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Red Lion in Gravesend to host its first blues festival bank holiday weekend

PUBLISHED: 14:30 23 August 2013

L to r: AJ, Terry Lee, and musicians Janet Jackson and Dave Jackson

L to r: AJ, Terry Lee, and musicians Janet Jackson and Dave Jackson

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Bank Holiday weekend will see one of Gravesend's most active live music venues present its first ever blues festival.

Musician Dave Jackson of the Dave Jackson BandMusician Dave Jackson of the Dave Jackson Band

For fans of the genre, the Red Lion in Crete Hall Road will host Bluesfest tomorrow with a fine line-up of musicians.

There will also be a real ale festival running concurrently – a marriage which organiser Alun Jones (AJ for short), who established the music promotions agency Wrinkly Rockers Club (WRC), hopes will make the event a success from the outset.

“You can expect some high class blues and rock bands,” he says. “There’s going to be a whole day’s worth of quality stuff and we’re keeping our fingers crossed the weather stays good to top it off.

“As this is the first one we’re a little apprehensive, but we’re confident the demand is there for blues music in Gravesend.”

L to r AJ, Terry Lee, and musicians Dave Jackson and Janet JacksonL to r AJ, Terry Lee, and musicians Dave Jackson and Janet Jackson

WRC was set up three years ago by AJ and a few like-minded friends who wanted to bring blues and rock music to local people.

The festival will see the likes of Andy Twyman, The Dave Jackson Band and The Mentulls, whose singer Andrew Pipe was nominated in the best young artist category in this year’s British Blues Awards, take to the stage.

AJ, 55, who lives in Sidcup, has been going to concerts since he was 15 and took the opportunity to get into music actively when he took early retirement from his career in the oil trade.

He has known the owner of the Red Lion, Terry Lee, for a year and they decided it would be the perfect venue to put on their first festival.

He said: “Terry loves his music and the Red Lion has a really good reputation in the local community for putting on quality shows.

“We thought it would be ideal because Terry has such a good contacts book, as do I.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout, it’s bank holiday weekend and this would be a great way to spend it. I know I would say that, but I really mean it!”

Terry, 61, has owned the pub for 30 years and it has built a strong reputation as a live music venue in Gravesend.

American singer-songwriter Robert Tepper, famous for providing the soundtrack to Rocky IV, will play his first UK concert at the venue tomorrow (Friday).

Terry says he was on board as soon as AJ suggested the idea of Bluesfest.

He said: “As far as a lot of my friends are concerned this is a really big moment for Gravesend – we’ve never had something like this before.

“I’m Gravesend born and bred and we’ve had some really big acts perform here over the years, the likes of Iron Maiden, Marillion and Manfred Mann.

“We’ve sold a few tickets already and I am really looking forward to the day.”

With current capacity limited to about 300 people, AJ is urging people to buy tickets in advance so they can make a contingency plan if numbers become an issue.

He said: “I know some people have a tendency just to turn up at the last minute, but that makes it quite hard to judge capacity. We don’t want people to get turned away so, if we know a lot of people are coming early enough, we can build a second stage and make more space.

“And tickets cost £10 on the door, so it’s worth saving the extra couple of quid!”

For more details call 01474 566127 or visit wrinklyrockersclub.co.uk.

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