Tenby Blues Festival - Never felt more like singing...
Tenby: Sunshine resort & home of the Blues!
Freelance journalist Nick Harding has become something of a fan of Tenby Blues Festival making his third visit in four year.
The walled seaside town may be a popular holiday destination in the summer months, but come November and you’re in for a real musical treat. I should know, I’ve been a regular visitor to the Tenby Blues Festival in recent years.
It’s just coincidence that the annual Tenby Blues Festival usually coincides with my birthday, but – having made it to Tenby three times in the past four years – I think I’ve found the perfect place to celebrate.
Yes, a blues festival. In Wales. If you think you’re not a blues fan, and I must admit I’d never considered myself one before, do reconsider. It’s more a celebration of live music and brilliant musicians. Chicago. Bluegrass. Rhythm and. Welsh...who cares?
Tenby’s Blues festival takes place in all kinds of venues throughout the town, and I do mean all kinds – from the De Valence Pavilion (seating capacity around 700) right down to the smallest, pokiest corners, with everything in between, including restaurants, Tenby Rugby Club, the British Legion and pubs like the Old Bush by the Five Arches, even the occasional impromptu open air act.
It’s not quite an extended pub crawl (although you’re welcome to treat it as such, if you wish). I can’t even remember the band I saw at Fecci’s fish and chip shop one year (it wasn’t Elvis), but the rest of that almost surreal experience will stay with me forever.
Elsewhere, there are daytime and evening events, and Saturday’s unofficial Pub and Club Trail all over town is particularly successful, especially as all gigs here are free.
Bigger acts make a charge, but the £60 or so for a Rover ticket that covers entry to every single event must be one of the best value tickets you’ll get anywhere.
It’s not just about the live acts, either. There are “open mic” sessions at the Giltar Hotel often going on long into the night. Plus, there are all kinds of talks, workshops, exhibitions and more as Tenby (almost) literally paints itself blue for the weekend.
It took a bit of time for traditional American Blues to reach Tenby – the first festival was in 2006 – but it’s been growing stronger ever since, and it’s fair to say Tenby puts its own eclectic spin on its definition of blues. Something for everyone? I’d like to think so.
Do spare a thought, also, for the small army of volunteer who organise the Tenby Blues Festival. They really do put Tenby on the music map.
So, next time you’re wondering what to do to brighten up your winter, head to Tenby and live it up at the Blues Festival... Hopefully, I’ll see you there.
Read more about Tenby.