It would be tempting to leave this article at just the headline and allow people to simply follow the hordes of blues, soul and jazz fans to where their hearts lead them this October, but we’ll dish up a bit more detail.
The fourth instalment of the London-based BluesFest takes place in the autumn (26-31 October) at the Royal Albert Hall, and the announcement of the headliners is as colossal as you would expect if you’ve attended this superb festival before. Last year, BluesFest lured 40,000 fans to the Albert Hall in a celebration of the blues, with headliners including Robert Plant, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Womack and Chris Rea.
Van Morrison was also on the 2013 bill, and it seems the Northern Irishman enjoyed his time in SW7. The famously testy singer put on a five-star performance, which he will hope to repeat with a mixture of hits and songs from his most recent LP, ‘Born To Sing: No Plan B’, on 28 October.
London legend Elvis Costello will take the stage the following evening (29 October), just a mile from his Paddington birthplace. Costello has recently announced he is working alongside roots rock hero T Bone Burnett on recording a set of unfinished Bob Dylan songs from the 1960s, so his head is clearly deep into the history of rock and roll at the moment and we can surely expect an electrifying set as a result.
Sheryl Crow has explored countless genres during her 20-year career, and though she may still be best known for pop hits like ‘All I Wanna Do’ she is certainly well suited to the line-up of this year’s Bluesfest with an array of blues, folk and country albums behind her. She will appear at the Royal Albert Hall on 31 October. Here’s a video of one of her most famous songs, performed with none other than Mr Costello himself.
Another act revealed in this first announcement of the 2014 line-up is Georgie Fame, the English rhythm and blues singer most famous for a trio of hits in the 1960s, including a song that everyone knows but no-one can remember who sang, ‘The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde‘.
Alongside the headliners in the main auditorium each evening, many of 2013’s successful side events will return in other rooms around the Albert Hall premises, including intimate sessions from festival artists and an ‘In Conversation With’ series, exclusive exhibitions and showcases. Across six days and nights you can expect some genuinely remarkable performances and doubtless a few surprises at this excellent celebration of rhythm and blues.
BluesFest takes place at the Royal Albert Hall, 26-31 October. Tickets will be available for individual shows from the event website.
Image courtesy of Steve Speight via the Londonist Flickr Pool.