Sunderland gets its own mini-blues festival

George Shovlin and the Radars outside the Dun Cow. From left, Stu Burlison, George Shovlin and George Lamb.
George Shovlin and the Radars outside the Dun Cow. From left, Stu Burlison, George Shovlin and George Lamb.
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Soak up the sounds of Sunderland blues as a new mini festival is launched.

In a spin-off from the regular blues club, held in The Dun Cow, High Street West, a Sunderland Blues and Acoustic Music Mini Festival will be held in the venue in September.

It’s the brainchild of Mackem musicians George Shovlin and George Lamb who set up the blues club in a bid to bring a more diverse range of live music to the city.

As well as running the Speakeasy at the Harbour View pub in Roker, they perform in George Shovlin and The Radars.

George Shovlin, from Roker, said: “The festival has been born out of both the blues club and the Speakeasy. The whole idea is to raise the profile of live blues and acoustic music in the city, as well as the clubs themselves.

“It also fits in perfectly will all the cultural activity which is taking place around the Dun Cow with making the Old Fire Station into a venue.”

The festival will take place on Saturday, September 5 and will run from early afternoon until late.

More than 26 acts will perform on both floors of the pub, including Trevor Sewell, Paul Liddell, Steve Daggett, The Hokum Hotshots, Lee Bates and Billy Newton, George Welch and Christine Jeans, Rebecca ‘This Little Bird’ Young, Yuma and more.

It is free to attend, but funds for the club will be raised via raffles.

George said: “There’s some great work going on in the city at the moment to promote live music and that’s fantastic. But what we’re doing is to represent the silent minority of acoustic musicians in Sunderland.

“They are all quality performers, but perhaps don’t fit in with the other work that’s going on in the city.

“It’s a great chance for people to come down and listen to live music. Three quarters of the acts are local and at any one time there will be two performers on stage, upstairs and downstairs so people can go between the two.

“At the heart of it, we hope that this will be a success and foresee holding a similar extended festival next year across other venues in this quarter of the city.”