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Dates revealed for popular Norfolk festival

PUBLISHED: 13:38 16 October 2019

Hamilton Loomis performs at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBF

Hamilton Loomis performs at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBF

Colin Collis/DBF

Dates have been revealed for a staple event in the calendar which sees thousands flock to Dereham.

Pistol Pete performing at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBFPistol Pete performing at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBF

Next year's Dereham Blues Festival will take place from July 8 to 12, attracting visitors from around the country as blues fever grips mid Norfolk.

The annual extravaganza, which sees bands and solo artists perform across the town, will again launch with an opening headline concert before entertainment continues over the following four days.

Last year's event saw no less than 50 blues acts play in 13 different venues, which were all free to attend and will remain so in 2020.

The opening gig at Dereham's Memorial Hall proved a show-stopper, with Texan blues guitarist Hamilton Loomis wowing the crowd with his supreme power, showmanship and blues virtuosity.

Hamilton Loomis performs at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBFHamilton Loomis performs at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBF

Loomis, an up-and-coming star in the States, was capably supported by Norfolk's own international bluesman, Ron Sayer, backed by top local back line The Shunters Blues Band from Norfolk Blues Society.

Now heading into its eighth year, the festival will once again see town centre restaurants, pubs, bars and other venues brimming with music-lovers as they enjoy some of the world's finest blues acts.

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Praising the performers who consistently return to Dereham to be part of this popular celebration, festival chairman Harry Collins said: "Their passion and energy is a real factor in attracting younger musicians and audiences.

Hamilton Loomis performs at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBFHamilton Loomis performs at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBF

"Blues is very much alive in Norfolk."

Dereham Blues Festival was founded in 2013 by local blues aficionados Stewart and Doreen Aitken, and has since grown from strength to strength.

The 2019 festival was bigger and better than ever, extending over five days for the first time - an evolution that will be repeated in 2020.

Organised and run each year by a dedicated group of volunteers, the musical showcase is unique in the way each venue holds its own programme of 'free to enter' gigs.

Martin McNeill performing at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBFMartin McNeill performing at Dereham Blues Festival 2019. Picture: Colin Collis/DBF

Some host heavier bands, while others offer acoustics blues and jam sessions

Preparations for next year's festival are well under way and further announcements will be made over the coming months.

Any bands or artists interested in performing should visit the Dereham Blues Festival website to apply.

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