by Adam Aiken
The opening night of this year’s Dereham Blues Festival will see performances from a Grammy-nominated international act and a local rising star.
Danielle Nicole is bringing her band to Norfolk on Wednesday, July 5, to headline the show that will kick off the five-day annual festival.
Grammy-nominated Nicole, who hails from Missouri, will be supported at Dereham Memorial Hall by Long Stratton’s Ross Stewart, who’ll be backed by The Shunters (drummer Geoff Cooper, Stewart Aitken on bass and Andy Cooper on keys).
“This slot will be one of the largest crowds I will have played to so far, so it feels like a real stepping stone,” said Stewart.
“I’m super-excited about the opportunity, especially opening for Danielle Nicole. The festival itself is one of the nicest atmospheres I’ve ever experienced.”
Local community choir Rockavox will once again also be on the bill for the opening night.
It will be followed by four days of blues events around the town, with about 50 acts playing more than 100 sets in 15 venues, including bars, pubs, restaurants and sports clubs. Entry to all these events is free.
And on Saturday, July 8, there will be an open-air busking session in the Ellenor Fenn Garden, featuring a number of acoustic acts.
Festival chairman Harry Collins said: “It’s wonderful to be back again this year with – as always – a large, rich, diverse blues festival.
“It really is the town’s festival and over the second weekend in July the festival truly puts Dereham at the heart of the region.”
The festival began life in 2013, when it attracted 500 people. By the time of its post-pandemic return last year, the numbers attending were “well over” 2,000.