23rd – 25th AUGUST 2019
1 GREAT FESTIVAL
STORIES OF THE FIRST GREAT BRITISH RHYTHM AND BLUES FESTIVAL
Sharing your stories of ‘back in the day’…
“I was the first winner of the Contemporary Blues Song Of The Year competition, held at the 3rd festival in 1992 on Sunday August 30th at the Little Theatre. Judges were U.S. blues singer Eddie Burks, UK blues guitar maestro Norman Beaker, editor of Detour magazine Dave Deverson, and the (then) producer of the Paul Jones BBC Radio 2 blues show, Dave Shannon.
My winning song was called Someone Else’s Blues. I don’t think many people currently connected to the festival remember the competition, or indeed were even around at the time. But the competition aroused huge interest when the festival first ran it. I was up against professionals in the final and I was thrilled to win. It sort of justified my decision to try and do as much of my own brand of blues as I could. The prize, by the way, was a cheque for £150, a goodly sum in those days.
We were at the first Colne festival in 1990, but only on the first night, the Friday, where Dr Feelgood brought the house down”.
All best wishes, Raphael Callaghan
“Regarding memories of the first festival…
I wasn’t aware of too much publicity prior to the weekend. I set off on that first Friday night not sure what time it commenced and arrived unfashionably early! But the doors opened as soon as I got to them, so along with a handful of others, I was arguably the first person through the door on the first night of the first festival… fame?
I have been every year since. I was also at the legendary performance by the fabulous “Hoax” at the conservative club (The Venue) a superb gig”.
Regards, Jeremy Greenwood.
“I was there, although just for 1 night. I remember seeing Bloodwyn Pig, I have also been to at least some of every Colne Blues since. For the first 3 or 4 years – when the children were younger, I normally only made one night, but since the mid 1990’s I have always been here for the whole week-end – including the bank holiday Monday sessions.
It has always been the best Blues fest in the UK and although I have enjoyed going to many other festivals, this has always been the standard by which to measure the others. The Muni is probably my favourite venue anywhere in which to see bands – and to see world class musicians like Luther Alison and Buddy Guy there was always thrilling (NB Buddy Guy was mid-week, not a festival night).
Seeing other legends like Lonnie Donegan (playing the sports hall when that was ‘British’ and the Muni was the ‘International’ stage) was inspirational – I was so glad the festival had booked him as he died not long afterwards.
I really enjoyed last year, the crowds in the streets reminded me of when the road used to get closed in the early years of the festival. This year, I bought my ticket on the morning ticket sales opened!
Long may the festival last!”
Cheers, Richard Wingham.
“In 1990, while living in Wales, I attended The Bodelwyddan Castle Blues Jamboree in North Wales with my sons who were then aged 7 and 9. It was an all day event showcasing bands from the famous Black Top record label based in New Orleans, I believe.
While we were there, flyers were being handed out for the first Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival at Colne. When we got home, I was quite excited that a weekend long blues festival was going to be held in the UK and for some unknown reason I made an LP cover with the flyers that we had picked up that day.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend the first festival at Colne, but made sure I attended the next 20, when the best bands from the USA played regularly. Highlights were The William Clarke Band, James Harman, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Little Charlie and The Nightcats, Rod Piazza and Sean Costello.
What a great time I had with my boys every year. Great fun camping!
As a result of attending Colne regularly, one of my boys who is now a man of 33, has become a bit of a ‘blues monster’ and he’s doing his best to keep the blues alive by regularly attending gigs”.
Cheers, Jim Stewart
“I can only claim 27 years continuous (although thinking about it, that would include this year’s. But you have to be optimistic 😎). Over the years I’ve seen some great music and met some great people. Also probably drunk way more beer than advisable”.
“I got too ‘merry’ and carried away with the fab array of bands and booze on offer, but legend has it I had a ball! Hence I’ve been coming back to Colne ever since. I love this amazing event, it is part of my history now…”
Many thanks to those who have sent in their stories of the very first blues festival in Colne.
If you were at the event, we’d love to hear from you.
Please email our press lady [email protected], so she can help spread news of your festival tales – many thanks.
Image thanks to Bluesman Mike Francis.