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)