Stage is set for hotly-anticipated return of Dereham Blues Festival

Jamie Roe Band performing at Strikes in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Blues Festival is back for 2022 - Credit: Archant

Final preparations are being made ahead of the eagerly-awaited return of Dereham Blues Festival. 

The musical extravaganza is set to attract thousands of people to the mid-Norfolk town from Wednesday, July 6 to Sunday, July 10.

The Mojo Preachers performing at the Dereham Blues Festival. Picture: Ian Burt

A scene from a previous edition of Dereham Blues Festival - Credit: Archant

It follows an enforced two-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

But organisers are now promising a "bigger festival than we have ever seen before", with around 70 bands and artists playing in 17 venues, from pubs and bars to sports and social clubs. 

Harry Collins, chairman of the festival, said: "After two years of Covid restrictions, Dereham Blues Festival is ready to put Dereham firmly at the centre of Norfolk’s cultural mix, making it a must-visit place in the region this summer.

"It is amazing but, even after two years of silent guitars, drums collecting dust and voices not being stretched to their full blues capacity, this festival is truly back - bigger and better than any previous year since 2013 when it started. 

Scenes from the 2014 Dereham Blues Festival - Dove and Boweevil play at the Bull. Picture: Matthew U

Around 70 bands will play across the town during Dereham Blues Festival - Credit: Archant

"The blues as a music genre is a true and resilient survivor."

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As usual, proceedings will get under way with the opening concert on Wednesday evening.

Kyla Brox, whose raw talent has seen her described as “the finest female blues singer of her generation”, will entertain a sell-out crowd at Dereham Memorial Hall. 

She will be followed by When Rivers Meet, led by husband and wife Aaron and Grace Bond who hail from Essex but met in Downham Market. 

When Rivers Meet will play at the opening concert of Dereham Blues Festival 2022

When Rivers Meet will play at the opening concert of Dereham Blues Festival 2022 - Credit: Colin Collis

Last year they won four gongs at the UKBlues Awards, including band of the year and album of the year.

Over the ensuing three days, Dereham is set to come alive to the sounds of all sorts of blues and soul music.

This year, an open-air busking event will be held for the first time as part of the festivities. 

Sponsored by the Norfolk Blues Society, the ‘Blues Busk’ will feature an array of seasoned buskers, as well as up and coming local blues talent.

Eight solo artists, duos and bands will entertain revellers at the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham town centre throughout Saturday (July 9) afternoon from 1pm. 

For the full list of bands, venues and performance times, visit derehambluesfestival.org.uk and select 'Program 2022'.