The Dereham Blues Festival returns to the town from Wednesday, July 10 with the sound of blues and soul filling venues across the town over five days.

The opening concert on the evening of July 10 at the Dereham Memorial Hall will feature 19-year-old Toby Lee, two-time winner of Young Blues Artist of the Year at the UK Blues Awards and West End star in School of Rock the Musical. He will be joined on the opening night by multi-blues award nominee and winner Catfish.

Jim Niven, a volunteer committee member, said: “It’s a mark of how far the Dereham Blues Festival has grown in prestige and reputation that it keeps attracting the best blues awards-winning acts to come and play in the town. For over a decade now, the town has embraced the Dereham Blues Festival and is a magnificent host to the thousands of visitors who come each year to put Dereham and its festival firmly on the UK map as a premier blues music event. The Dereham Blues Festival has grown and evolved yearly, and the 2024 festival will be no exception.”

Last year saw the introduction of an acoustic blues busking event in Ellenor Fenn Garden, which will be on again this year. But there is more to come for this year’s outing.

Thanks to a grant from Dereham Town Council, several blues and soul music workshops will be open for anyone to attend – and the Greenstones pub and restaurant has joined the list of venues. The committee has thanked the support from the town council and its existing sponsors Minors & Brady, Dereham Taxis, Orchard Caravans, Stephenson Smart and Quote Four.

Before the summer days of blues, Dereham Memorial Hall will host The Big Gig on May 25 featuring Mississippi MacDonald and Santiago and The Soulmovers.

Both played last year’s festival and were big hits and will serve as an appetiser before the main event in July.

(Source: Dereham Times)