Music Store Pro / PreSonus Competition

Another first for the Leek Blues & Americana Festival. A Comp!

Again, our friends at Music Store Pro and their friends at PreSonus (it’s just one big love in isn’t it?) have got together to offer Festival goers the chance to win a fantastic prize.

Only the PreSonus Audiobox USB 96 Studio! Worth over £175.

To enter simply register your email address either in store at Music Store Pro or grab a flyer and submit in one of the collection boxes you’ll find at The Cock Inn, The Roebuck or Infinity Live.

The winner will be chosen at random by 5th October 2017…. Best of Luck!

You too can look as good as Ella! – Dave

Thanks to our good friends at Music Store Pro and working with local sportswear manufacturer Supersport we are proud to unveil our first Festival Tee Shirt!

2017 Festival Merch will only be available exclusively from the Cock Inn on Derby Street, and please try to avoid busy times at the bar when purchasing. We hope you like the design as much as we do and can support the Festival whilst being the envy of your friends.

Limited stock is available, but if there is sufficient demand we may order additional items after the Festival has completed.  Any requests for out of stock sizes should be sent via website or Facebook. This is a new venture for us so we are seeing how it goes.

Seating Arrangements: Kirk Fletcher/Chris Bevington Organisation

Please be advised that, due to demand, we will be going for a room layout offering approximate 50:50 seating : standing options.

If you want to be sure of a seat (or a good standing spot) then you would be advised to arrive prior to 7:00, we will however only open the room once soundchecks have completed.

If you require any specific assistance with seating or access to the venue, please try to contact us in advance via the website or Facebook, ramped access is via the rear of the Foxlowe.

We shall try and accommodate everyone, but it is set to be a busy night tonight so please help us as much as possible.


Musings from Steve Giddings

Latest in a long line of self serving musical posts from me, but worth sharing the fact that tonight Im going to watch one of my favourite songwriters (Slaid Cleaves) at The Foxlowe and tomorrow one of my favourite guitar players (Kirk Fletcher -at the same venue). Tickets are (just about)
still available for both.

Thanks to the efforts of the Leek Blues bods I don’t have to travel to some god forsaken corner of a nearby city to watch them both and I can watch any number of bands for free over the weekend in the pubs, and then crawl back into my own cosy bed ears ringing and a big grin on my chubby chops.

If you’re out this weekend round town and have just a passing interest in live music its worth looking at to find out what musical stuff you could be enjoying whilst supping your locally sourced, sustainably manufactured pint of delicious ale, or lager if fizzy tasteless blandness is your bag.

I’m playing at the Cock friday night,Saturday lunch and Saturday night and the Blue Mugge (on Sunday) too, so there’s that. Sunday night at The Mugge features Jordan Swann, next time I’m anywhere near a stage with him on I get the impression I’ll be buying a ticket…..

Hopefully see you all at the weekend sometime.

Keeping The Blues Alive – Mike Gledhill

Mike writes….

Back in the midst of time, I was leading something of a double life. By day, I enjoyed a brilliant job, teaching at Westwood High in Leek. By night I enjoyed a brilliant time playing slide guitar and singing with The Johnny Waterhouse Blues Band, keeping the Blues alive in town upstairs in the The Wilkes’ Head annex every month in the 80’s and 90’s. One such night, I remembered a group of students, who some years earlier had approached me at school with “You know about Blues, don’t you, Sir. Who should we listen to?”. That night, there they were at The Wilkes’, now a bunch of Jimmie Vaughan lookalikes, asking us to play Fabulous Thunderbirds stuff, which we did!

Fast forward to now and it’s amazing how things come together. Our band is still playing the Blues, we’re now known as The Bluesmakers. We’re on at The Leek Blues and Americana Festival this coming week, Sat 30 Sept at 10pm at The Cock Inn. One of the ex JV lookalikes is now in our band. Another is the chief booker of acts (65+) at the Festival. A 3rd, who fortunately realised that he hadn’t quite got the hair to be a JV, is the chief co-ordinator of the Festival.

