A mixture of old favourites and first-timers have been lined-up to perform at 2016’s Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival this August Bank Holiday weekend.
The organisers were determined to keep the four day event fresh and exciting and big names booked include legendary Wilko Johnson, favourites Nine Below Zero, former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden, much requested Dave Edmunds, rising British Blues/Rock trio Wille and The Bandits.
American singer Nikki Hill will be making her festival debut and there are still a host of names yet to be confirmed.
There are several big changes planned to give the festival a different feel, and these will be most noticable at the International Stage and the British Stage.
When it comes to capturing the true spirit of the Blues in an intimate setting, nowhere offers a parallel to the extremely popular Acoustic Stage.
Year-on-year hundreds of people pack themselves into one half of the Muni and year-on-year hundreds of people miss out due to its popularity.
This has been taken on board by the festival organisers and for 2016 the Acoustic Stage will move into the much bigger setting of the International Stage in the form of Acoustic Afternoons.
On Saturday and Sunday, between 2pm and 6-30pm, acoustic musicians will be able to perform to a much bigger audience; then the venue will revert back to the International Stage for the night, featuring an array of high calibre Blues talent the festival is known for.
Friday night will remain the same and the music will finish at 6-30pm on Monday, following an afternoon of top-class international acts in order to end this 27th annual event on a high.
Also new for 2016 will be Pendle Hippodrome Theatre, just off Colne’s main high street and with a capacity of just under 500, becoming the home of the British Stage.
The amateur-run theatre is a stunning Georgian building with a grand stage and fixed seating, the first few rows of which will be removed to enable people to dance and the balcony will be closed off to keep the intimacy of the venue.
Radio Lancashire will once again take over the proceedings on the Friday night, with a talented line-up, live broadcasts and celebrity interviews; and Monday will be Blues Matters Day, with the popular magazine taking charge of programming.
The Lesser Muni, which in previous years has acted as the Acoustic Stage, will be used to serve food and drink, with background music from buskers.
And there will again be five official roadhouses for 2016, sponsored by Barnfield Construction.
These will be Colne Legion, Colne and Nelson RUFC, The Admiral Lord Rodney, The Crown Hotel and The Little Acoustic Stage at The Little Theatre.
Festival spokesman, Sue Madigan, said: “We are really excited about the changes we are making and hope they will attract a wider audience. Every year we try to cater for all musical tastes and keep the festival alive and fresh with different ideas and initiatives, and we are sure this new venue will bring a whole new feel to the British Stage.”
The changes to the Acoustic and International stages will mean a drop in ticket prices. A full festival ticket will cost £95, but just £85 if bought before 5pm on Friday, June 24th.
This year an individual day ticket for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at the International Stage will cost £28 each; an Acoustic Stage badge, costing £5, will be required for the Afternoon Acoustic Stage on the Saturday and Sunday – these are free with any day tickets; and it will cost just £20 for a Monday afternoon ticket for the International Stage finale.
A British Stage badge, costing £5 for the whole four days, will be required to gain access to this venue and Roadhouse Wristbands will be just £1 for access to the five official venues over the four day event.