THE first Wotton-under-Edge Blues Festival has been hailed as a major success following a weekend of free music in the town.

Paid for by some of the local pubs along with sponsorship and aided by a team of volunteers 25 local bands and acts played more than thirty performances in eight different venues across the town in a programme guaranteed to suit all tastes. There were also six workshops in which budding musicians could learn from experts and hone their skills as well as two blues-related films being shown in the town’s cinema.

Chair of the organising committee, Jim Sinkinson, is delighted with the way the festival was received in the town. He said: “I heard more than one person saying that it was about time something like this was held. I am also aware that people came from a very wide area to enjoy the free entertainment. Enjoy it they did, with several businesses in the town benefitting. Two of the town’s pubs ran out of beer on Saturday night and I understand that at least one of our shops is reported to have doubled its usual takings.”

The festival came about following a visit last year by the President of Wotton’s Chamber of Trade, Alex Wilkinson, to Upton-upon-Severn in Worcestershire where they hold an annual festival of blues music. He reasoned that if they could do it then so could Wotton-under-Edge. So, largely through Under The Edge Arts and in collaboration with the Swan Hotel’s Blues Club, the festival took shape.

Dave Draisey, who runs the Blues Club, booked the music and also played with Route 61, one of the bands, said: “Anything which brings people into the town and encourages them to spend their money is to be supported. I am so pleased with its success and proud of the way the team of volunteers has brought it to fruition.”

He added: “We are already talking of a repeat next year!”

Pictures courtesy of Under-the-Edge Media