The seeds for the band started way back then at The Wilkes. So thanks, JW, Malc, JB, Pete and Fran. The seeds for the Festival, I’m told, started 6 years at the Wilkes with a conversation (thanks Dave). And here we are with our lively and innovative town (thanks Marc and many others) about to embark on a fabulous 5 day festival of the best in Blues and Americana which is mostly free admission (thanks landlords and sponsors). One final link goes back to that night too. When JV left The Fabulous Thunderbirds he was later replaced by Kirk Fletcher, who is our headline act on Friday 29 Sept at Foxlowe. Small world, isn’t it!

 Mike Gledhill (vocals/guitar – The Bluesmakers)

Our first gig North of Watford – Richard Staines

I remember receiving an email from Dave Swarbrook 5 years ago. The conversation was something like this, “Are you interested in playing at our new blues festival?”


“We like your music but we are frightened that it’s too different for the punters. Oh sod it! We like it, so you’re booked.”

So we had a booking in a place we’d never heard of. Our first gig north of Watford. And a set of 90 mins which we had only done once before. And with a harmonica player for the first time. So it was practise like mad time.

The day of the gig I looped the town a few times trying to find the Cock Inn and some parking. A nice old market town, lovely. Parked up, met Alan the landlord, was fed and watered. I remember looking at Satinder and saying we don’t usually get treated this well. And it continued like that. The sound guys were happy and fun and the audience were great.

We did 2 x 45 min sets and I got blisters and then blisters on my blisters but enjoyed every minute of it.

In the interval and after the gig everyone wanted to chat. Such a friendly festival.

The strange thing is the date has always been inconvenient for our regular harmonica man, Jonathan but this year he can make it. He’s probably fed up of me telling him about Leek!

And of course when we did the live album  and was looking for an interesting photo for the back cover. In the Leek album, Satinder at the bar drinking a cup of tea with the curry sign and the guy in the background photo bombing him. That was the one!

As far as Maharaja Blues is concerned, Leek Blues & Amricana Festival is our northern home, a priority booking.  If they want us we’ll be there.


Richard Staines ( vocals, guitar – Maharaja Blues)

ctd architects supporting Leek Blues & Americana Festival

ctd architects are sponsoring the first official outdoor stage at the Leek Blues & Americana Festival being held in town from Sept 27th to October 1st.

The outdoor stage at Sparrow Park, Derby Street will be setup on the final day of the festival, in conjunction with the Sunday Supplement artisan market held on the same day. Starting at 11am local singer songwriter Phil Maddocks & The Outdoor Angels will be opening proceedings followed by another local act Spinster Jones at midday before The Fugitives from Vancouver, Canada take to the stage at 1pm.

The first outdoor stage is a great addition to the established festival, now in its 5th year, complementing the busking spot at the opposite end of town that has been a staple of the festival from when it started and giving larger acts a chance to perform for the bustling crowds out to enjoy the Blues festival and the Sunday Supplement market as well.

Patrick Redmond, architect director at ctd said ‘For ctd architects these type of events are a key part of a town’s energy and rejuvenation, often run by volunteers with a passion for their town and we are more than happy to be able to support the development and long term aspirations of the festival.’

What if no one comes? – Alan Ward

Alan Writes……Flicking through the freshly delivered laminated posters for next week’s headline acts, I thought back to the first year we did a musical festival. Dave Swarbrook full of enthusiasm, a handful of publicans showing interest – mainly those that were already established music venues, JR Mountford taking up the reins with Dave and Marc Briand whose hand on the tiller was a much-needed levelling influence on what was then a bunch of well-intentioned amateurs.

