East Coast Blues Festival 2004

The Farm, Chapel St Leonards - Friday 30 June to Sunday 1 June

The Farm at Chapel St Leonards was the place to be last weekend if you were a fan of blues music. Unfortunately due to other commitments during the week we missed the opening night of the Second East Coast Blues Festival and time constraints prevent a full review of Saturday and Sunday's acts. People all over the weekend were talking about how brilliant The Melt and Aynsley Lister performed on Friday night. A cold sea breeze and some intermittent light rain meant that fleeces and waterproofs were needed on Saturday, but Sunday afternoon the sun shone on the festival.

Saturday's music opened with King Rollo's Upfoot Blues Band, great favourites at the venue. Next up American guitarist / songwriter Matthew Fox performed a set of mainly original material, including 'One Night' which featured on a live session broadcast on BBC Radio 2's Paul Jones show. Blues fans from the Leicester area swelled the audience considerably, they had turned out to support two acts from the area, Mick Ridgeway's Mojo Hand and Ann Duggan and Beyond The Blue. Mojo Hand are a goodtime band who encourage their audiences to participate with some of their blues covers. Beyond The Blue are a class act, they feature singer Ann Duggan who puts great emphasis into each of the songs she sings. They play original music that encompasses a variety of styles, not just blues. There's hints of jazz, country, rock and even a folky edge to one song. By the time Claude Bourbon took the stage the hidden sun was setting, as ever the Anglo-based Frenchman treated us to some superb guitar playing. With darkness falling and the chilly weather it was decided (by the audience) to continue the rest of the festival inside. Dan Phelps, the second American to perform played some great old style blues on steel guitar in the bar. Dan who has been touring with Matthew Fox also performed on the Paul Jones show. Both artists are planning to return to the UK in 2005, and if you enjoy acoustic blues make sure to go along to see them play if they are in your area!

Cliff Stocker's Slack Alice wowed the audience in the function room with their exciting mix of original numbers and covers of songs from ZZ Top to Janis Joplin. The band's set features several songs from their forthcoming album 'English Eddie and Other Stories' due for an Autumn release. The latest addition to their live set, 'Preacher' features Chris Preston on slide guitar, newest recruit Lee Davies on drums and Cliff Stocker with his amazing vocals performing as a trio, at the end of their set even the other artists were calling for an encore.

Back in the bar Derrin Nauendorf was performing a solo spot, amazing the audience with his guitarwork. Whilst his material is more roots based rather than out and out blues, blues audiences everywhere have warmed to his stunning original songs, and those at The Farm were no exception, giving him a standing ovation.

With such an array of talent performing during the day, the Slim Line Papas were almost embarrassed to be the final act of the night. The Lincolnshire based act were making their first appearance at the venue, and impressed all with their uptempo rockabilly influenced blues. We took our leave after they left the stage after a well deserved encore, though we understand there was a early morning jam session featuring some of the artists playing during the day and a talented local musician Jack Broadbent.

We returned on Sunday afternoon to enjoy some more great music from Lincoln band Blues Connection, Dr A's Blues Consortium and the Lyndon Anderson Band. Blues Connection got the sunny afternoon off to a great start with their laid back country blues and ragtime music. Their sets feature some diverse music, including Eric Bibb's lovely modern song 'Shingle By Shingle' and 'Signifying Monkey' by the Big Three Trio. Harmonica player 'Easy' Bob Reid from Blues Connection also joined Dr A's Blues Consortium for their spot. Their set featured some John Mayall songs, including 'Wake Up Call', 60's style blues, as well as songs from Van Morrison and Brian May. Led by Dr A on keyboards and guitar, whose repartee with both band members, soundmen and audience was entertaining, the Blues Consortium feature both male and female singers, though for their appearance at the Farm the band's regular harmonica and sax players were unavailable.

The third act, the Lyndon Anderson Band were a new name to many in the audience, including ourselves. A relatively young band, they impressed with their professional approach and musicianship. Led by vocalist and harmonica player Anderson, the band hail from the Blyth area in North East. The original slow blues number 'Sinner' was especially memorable. The band are currently working on their debut CD, which will feature self penned songs.

Unfortunately with time pressing we missed the closing act, the ever popular Starvin' Sid. Hopefully there will be more East Coast Blues Festivals in the future, organisers Kate, Andy and Martin and all the staff at The Farm deserve a special mention for their hard work organising what turned out to be an excellent festival and for bringing such great acts to Lincolnshire for local people to enjoy.