Band of volunteers keep festival rocking

With less than a week to go to the 2019 Leek Blues & Americana Festival, most of the preparation works is done.

However, to get to this stage means a tremendous amount of work which starts literally straight after the previous festival. Apart from sorting out artists and bands and working out the logistics of the gigs there is work to produce accounts, secure sponsorship, promote events source merchandise, produce programmes, posters and much more.

All this has been going on thanks to the work of a handful of hard-working volunteers, all music lovers and all dedicated to putting Leek on the map and providing a welcome financial boost to the local economy.

Original co-organisers of the festival, Dave Swarbrook and JR Mountford are still involved. Luckily, they have a team of around 20 willing volunteers to assist them with the many facets of organising a music festival.

Dave recalls: “The idea for the first festival in 2013 came about from a conversation in the pub. The Totally Locally Leek initiative had quickly gained traction helping to boost local independent shops and cafes and we wondered if we could help the local independent pub scene. At the time there were several gigging Leek Blues Bands and we spoke to the organisers of an established Americana music night, in Biddulph, who also came on board. We also took advice from organisers at Congleton Jazz & Blues Festival on the logistics of it all. When we approached the local pubs, they were all keen to host bands and it just snowballed from there really and it has grown year on year.

JR added: “I came on board a little later after the first festival. The Foxlowe was beginning to host more high-profile gigs and the logical step was to combine free gigs in the pubs with a few more high-profile acts that would headline at the Foxlowe.

“Festival planning happens all of the time. We’re already looking for 2020 acts even before this year’s festival and our inbox already has a considerable number of requests for next year.


“We’ve got a fantastic team of volunteers and with our range of skills, there aren’t many problems that we can’t solve. Also, we couldn’t do any of this with out our sponsors who keep us afloat and hopefully get great publicity and profile in return.


“We try to consider the festival from everyone’s perspectives and make sure they are happy and have a great time. We’d love to make it a totally free event, but with the levels of grants and sponsorship available it would impossible to attract all the high calibre international touring acts without making some of these ticketed events. We do however try to keep any admission charges affordable through stage sponsorship packages – this year ctd architects and The Charles Cotton Hotel.  Venues are very supportive and host many quality bands all for no admission charge.  We have also managed to establish more public performance events such as the popular Sparrow Park Stage during the Sunday Supplement market thanks to the support from local business Old Smithy Tattoo Parlour, Leek Lands Trust, and this year’s Festival partner, Leek Town Council.”


Anyone wanting to preview the musical feast on offer during the festival can do so on the dedicated Spotify playlist and YouTube channel both titled ‘Leek Blues and Americana 2019’ or you can check out all the gig listings and artists at or on Facebook and Twitter.


Little Victor Competition

Tickets and CDs up for grabs


The festival organisers are offering a chance to win one of two prizes, each comprising of two tickets to see Little Victor and his combo plus support from Dominic Chuck Berry Cooper’s Red Berryn on Saturday 5th October at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. In addition, each winner will also win a signed copy of Little Victors album “Deluxe lo-fi”

To enter, email the answer to the question below with your name, address and contact number to no later than 1pm on Saturday 28th September. Winners will be chosen at random and announced that evening.
Tickets & CDs to be collected on the night of the event at the box office on the door.


Question: In which US city would you find Beale Street?