For some long forgotten reason I was appointed Treasurer a more unlikely choice for the care of large sums of money would be hard to find so that shows how desperate we were. It`s much repeated but on the eve of the first gig I looked at the list of artists and the cost of the bands we`d booked, the marquee dripping with rain in the rear yard and a cellar full, and I mean full, of as yet unpaid for beer and thought`What if no one comes?` but they did come, in their droves and have done so with each successive year.

This year sees us celebrate 5 years of the Festival and it`s grown and acquired its own life, band and solo artists contact us through the year asking if there are any spare spots. The list of venues grows as does the list of sponsors, those lovely people that make it financially possible. Some of the artists have become friends Matt Walklate, Maharaja Blues, whose first CD back cover was a photo taken of them at our second year, Elvis Fontenot who are playing here again this year and the tradition of Last Call at the Roebuck opposite which last year saw me, Dave, Nick Bradstreet from the Roebuck and JR sitting outside on the pavement each with a large malt listening to the great music being played inside saying `Well that`s that for another year`.

It`s all starting again next week boys, let`s make it a good one.

Alan Ward – The Cock Inn

Leek, you can’t beat it!- John Crimes

John writes…. Just under eight days to go now before Leek once again celebrates with some of the best Blues and Americana music to be heard in pubs, clubs, bars and even Sparrow Park! A few years ago I was quoted as saying that the town “literally breathed music” during the Festival. Well, that was how it seemed to me on a blustery Saturday afternoon as I wandered down Derby Street with the sound of bands coming at you from the Cock Inn and the Roebuck and a guy (sorry can’t recall who but probably Steve Giddings!) busking. I wandered down to the road and met and listened to a dear old mate from Stoke playing in the Quiet Woman and I remember him telling me how he was astounded by the quality and quantity of music on offer in the town.

The Festival has grown year by year and now offers even more choice of venues and artists… this year will be incredible with the likes of Kirk Fletcher from Los Angeles (with brilliant support on the night by Chris Bevington Organisation), Slaid Cleaves from Austin, Texas, even more international & national artists and a selection of acts from Leek and the surrounding area’s own incredible pool of great musicians.

Myself, I’m back living and working in the town again this year after 14 years and can’t wait to immerse myself in the Festival.  I’ll be making a noise at the Acoustic Session at the Cock Inn (where else!) on Thursday the 28th September and with the Bluesmakers (34 years of great R&B!!) again at the Cock Inn on Saturday the 30th.

If you don’t live in Leek, come and visit – if you do, come out and support the Festival – you won’t be disappointed!


John Crimes (Drummer – The Bluesmakers)

Come On You Blues! – Dave & JR


We are chuffed to have be able to select tonight’s playlist for the local derby of Leek Town FC v Kidsgrove Athletic @ Harrison Park, K.O. 7.45pm.

We’ve even included tracks from Kidsgrove’s own Chris Bevington. Wishing the Best of Luck to the ‘Grove but we’re naturally backing Baker’s boys for a 3 pointer tonight!

So it’s Blues for the Blues!   All the artists featured are appearing at this year’s festival (apart from that Bonnamassa chap obvs.)

Here’s the playlist as compiled by JR:

Kirk Fletcher: Bad Boy

Slaid Cleaves: If I had a heart


The Fugitives: Bigger Than Luck

Chris Bevington Organisation: Better Start Cookin


Rodney Branigan: One Man Two Guitars

Elvis Fontenot: Sugar Bee Stew

Walklate & Fuschi: Ain’t no big deal on you

Hannah Johnson: Your Girlfriend Hates Me

Maharaja Blues: The Maharaja Blues

Westerburgh & Micaela: Wanderers (From now on)

Lissy Taylor: Ride

John Dhali: Here

“Pistol” Pete Wearn: Jesus on the Mainline


Oli Ng: Into the Dark


Joe Bonnamassa feat.Kirk Fletcher: Shake For Me

Tom Attah: Well well, my my.

Nixon Tate: Dance Hall Blues

Clair Brennan: River Trent

Kirk Fletcher: Congo square


Chris Bevington Organisation: Change The World