BluesFest London 27 June-3 July

Booker TLeo Green, saxophonist and son of broadcaster Benny Green, is the mastermind behind BluesFest London (27 June-3 July, 2011), which he sees as the first event of its kind since the late lamented Capital/JVC Festival of the 1980s.

Despite the title, there'll be bluesy jazz as well as blues proper, the roster including BB King, Dr John, Booker T (pictured), Buddy Greco, Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen, Monty Alexander, Georgie Fame, Chris Barber, Claire Martin and Annie Ross.

Leo says: "Ever since the Capital/JVC Festival disappeared a very long time ago, I believe there has been nothing which serves to entice the general public of all ages to go and hear great blues and jazz from an international roster of artists here in London."

The festival claims "this is the first time in decades that the UK has hosted a festival dedicated to the worlds of blues, soul and jazz."

The appearance of Chris Barber marks the 50th anniversary of the first National Jazz & Blues Festival in 1961, where he also performed.

However, the festival diverges from the early Capital/JVC idea in not being in one location. It will effectively be a concert series, with events spread across the city, from the O2 in Greenwich to Bush Hall in Shepherd's Bush.

It's not clear how many of the events at week-round venues such as the 100 Club and Pizza Express are routine bookings but it seems that some, such a Booker T and BB King are specific to BluesFest.

The event has the backing of a London mayor Boris Johnson, who says: "It's thrilling to be able to welcome a new music festival to London. The blues may have originated in the US, but they have provided the beating heart of British pop music, from Georgie Fame and the Rolling Stones to Adele."

More at

Relax with the luxurious print edition of Jazz Journal and enjoy more jazz news, reviews, features and debate.

post a comment