Rising stars and award winners play at Uckfield Blues and Roots Festival

Red Butler
Red Butler

The Uckfield Blues and Roots Festival returns from Thursday, July 30, to Sunday, August 2.

Up-and-coming bands will play alongside award-winning established artists at the event, held at multiple venues across the town.

Headline acts include Grainne Duffy, voted top vocalist and joint-best solo act in the UK Blues Writers Poll for 2014, and the Nigel Bagge Band.

Thursday night sees the return of Tony Davenport and an exclusive acoustic performance from Grainne, guitarist Paul Sherry and keyboard player Steve Watts in Holy Cross Church.

The Sussex-based Nigel Bagge and his band will headline Friday evening in Uckfield Civic Centre, followed by David Migden and the Twisted Roots on Saturday at the same venue.

Red Butler return to the festival on Saturday with the freshly won title of ‘Best New UK Act 2014’ in the writers’ poll for ‘Blues Matters’.

On Sunday the festival moves to the Highlands Inn, with a free afternoon performance held outside from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

More acts will play indoors for a ticket-paying audience from 6.30pm until 10.30pm.

A raffle and auction will be held throughout the festival in aid of the Yellow Fish Hutchins Foundation, which supports various Sussex charities. Raffle prizes include a guitar donated by Abbey Music, Tunbridge Wells and a CD, both signed by all participants.

Auction bidders will try to bag a day at Yellow Fish Music to do a studio recording of their own CD.

Graham Pope who is part of the team organising the 2015 show, emphasised that the music would be primarily upbeat.

“We want it to be the sort of thing that people leave with a buzz from,” he explained.

Graham has been organising live music events as a hobby for the past ten years and is keen for the festival to retain its personality.

He said: “The sum of all the thing is being up close and meeting the artists.”

He added: “You can do that at a smaller festival.”

The festival is now in its third year and has quickly become a hit with locals and music lovers alike.

Commenting on last year’s performance, critic Nigel Foster said: “From my perspective the main reasons for the success of the Festival, the diversity of the acts and the sheer friendliness and exuberance demonstrated by the artists.”

Ben who took part in 2014 with the band ‘Spikedrivers’ said: “We’ve had some nice feedback about the festival and I think that you’re building something really special.”

Graham intends to keep interest growing in the future.

He said: “I like to think that we could become regarded as one of the best small music festivals.”

Interested artists are already down for next year’s festival.

“We already have loads and loads of enquires,” said Graham.

He added: “Next year isn’t full yet. If people are interested they need to get in touch.”

A full schedule is available online at www.uckfieldbluesandroots.co.uk, with music samples and tickets for all evening performances.

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