Blues On The Farm 2015

Overview:

A weekend that was crammed with delights for your taste buds anStation House - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0002ld musical ear and the weather was kind. Whether you like a hot cup of tea, a summer fruity jug of Pimms or real ale and cider the liquid refreshment was available on tap and consumed with relish by the number of empty barrels by late Sunday evening. The food was varied from falafel and all things veggie, curries chips and hog roast all served with a smile and provided a tasty appetizer between the music shows; then there were the hot sweet freshly cooked doughnuts to be dipped in sugar or cinnamon not licking your lips between the bites was impossible! Face painting and henna art were enjoyed by adults and children alike! Then at this friendly festival there was the music with so many highlights and acts that hit the spot it seems a tad unfair to select a few but they were the sparklers and cherries that stood out of the cocktail of delights that Julian and his team had artfully blended to form Blues On The Farm 2015. Friday was full of shows that just prove the diversity and depth of British Blues for me it had to be The Jar Family they add that dimension that make festivals fizz and sparkle closely followed by Layla Zoe, The Hoax and the final special moment the firework lighting up the sky Mud Morganfield and his authentic blues. The sparkle in Saturdays cocktail definitely shaken rather than stirred was Kaz Hawkins and her Band O’ Men and Sunday’s it had to be that act with a difference with fire in its cocktail mix Rodney Brannigan & John Pointer where beat box meets acoustic with a novelty trick or two thrown in. We are now counting down to the 25th Blues on The Farm 2016.

 

From Thursday evening through to Sunday night, the weather stayed fine, the sun shone, people had fun, food was enjoyed and the beer and Pimms flowed what more do you need to make everything perfect quality live music and that we all had with the twenty live acts and a drum workshop it was a full festival banquet.
Opening the event were two fine bands that got the crowds in the mood and the campers full of party spirit, with the surprise of an impromptu guest singer when Jo Harman joined Kokomo on stage. Friday afternoon the crowds swelled as the award of a Friday afternoon away from the office were rewarded by a talented young band Stark who a put the electric into rocky blues with a different way of playing the resonator and arrangements of classics including some Blind Willie Jefferson. They were fun and entertaining a young band with lots to offer. As ever this is the festival that rings the changes no band is ever the same as the rest on the set, with a quick sound check and the ever superb sound and lighting men had the stage ready for a five piece Owen and the Mockingbirds they knew how to entertain with their country blues with self-penned numbers that, despite at times lacking that magic that makes them different, the appreciative crowd enjoyed this knowing that the choice of beers and cider to be tasted throughout the weekend and then the lure of yummy doughnut rings would provide entertaining accompaniment.

The Jar Family  - Friday BotF - June 2015_0067lReturning again this year following a successful debut at the festival in 2015 The Jar Family built up the tempo and added their unique, eclectic mix of folk, roots and a touch of Hartlepool Americana shaped into their music, which they call Industrial Folk. They certainly didn’t disappoint they were very good last year but the excelled in 2015, a team of six men make the jar full of music that fills the marquee, across the field and into the campsite beckoning everyone to get up dance, smile and enjoy this band that adds a spark to any festival. They delivered a spellbinding set as they all took turns to lead sharing vocal duties with their fine tuneful voices and songs that reflect the experiences of life of folk today, they took the roof off the marquee and no wonder an encore was screamed for and they happily obliged, as they left the stage the whole festival wished Lee a happy wedding day on the Saturday. How was Julian going to follow that act, easy for a man who has planned festivals for twenty-four years he follows up with three headline acts in a row, Layla Zoe; The Hoax and Mud Morganfield who just kept raising the excitement of the festival.
Layla Zoe  - Friday BotF - June 2015_0068lLayla Zoe knows how to pull the crowd in close she has a voice that is full of emotion mirroring the drama she brings to the stage with her flowing hair and raunchy approach to her interaction with her guitarist and all the good things musically, the rhythm section is solid and the guitars solos were pure delight; she showcased her latest album Live At Spirit 66 and The Lily was a special moment in the set but the real tingling on the back of the neck was her a Capella encore of The Beatles Let It Be; follow that The Hoax. They certainly did returning once again to the farm having first performed at Pump Farm twenty-two years ago we were all so much The Hoax  - Friday BotF - June 2015_0041lyounger then. The group is as popular today when they play a few special gigs when they can all get together. Jesse’s guitar work is sublime with Jon to match at the other side of the stage and Hugh as the frontman still draws our attention. They are still a British Blues super group the tent was crammed and the fans up front were transfixed as they sang along to every lyric they played our favourites and raised the roof with FeedingMud Morganfield  - Friday BotF - June 2015_0067l Time, Gimme A Drink and Shine On were mesmerising as the music cascaded up and down your spine they have the Hoax effect on audiences every time they step onto the stage. The sky was darkening as midsummer sun set on closing this night of festival delight was Mud Morganfield, with his authentic Chicago Blues sound, close your eyes and it is his father the great Muddy Waters on the stage. Leaving you wanting more and already wanting more music tomorrow beckons with another line-up of delights.

Ricky Cool and the In Crowd - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0046lBeer tent visited another ale sampled and Idlewood a young band with loads of potential got the blues tempo underway. There self-penned numbers showed the power of harmonising and had a British pop blues feel that certainly had a pleasing tone. The tempo was raised with a Memphis/Detroit take on the blues when Ricky Cool and the In Crowd stepped up onto the stage. They delivered an accomplished set of rock n’ roll with the twin sax and the hint of swing this was Saturday afternoon dance and party time as we heard some Booker T and so much more. Following the opening acts the vibe was good as the quartet of acts to follow beckoned, the first of this lucky four-leaf clover of blues was the effervescent Sam Kelly’s Station House. Station House - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0015lThey are always a welcome sight on the stage and a pleasing cocktail of free-form eclectic music that stirs you from the sole of your feet to the top of the head. The whole set was perfect for a Saturday afternoon with a twist of funk; a dollop of bleggae and the delight of listening to a quintet of musicians who just love to play the music that sets them on fire. Spy on bass is the smartest player and Sam on drums kicks the band into action their version of Pink Floyd’s Breathe captivated and I Shot The sheriff was fun come back soon you are welcome every time to this friendly festival. Now we have Ben Poole - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0148lsome heavy blues guitar delivered with attitude Ben Poole strode on to stage and let his guitar do the talking, raising the volume and clear any cobwebs we had. Hey Joe is definitely his festival piece with the intriguing intro, you recognise then as you pinpoint the tune he launches into a full assault making this Hendrix number his own.

Kaz Hawkins - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0102lWho could follow that high voltage performance well a lady from Belfast could and did the one and only Kaz Hawkins & Her Band O Men. This is a high energy live act that focusses around the power and delivery of Kaz’s vocals with the added swish of petticoats, stomp of her bright red boots; on top of all that she can play guitar. None of this would be possible without the skill of her band O Men who play to her tune with skill and make sure they are keeping up with her random approach to her show. She has stage presence nay stage domination she is a flash of polka dot whose voice sings the blues with a gruffness, gospel with clarity and her rendition of Nina Simone’s Feelin’ Good the second of the festival was for me the best I have ever heard. The croJive Aces - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0052lThe crowd at times were rowdy but she dealt with them there is a no-nonsense approach to Kaz when singing her music and dealing with fools in the crowd, if you missed her this weekend check out the act and get to see her soon; closing with Etta James’ I Just Want To Make Love To You we were in heaven and wanted more. There was more music, this was time to refresh yourselves, put on your dancing shoes as the stage was set for The Jive Aces; a band coordinated in eye-catching yellow they swung into action with some jive and rock n’ roll numbers that were the perfect finale to party Saturday night away.

