Music festival brings cheer to wash away the Covid blues

Having skipped a year due to the pandemic, the ninth annual Leek Blues & Americana Festival was back with a vengeance with five days of live music featuring 70 acts playing in 20 venues around the town.

Despite the lingering effect of Covid19 and a limit on capacity at ticketed events, festival goers were treated to some great music from artists from the UK, Europe, and north America.

Headline acts included US singer songwriters Jerry Joseph and Jesse Malin, blues and gospel singer Kyla Brox, anarchic harmonica and beatbox virtuoso, Son of Dave and a solo performance from hard-hitting blues singer/songwriter, Ian Siegal.

The free live music programme started on Thursday with bands playing gigs up until the festival ‘Last Call’ at the Roebuck on Sunday night where any musicians still standing took to the outdoor stage for one final jam session.

Festival organiser JR Mountford said: “After what has been an especially tough time for musicians and the hospitality industry it was great to be able to stage the 2021 Blues & Americana Festival. The musicians, the audience and the venues were so eager to enjoy the occasion and the music and atmosphere didn’t disappoint.

“We had two new larger venues this year in the Maude and the Silk Mill which gave us more flexibility to showcase acts.

“Thanks to the help of all the great venues and our sponsors 90 per cent of the performances are free entry. There is twelve months of hard work goes into this and I’m personally grateful to all the organisers who volunteer their time, the great venues, our sponsors and of course the talented musicians and devoted fans who bring the festival to life.”

One post on Facebook summed up the festival, saying: “Thanks for a great couple of days in Leek, my new favourite town – hope to come back soon.”

Festival sponsors were SyTech IT, Leek Town Council, Railtrail Tours, PubHead, Ornua, Leek Arts Festival, Approach Dementia Support, Blues Matters magazine, Leek Town Lands Trust, ctd architects, Old Smithy Tattoo and Mark Brammar Associates.

Photo: Steve Ajao – by Mark Brammar