With a rare glimpse of sun in a gloomy July, we head­ed to Eal­ing Blues Fes­ti­val held in Wal­pole Park, it’s one of a series of sum­mer fes­ti­vals run every year put on by Eal­ing Council.

The event always resem­bles a ‘prop­er’ fes­ti­val in minia­ture, with a choice of two big music tents – the Main Stage, which now has a new light­ing rig, and the small­er South Stage, down at the end of the fes­ti­val site. There’s also a third, small stage set up by the bar.

Hav­ing attend­ed Eal­ing Blues Fes­ti­val for three years run­ning, this one cer­tain­ly had a dif­fer­ent feel in terms of cura­tion. There was some­thing more explorato­ry about the line-up, an attempt to broad­en it, bring in new acts, and a greater vari­ety of blues fusion.

ealing 1

On the main stage, Traf­fick­er played a storm­ing after­noon set. Tom­my, who played with the Sug­ababes in the 90s, has a style which is utter­ly flu­id and mesmerising.

Tommy Allen

Lat­er we were enter­tained by Spikedrivers who play a joy­ous­ly dan­cy rock blues set with some beau­ti­ful har­monies. Expres­sive vocal­ist Ben Tyza­ck prowled the stage, play­ing a silky slide gui­tar while Con­stance Red­grave anchored down a sol­id bass – I did wan­der off men­tal­ly for a while though, pon­der­ing the per­plex­ing lack of female bass play­ers and found myself try­ing to name as many as I could.


The Mark Har­ri­son band were cap­ti­vat­ing, a trio who com­man­deered the South Stage, play­ing a set of their own com­po­si­tions. Mark Har­ri­son offered lis­ten­ers a more cere­bral expe­ri­ence, enter­tain­ing the crowds not only with music but with his infor­ma­tive intro­duc­tions too, where we learned about the inspi­ra­tion for his songs, all done with his pleas­ing­ly dry wit. He switched between a 12-string gui­tar and a beau­ti­ful Nation­al Res­onator, mem­o­rable songs includ­ed his ‘great­est hit’ Cre­ma­to­ri­um Blues.


We rushed back to the far stage towards the end of the evening to catch Jump 66, who played a high-ener­gy set of swing and Chica­go blues, which got the crowd danc­ing. They were the per­fect band to round off the fes­ti­val, and it would be an under­state­ment to call them pop­u­lar. I thought the audi­ence were going to lynch the poor stage­hand tasked with ask­ing the band to desist from play­ing ‘just one more num­ber’. For those who loved the band: they reg­u­lar­ly play at ‘Ain’t Noth­ing But’ blues bar just off Carn­a­by St.

The oth­er ele­ment that Eal­ing Blues Fes­ti­val does so well is all the ‘fes­ti­val accou­trements’ – an imag­i­na­tive choice of food stalls, and a vari­ety of traders sell­ing jew­ellery, clothes, plants and hats. Things seemed some­what toned down this year with few­er food stalls, this seemed a shame as the fes­ti­val was, as usu­al, very well attend­ed. How­ev­er, on a musi­cal lev­el, Eal­ing Blues show­cased a fan­tas­tic array of blues-based musi­cians, sev­er­al of whom are play­ing major fes­ti­vals this year such as Glas­ton­bury and Wilderness.


WHO: Eal­ing Blues Festival
WHEN: Sat­ur­day 25 – Sun­day 26 July, 2015
WHERE: Wal­pole Park, Ealing
TICKETS: £5 per day, £8 weekend


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *