Belfast City Blues Festival makes a welcome return

Pictured are Lee Hedley, Karen Sheals Hoy from American Holidays, Seamus O'Neill, festival director, Lord Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Hargey, Austin Guy from Diageo and Tony Villiers at the Belfast City Blues Festival launch. Photo by Debbie Deboo
Pictured are Lee Hedley, Karen Sheals Hoy from American Holidays, Seamus O'Neill, festival director, Lord Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Hargey, Austin Guy from Diageo and Tony Villiers at the Belfast City Blues Festival launch. Photo by Debbie Deboo
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If you like your blues music, then Belfast is the place to be at the end of next month.

The 11th Belfast City Blues Festival, presented by American Holidays and Brand USA, is back and is set to take place over three days in 24 venues with 45 acts and almost 70 gigs.

The festival, which runs from Friday June 28 to Sunday 30, sees the return of a whole host of festival favourites as well as some new local and visiting acts to the stages.

This year’s tribute to Rory Gallagher, A Taste of Rory, on June 29 at the Black Box, will feature The Pat McManus Band, The Willie Byrne Band and Blackwood.

Maintaining the Rory Gallagher theme this year on June 28 at the Belfast Barge, docked beside the Waterfront Hall, local musicians Sam Davidson (guitar), Albert Mills (drums) and Lyn McMullan (drums) will perform their Tribute To Taste show.

Visiting from London is the Robin Bibi Band, who will be performing throughout the weekend at The Hudson, The John Hewitt and The Northern Whig.

Locally on the line-up will be acts such as Rab McCullough, Speedy Mullan, The Reverend Doc and The Red Hot Roosters, as well as Tony Villiers & The Villains and The Lee Hedley Band, who played the launch.

“There’s always such a fantastic buzz around the whole weekend,” said Lee Hedley. “Belfast really comes alive over those few days.

“I just love playing it - and the guys in the band, they just can’t get enough of it either.”

The Belfast City Blues Festival weekend is packed full of gigs as well as the now famous Blues On The Boat Music Cruises, taking place over the weekend on Belfast Lough. More than just music, there will be complimentary food and drink for all ticket holders. The cruises are set to host top performers such as Rab McCullough, the Rev Doc, the Lee Hedley Band, Tony Villiers & Doc Doherty and the Red Hot Roosters.

Karen Sheals Hoy, Manager of American Holidays, one of the festival’s headline sponsors, added: “Now in its 11th year, this is the only festival of its kind in Belfast and is a great opportunity for people to come together to enjoy the city’s lively Belfast Blues heritage and to discover new talent.”

For more information or to book tickets visit www.belfastcityblues.com.