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Bye, bye blues, but you brought us joy

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They call it the blues, but it brought an awful lot of joy to music fans attending the last Hebden Bridge Blues Festival.

With a number of town centre venues including the Old Gate, Crown Inn, Marshall’s Bar, The Vine, the White Swan and the Pennine Club joining the main stage at Hope Baptist Church and second stage venue Salem Mill, the town centre resembled Beale Street in Memphis, with contemporary blues music available at every turn.

And apart from the main and secondary stage venues, much of it was free as the others became “juke joints” in the great blues tradition.

With some artists travelling thousands of miles to be here - and others somewhat shorter distances, including local heroes Private Dicks and the Revelator Band - it gave the festival a great send-off.

Last week Jason Elliott of the organising committee confirmed that the fourth festival would be the last as he and the other main co-organisers Paddy Maguire, Kate Dakers and Jenna Hooson, wanted to move on to other projects.

It was a great send-off, and during those years it’s fair to say Hebden became a capital of the blues - the 2012 and 2013 occasions were voted “Best Blues Festival” in the annual British Blues Festival Awards.

Its hallmark was to specialise in featuring contemporary blues, looking forward rather than back, a goal in which most fans would agree it succeeded admirably.

 

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