Last week Gloucester rocked to the annual Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival, marking its tenth official year. This is possibly my favourite week of the year, as pubs across the city get together to put on some excellent music – all for free.
It was disappointing this year that fewer pubs were involved. Notable absences were the late lamented Pig Inn the City, which closed last October, but also the Dick Whittington and the New Inn, both of which may be down to new management not arriving in time to get involved – the Dick Whittington did have some music anyway, though not in the ‘official’ programme. Hopefully they will be back next year.
All of the other Blues Festival stalwarts were there though: the New County, the Old Bell, the Cross Keys (despite its diminished size), and, of course, the Cafe Rene, which as usual had excellent bands on all week then finished with a whole weekend extravaganza outside Greyfriars.
Also this year there were some new venues. Some non-pub venues got in on the act: the Quays incorporated the opening weekend into their Food Festival and Peppers, an excellent little restaurant in Bull Lane, had some acts early in the day. Further out of town, the Wotton Hall Club in Barnwood also joined in.
The most significant addition, however, was the Brunswick in Park Road. This was more recently Sam’s Bar & Grill, but it closed down and I expected that would be the end of it. But no, it has been re-opened and re-named the Brunswick and is now an excellent live music bar. Mostly it deals in full-on rock music (Saturday nights) but it is also the new home of the Gloucester Blues Club, which meets there on the last Sunday of every month.
It was here that I spent the final moments of the Blues Festival, having torn myself away from the Cafe Rene. The Blues Club came into being at last year’s Blues Festival, so was celebrating its first birthday, which it did in great style with a ‘selection box’ of acts from the festival. A brilliant evening and you could even get food whilst you listened (the Brunny Chow is something well worth seeking out!).
So now it is all over for another year; time to catch up on sleep and allow the liver to recover. But don’t forget, these pubs have music on all year, not just for the Blues Festival, so keep seeking out live music – I try to give updates where I know them on my Facebook Page.
During last year’s festival I was accompanied everywhere by my camera. This year I left it at home and just enjoyed the music, so have no pictures to share. Just so you can get the flavour of it, though, here’s last year’s pics.