Gloucester Blues Festival 2016: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Laurence Jones  on the Green Stage at Greyfriars, Cafe Rene

Blues Festival Green Stage at Greyfriars, Cafe Rene, 2015

This summer Marketing Gloucester have announced that they will be organising ‘The Summer of Music Arts and Culture (SoMAC)’.

Running from July to August it will build on the success of last year’s Rugby World Cup celebrations and include a whole range of cultural events: some regular events and some new. I am confident that it will be fantastic and just what the city needs to inject life and colour through the summer.

One announcement that I was less happy about, however, was the plan to extend the annual Rhythm and Blues festival to two weeks.

Steve Walwyn and Sam Powell at Peppers

Steve Walwyn and Sam Powell at Peppers, 2014

This may come as a surprise to any regular readers out there as you will know that I am a big enthusiast for the Blues Festival – see my blog about last year’s event in two parts here and here.

However, I fear this may be too much of a good thing.

In recent years the Blues Festival has run for two weekends plus the full week in between, and I have tried to attend every day. With a couple of judicious days off work this ambition is achievable – I haven’t actually managed all nine days yet, but I have got close and this year I was determined to succeed.

Sons of the Delta, Cross Keys, 2011

Sons of the Delta, Cross Keys, 2011

But surely two whole weeks is just not achievable.

The thought of all that drinking, late nights and general debauchery for a full fourteen days brings me out in a sweat. I have suspicions that someone is trying to kill me!

I am sure that the festival will be as excellent as ever and I hope that the pubs will benefit greatly from their involvement, but for me I fear I have two possible choices:

  1. Attend less of it. What I will probably do is be selective. I will pick those days that look the most appealing. This means that I will potentially miss a lot of very good bands that I have never heard of before and I will almost certainly end up spending less time overall at the festival than I have in the past.
  2. Risk getting sacked, divorced or dead in an attempt to do it all.

You see my problem.

Rabbit Foot at New Inn, 2011

Rabbit Foot at New Inn, 2011


About Darrel Kirby

I am what I am.
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10 Responses to Gloucester Blues Festival 2016: Too Much of a Good Thing?

  1. Mark says:

    We’ll just have to grit our teeth and go for option 2. It seems the most reasonable thing to do, doesn’t it?

  2. Norman Downer says:

    I’ve been abroad but have just read your blog re the 2-week Blues Festival. I too am a great fan of this festival and share your doubts. My concerns are that fewer people will attend individual gigs – reason: when only over 1 week, it concentrates the mind as to who and when you’ll go and see, and you’ll be more likely to make a decision. This leads, of course, to fewer people attending altogether, which will not be good for the pubs, the performers or the audiences. I assume Marketing Gloucester is the culprit – I wonder on what grounds the decision was made?

    • Darrel Kirby says:

      Marketing Gloucester made the decision, I’m sure, based on best intentions. And maybe based on better data than my personal opinion. However, I fear you are right. Add in the extra cost to the pubs of providing bands for more dates and it could prove to be a very bad decision. Hopefully we are wrong.

      • Norman Downer says:

        It seems that Marketing Gloucester may have reconsidered Darrel; good for them, and us, and the bands, and the pubs!

      • Darrel Kirby says:

        And especially good for my liver!

  3. Norman Downer says:

    Hi Darrel – I don’t know about you but I can’t find the schedule, performers and locations for this year’s festival anywhere! I’ve got the Cafe Rene list, but can’t find any others – any clues?

  4. Darrel Kirby says:

    That link takes you just to the Cafe Rene part of the festival – people often confuse the Cafe Rene festival for the whole Blues Festival and it is not helped by the absence of information on other venues. The only thing that I have seen to confirm other venues are involved is, but it doesn’t give any details. The Festival website still has last year’s line up on it.

  5. Darrel Kirby says:

    Spoke to Marketing Gloucester, line up should be published shortly.

  6. Darrel Kirby says:

    Schedule is starting to come together –

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