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Countdown to 9th annual Belfast City Blues Festival underway

The launch of the Belfast City Blues Festival 2017 at the Dirty Onion on Thursday May 11.  Lee Hedley, Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Ellen Crawford and The Rev Doc  (Photo by Tony Murray for Excalibur Press)
The launch of the Belfast City Blues Festival 2017 at the Dirty Onion on Thursday May 11. Lee Hedley, Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Ellen Crawford and The Rev Doc (Photo by Tony Murray for Excalibur Press)

The countdown to the 9th annual Belfast City Blues Festival is underway as the celebration of all things blues and rock prepares to kick-off on Friday.

The festival, sponsored by the Sunday World and American Holidays, grows from strength to strength every year with the 2017 blues bash set to be the biggest yet.

An array of blues bands will play at a total of 22 venues across the city with a whopping 50 performances scheduled in all.

 Aside from a plethora of artists from Northern Ireland and further afield, other events include a busking competition, to be held on Saturday, with the winner scooping 200 quid.

Also on Saturday, the annual tribute event to the late Donegal axe shredder, Rory Gallagher, will take place in the Black Box, featuring The Pat McMannus Band, Blackwood and The Willie Byrne Band, and a festival record fair will take place on Sunday from 10.30am to 4pm in the Black Box. 

One of the highlights of the festival are the Blues on the Boat gigs. Blues fans can enjoy some food and drink to the sounds of The Fabulous Mustangs (Friday, 6.30pm – 9pm), Lee Hedley and Co (Saturday, 6.30pm – 9pm) and Rab McCullough and the Rev Doc (Sunday, 2.30pm – 5pm).

The festival will wrap up with a multitude events on Sunday, including a blues workshop with renowned harmonica player Billy Boy Miskimmin at Dawson's Music on Royal Avenue. 

For a full list of events and more information on the Belfast City Blues Festival, visit www.belfastcityblues.com