After 25 years, the very last British Rock & Blues Festival took place at Skegness Butlin’s over the weekend of 13th – 15th January for a very emotional crowd.
Rock & Blues Festival – Skegness – 13th – 16th January
Words and Photography: Sally Newhouse
Butlin’s is not the ‘Hi-Di-Hi’ holiday camp that many remember from childhood. These days, apartments are roomy, comfortable, warm, and not too far to stagger back to at the end of the day’s entertainment. The food in the restaurants is top-notch, all-you-can-eat, with limitless coffee, tea, juice etc. Once a year, it is a host to a weekend of world-class rock and blues acts.
The festival has grown over the last 25 years from two to four stages. The main venues, Reds and Centre Stage, both hold over 1000, and there is now an Introducing Stage in The Skyline (The circus big top style tent) run by Solid Entertainments, plus the smaller, more intimate Hot Shots, run by Blues Matters Magazine.
This year 58 artists performed over the three days. It’s impossible to give a detailed review of every band, but every band I managed to catch delivered a quality performance, and a thoroughly good time was had by everyone I met over the weekend.
Friday 13 January 2023
The music kicked off on The Introducing Stage on Friday afternoon, while many would usually still be arriving and settling into their apartments. Vincent Flatts Final Drive played to one of the biggest audiences ever seen in the Big Top on day one.
Ten Years After featured the wonderful Marcus Bonfanti on vocals in Reds, clashing with the melodic rocker’s Dare, fronted by former Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton on Centre Stage.
Rising star Miguel Montalban & The Southern Vultures played at the same time as The Malone Sibun Band. It was difficult to choose who to see for many – and this pattern was to repeat all weekend with such an impressive line-up.
Saturday and Sunday will be posted soon. Visit https://www.metaltalk.net/tag/rock-blues-festival.