ASHBURTON BLUES FESTIVAL 2008-2012 Reminiscences

This was the official website for the XXX from 2008-2012. The content below is from archived pages during that time period.

Ashburton Blues Festival 2012

Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd June 2012
Seale-Hayne, Newton Abbot, Devon, England
£100 for weekend, £35-30 per day
Daily capacity: 700

Ashburton Blues Festival is weekend of Blues held from Friday 1st until Sunday 3rd June 2012 moving to a brand new venue at Seale-Hayne, Newton Abbot which is still close to Ashburton on the southern edge of Dartmoor, in Devon. The new venue is off the A383 Ashburton-Newton Abbot Road. The Festival with a capacity of 700 will be held within the beautiful Grade II-listed buildings focussed around a quadrangle.


Eric Bibb, Elkie Brooks, and Andy Fairweather Low headline with support from Steve 'Bigman' Clayton, Rattlin Bone, Johnny Whitehill and his Groove-a-Matics, The Wildcards, The Revolutionaires, and Franck Ash. Fringe acts include Paint It Blue, Vince Lee, David Raphael Band, Bluezbox, and Robin bibi (who will also be running a guitar workshop). There are more fringe acts to be announced.


Weekend tickets are priced at £100, Friday day tickets are priced at £30, with Saturday or Sunday day tickets priced at £35. A room for the weekend is priced at £105, and camping is priced at £54. To buy tickets, click here.


The new site offers resident artists' studios and workshops where you'll be able to browse and chat, and an Art Gallery with works for sale. The workshop programme has not yet been announced. As well as workshops there will be a full fringe programme, and jam session.

New location

The new site, will provide much more capacity, decent staging, and offer Fringe gigs in interesting parts of the site including the 'Common Room' and 'Yellow Room' , as well as trade stalls selling a wide range of craftwork, handmade goods, etc., and food from the cafe & BBQ, and Bays Brewery real ale bars. Extensive free parking. Disabled parking and easy access to all areas.

Shuttle buses

Shuttle buses will run from Ashburton and Newton Abbot, priced at £8 return to Ashburton, and £6 return to Newton Abbot.


There will be onsite accommodation in 99 room available, and ample space for camping and caravans. Extensive camping for tents with nearby showers and toilets, and breakfast served in the “Refectory”.


2012 HeadLiners 

Eric Bibb

Certainly one of the greatest of living bluesmen, Eric Bibb was given his first steel-string acoustic guitar aged seven. Growing up in a musical family and surrounded by talent, he recalls a childhood conversation with Bob Dylan, who, on the subject of guitar playing, advised the 11-year-old Bibb to "Keep it simple, forget all that fancy stuff"

Aged 19, Bibb left for Paris, then Stockholm, where he immersed himself in pre-war blues and the newly-discovered world music scene, while he continued to write and perform, followed by tours of the UK, USA, Canada, France, Sweden and Germany

He has played and recorded with luminaries such as Taj Mahal, Odetta, Charlie Musselwhite, Guy Davis, Mamadou Diabate, Djelimady Toukara, and Pops and Mavis Staples

His latest album Booker's Guitar was inspired by a fan lending him Delta blues legend Booker White's 1930 National Steel guitar to play and record with.

He was so moved by the experience that on the title cut he "sounds like he's about to break down. Once he's over that, his voice is like a warm blanket wrapping you in comfortable cocoon of sound"

Eric will be accompanied by Staffan Astner

Booker's guitar

Eric Bibb headlines on Saturday June 2

Elkie Brooks

Elkie Brooks is a legend, regularly selling out concerts wherever she appears. She headlines on Sunday 3 June.

A professional singer since she was fifteen, Brooks's debut, a cover of Etta James's "Something's Got A Hold On Me", was released in 1964. The 60's were an unsettled time for her, but Brooks supported The Beatles, helped the Small Faces in their early career and toured the United States with the Animals.

She formed Vinegar Joe with Robert Palmer gaining a reputation as the 'Wild Woman of Rock n Roll' due to her extreme stage performances. After three albums Brooks and Palmer went their own ways. Her first solo album, Rich Man's Woman released to critical acclaim. The album's cover was considered outrageous for the time.

Her career took off with 16 UK hit albums in 25 years including such hits as 'Pearl's a Singer', 'Sunshine After the Rain' 'Lilac Wine', 'Don't Cry Out Loud', came later. The Chris Rea-penned 'Fool (If You Think It's Over)' gave her another chart topper.

Brooks's success has landed her in the Guinness Book of Records as the most charted British female album artist of the last 30 years.

As one of our most iconic and exciting stage performers, she has never forsaken her blues roots.

Andy Fairweather Low

As a founder of Amen Corner in the '60s, Andy Fairweather Low's distinctive voice helped achieve 4 Top Ten hits, including 'If Paradise Is Half As Nice'.

Going solo he hit the charts again with 'Wide Eyed And Legless' and 'Reggae Tune'  The 70's saw him doing session work including with The Who, and Roy Wood.

Since then he's recorded and toured with some of the biggest names in the business:

Roger Waters, Dave Edmunds, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt.

He played guitar on George Harrison's Live in Japan, and, with the rest of Eric

Clapton's band, several lead guitar parts for the Harrison tribute The Concert for George, on some songs playing Harrison's famous Fender Stratocaster 'Rocky'.


In 2001, Fairweather Low accompanied Eric Clapton on his world tour and is featured on the 2002 album One More Car, One More Rider, and on From Clarksdale To Heaven - Remembering John Lee Hooker with, amongst others, Jeff Beck, Gary Brooker, Jack Bruce and Peter Green

He's toured extensively with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings and joined Clapton's band for a series of 11 concerts held at the London's Royal Albert Hall, later becoming part of Clapton's touring band. Andy will be backed by his band The Low Riders



It's over! The fifth Ashburton Blues Festival ended on the Sunday

  night with a jumping, singing, dancing crowd bopping to the The Animals. It couldn't have been a better way to finish the three days and nights of some of the best music around. Even thought the weather was a 'bit dimpsy' as we say in Devon, as all the gigs were inside. Our main headliner, Eric Bibb, was 'sublime' as one fan told me, and that Welsh gentleman and member of Music Royalty, Andy Fairweather Low, showed the depth of his talent and pedigree off to our opening night audience.

Support and Fringe bands were all fabulous, and sustenance was provided in between sets by our own Blues Cafe (with a wonderful team of volunteers led by my wife Jude), Bays Brewery real ales, and Seale-Hayne's own CakeHouse, and Bistro.

The kind folks at our new venue, Seale-Hayne, were attentive,helpful, and had a universal 'can do' attitude. 'Thanks' to them.