Malaya Blue - Sunday BotF - June 2015_0028lWith a few hours’ sleep it was all too soon the final day many friends met and new friends made it was time for the music opening with Malaya Blue who coincided opening the last day of the festival with the launch of her single Hope from her forthcoming album. Following up from Bourbon Street, Malaya’s approach to the blues is very different form the energy charged approach of the two power divas Layla and Kaz. Malaya’s approach is gentler more constrained and it is fantastic to have three women heading talented bands one each day for the festival; this set-up is fairly new and building their presence on the circuit which will surely grow as we get to know Malaya’s brand of blues with soul. The next band, The Cajun Roosters, drew the audience away from the sun and into the stage area to hear Louisiana Cajun based music, with fiddle and squeeze box Cajun Rooster - Sunday BotF - June 2015_0056lthis was sunny afternoon music you have to dance and smile as the beat with its infectious quality as much of the set was sung in French patois. Now newt was something completely different, a duo of Rodney Brannigan and John Pointer. Rodney has entertained this festival before and today accompanied by a fellow Texan he added more to the always entertaining event. There was everything in the set some great acoustic guitar with the addition of percussive fingerstyle guitar pioneered by Michael Hedges, which captivated everyone listening this afternoon. The Stomp box was huge, the beat box was a stylish and the mix of instruments changed with a blink of an eyelid. This was a complex act Rodney Branigan and John Pointer - Sunday BotF - June 2015_0059lfor any sound desk with twenty-seven inputs but nothing phases BOTF who are never afraid to book acts that stretch your boundaries and delight every time . Closing the imaginative set with his trademark playing two guitars at the same time Rodney once again delivered what a festival needs some excitement this certainly pleased the crowds with its originality, energy and skills. Phew after that you need to draw breath and before you know it Champion Doug Veitch changed the groove again with a mix of Cajun swing with a brass section which added energy and that unique musical range. We saw some country dancing as the audience enthusiastically joined in with the musical delights, a real feel-good band playing music they love with the audience warming to the show with every song delivered. With just two bands left on the longest day that coincided with Father’s Day there were lots of happy people who were delighted to dance and join in the fun as Brilleaux from New Zealand delivered Dr Feelgood style music much of which Brilleaux - Sunday BotF - June 2015_0024lwere self-penned. In between they played some great early British R ‘n’ B from Yardbirds to Billy Fury. This was a crowd pleasing high energy set and the delight of the band and many of the audience was when John Potter key board player in bands with WilKo Johnson including Solid Sender, Wilko Johnson Band adding some authentic 1960’s vibe. This was a real festival moment that everyone present will remember for a long time leaving Brothers Groove to close this 24th Blues On The Farm Festival. This was the perfect set to bring a blues festival to a cheering, barnstorming close leaving everyone wanting more music and countdown to the twenty-fifth anniversary Blues on The Farm Festival; with Julian asking if we had any bands we want to hear next year, let him know and they will be considered!

Skegness 2015: JAKS and Introducing Stage

Red Butler - Skegness - 23rd-15th Jan 2015 - _0075l

Great British Rock & Blues

Butlins, Skegness 2015 –

JAKS and Introducing Stage

 

Split Whiskers Band - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0029lThe music plays for three days and nights across four stages at the Great Rock & Blues Festival, Butlin’s, Skegness, the last weekend in January draws many to the cold East Coast.
There is so much to offer that there is no way to see and take in every act and for many people there are favourite stages especially for many of the regulars and there are a loyal band who spend the majority of their time in the Blues Matters sponsored stage JAKS with its quirky décor and a mix of music through the day from midday and late into the night only taking a break between 4.30 – 8pm where the Introducing Stage in the Sky Pavilion fills the gap.

Jack Hutchinson Band- Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0031l

I saw and missed some amazing moments on both stages, I needed to eat re-charge my batteries and catch up with people and sometimes get away from music!

Mick Simpson & Malaya Blue - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0054l

Rebecca Downes - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0007lFriday the music started for me on the Introducing Stage, after a long drive coffee and music was the perfect antidote. The band that opened the music fest was Starvin’ Sid a great entertaining act to get the weekend off with a smile and this year every day we had a chance to vote with a plastic token for our favourite act; the process overlooked by Blues In Britain team; the prize the chance to play a main stage in 2016. The sets that followed were varied and full of live music energy including Jack Hutchinson who was impressive and must have been a contender and we would see his style again during the jam at JAK’s. Ged Wilson was a solo acoustic performer who delivered a mix of standards and self-penned and like Starvin’ Sid would make a music pub a real attraction. The last act was Rebecca Downes; who went on to win the popular vote she has a great voice and her stage presence is dynamic as the crowds grew the excitement in the Skyline grew. Her act was much more interactive and full on with real character and a great backing band. Rebecca Downes certainly attracted all the right attention tonight.

Split Whiskers Band - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0016lIn JAKS the atmosphere was building and was hot with a happy crowd when I dropped by to hear the end of a great set from Split Whiskers who as ever entertained with an array of numbers that got everyone in the mood for music to dance. They are a colourful band with a great full-on sound which went down a treat. Red Butler followed, this is a young band that just keep on delivering stunning displays of musicianship. They hit the road running with a real racy number that showcased Jane as the vocal diva of the band and Alex’s exceptional slide guitar playing on Movin’ On. The set had a mix of songs and throughout were numbers off their excellent debut CD Freedom Bound; starting off with Pension Blues. There is no doubt this is a band that we will be seeing more of during 2015 they are talented, have charisma and really want to entertain you. With Jane’s vocals, stage presence and great backing musicians they really hit the spot, with their take on Shakin’ All Over being quite unique and is fast becoming a signature. For many they were the band of the whole weekend. They did have the whole of JAKS lapping up music and a great new number Gambling Man was very reminiscent of early cream no wonder they were the talk of Butlins 2015. Red Butler - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0008lThe tempo went down a notch with Malaya Blue Band; as Malaya’s voice lacks the power of Jane’s and has a more jazz blues feel, though without doubt this is a lady who can sing, with a great band to back her vocals with a strong rhythm section of Simon Dring & Trev Turley. Though personally the music was fine and the interpretation was distinctive on the whole this was a nice set that lacked the high-voltage energy thaMick Simpson & Malaya Blue - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0042lt a late night session at JAKS normally has. What it did show was the wide range, depth and breadth of female vocals delivering the blues in their own unique way in Britain in 2015 as Malaya was the fifth charismatic female vocalist of the weekend so far across the stages.

 

Saturday afternoon is all about the Jam in JAKS run with precision making this a perfect venue for musicians to enjoy participating in the jam and the audience to delight in the rawness and never knowing what act was coming up next.

Riotous Brothers - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0045lThe popular act on The Introducing Stage was first up Lost Minute who started playing to about 100 the music bought people to the stage and by the end the area was packed with over 500 music lovers demanding an encore. This band definitely hit the right spot and was the winner tonight. The other two bands I heard on this stage were Riotous Brothers and I was looking forward to the set having reviewed their album and I was impressed. The band connected with the audience with dancers enjoying the lively and entertaining set. Riotous Brothers certainly understand they are there to entertain and they did just that. I also heard Pierre K Band who had travelled from Belgium to entertain us and they delivered blues, with hefty takes on blues standards, tonight the keys were missing and this was a loss and as a three-piece they didn’t quite deliver the sound produced on their current album.

Pierre K Band - Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0001l

Richard Townend - Sunday - Butlins, Skegness - Jan 2015 - _0017lAll to soon it was the last day of the weekend, with another two sessions that would suit the mood, starting with laid back and a quality acoustic set from Richard Townend; this was a perfect start to a Sunday JAKS always hit the spot on the Sunday afternoon, we heard some acoustic gems and a moving tribute to Alan Turing as he delivered an entertaining set, looking forward to 2016 when he brings back to JAKS with his band The Mighty Bosscats. I also popped back to hear Malaya Blue Band acoustic set for a short time, this afternoon she was joined by Will Johns as well has her band and the stripped down suited her vocal range. I was a bit disappointed that from what I heard it was the same set as Friday but suited this slot on a Sunday. The Introductory stage bough another four bands and another chance to vote the stage was getting more popular and Stark opening the proceedings and were very popular form comments I heard, Struggle Buggy were a competent country Blues band but the accolades went to the last band of the weekend on this stage The Della Grants, it was no surprise to hear they won the popular vote. This young four-piece blues bands delivered with great vocals and played some genuine blues, they certainly have bags of potential.

The Della Grants - Jan 2015 - _0017l

Laura Holland Band - Jan 2015 - _0041lJAKS on Sunday night was ready to party as Roadhouse filled their spot with the music they love to play and the crowds certainly enjoyed them once again. Laura Holland Band who delivered Rock N’Roll/Swing style music that certainly filled the dance floor. Laura fronted the band with aplomb, with here great stage presence and vocals that’s suited the music being delivered. JAKS felt like it had entered a time-warp and was back in the late 1950’s with tracks including Spoonful and I need your love So Bad. The music played on until the early hours with The Robin Robertson Blues Band but an earlyish night beckoned been another music packed weekend once again.

JAKS BAR
Friday: 8 -2.00pm
Split Whiskers Band*
Red Butler*
Mick Simpson & Malaya Blue*

Saturday: Midday – 4.30 pm 8– 2pm
Roadhouse Jam
The Dave Thomas Band
Sharon Colgan Band
Jed Thomas Band

Sunday: Midday – 4.30 pm 8– 2pm
Richard Townend*
Jo Bywater
Mick Simpson & Malaya Blue (Acoustic)*
Roadhouse
Laura Holland Band*
The Robin Robertson Blues Band

Introducing Stage
Friday 4-8pm
Starvin’ Sid
Jack J Hutchinson*
Ged Wilson
Rebecca Downes*

Saturday 4-8pm
Lost Minute*
The Riotous Brothers*
Victoria Klewin & The Mojohands
Pierre K Band*

Sunday 4-8pm
Stark
George Shovlin’ and the Radars
Struggle Buggy*
The Della Grants*

This slideshow requires JavaScript.