I’ve always loved blues music in almost all its incarnations; Mississippi blues, Chicago blues, and especially English blues. But I have always thought it odd that the British had adopted what is essentially American Black roots music as its own. Artists like John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers
and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac belted out the blues with such a fierce intensity that it felt like a lightning bolt had struck you right between the eyes. Why the blues love affair? I’m not sure, perhaps we can blame the constantly gloomy weather or perhaps the hard life that many experience as blue-collar factory workers.
English Blues – Alive and Well
In any event, the blues is still very much alive and well in the UK as evidenced by England’s largest blues festival, which we had the privilege of attending, in Upton upon Severn. Upton upon Severn which is located in the Malvern Hills area in the district of Worcestershire seems too small, with a population of only around 3000, to host such a large event. But host it they did and in grand fashion. From what we were told all the local pubs, and there are many, get together to sponsor and organize the event.
The pubs with enough outdoor space set up a stage and hosted the bands during the 3-day event. A large stage was also set up at the end of a street near the river and a local park also hosted a large stage.
That was a lot of music happening in a small area at the same time, but it worked. Their website provides details of the event as well as the musical lineup. They also have a facebook page for you to check out: UPTON BLUES FESTIVAL.
Pubs – A Tradional News Outlet
So how did two Americans get to this small town, in the middle of rural England, with such a big event? Pubs: for centuries they have been a place of information exchange and they are still. As Carrie mentioned in her last post about Colwall, we spent a good deal of time at the Chase Inn which was located near our pet sitting gig, downing a few pints
and chowing down on lovely fish and chips. During the course of conversation – drinking real ale and conversation go hand in hand – we were told of this amazing event and that it was only 7 miles away. Even a Yankee like me can handle that short drive, although I didn’t take into account that there would be thousands of people trying to get to the same place at the same time. Actually, getting there wasn’t all that bad and we were able to find a parking spot within a half mile of the town.
Bless the Weather That Brought You to Me (John Martyn)
Muddy Waters must have blessed
the event because the weather was spectacular; warm and mostly sunny which lent itself well to the inhalation of pints of real ale, chowing down pub food and dancing in the streets.
But enough of this blabber. Let’s get on with some photos and videos. Enjoy and keep on dancin’!
Hike Drink Live Laugh
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2 thoughts on “Upton, England: The Place to Go When You Need the Blues”
Thanks for sharing… looks like a fun time. Where off to next?
Actually, it’s a 2 part answer. The next blog post will be from Cardiff, Wales, then Oxford, then Cambridge. We’re a little behind in our posts. We’re currently in Scotland where, in addition to photographing amazing scenery, we plan to taste a lot of single malt scotch. Life is hell.
And yes, the blues festival was a blast.