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The UKBlues Federation

The UKBlues Federation, is a pan-UK Federation that has been established to promote and support Blues in and from the United Kingdom in all its forms and styles.

We have created a not for profit federation of musicians, organisations, associations, groups, venues, companies, individuals and any other interested parties within the UK who already work to support, promote and encourage blues of all sorts within the UK, to work together to achieve UKBlues‘ aims.

Full details may be found on our website:


Joel Fisk (LaVendore Rogue), Big Blues Festival, Southport 2017




The UK Blues Federation proudly present
the 'Virtual 2020 FORM UK Blues Awards'

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak the Awards Event was a virtual event held on Sunday 17th May 2020.

The event was compared by Paul Jones with other prestigious guests

2020 FORM UKBlues Awards Presentation event

Sunday 17th May 2020 from 18.00 BST
on the UKBlues Federation’s YouTube

Click here for full details

Click here for the winners!


2020 FORM UKBlues Awards Presentation event
Sunday 17th May 2020 from 18.00 BST
on the UKBlues Federation’s YouTube

Click here for full details

Click here for the winners!



12th August 2019

New Board Members

We are very pleased to announce that Paul Long and Oliver Carpenter have both accepted invitations to join the Board of the UKBlues Federation.

Both Paul and Oliver bring considerable experience to the Board with both being working musicians as well as having a deep and lengthy involvement in the management and organisation of successful large scale events, talents and experience which will be invaluable to the UKBF.



Paul was recently elected Chair of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association where he replaced the late Dave Raven, also a UKBF Board member until his untimely death. Paul is looking to build upon the natural synergy between the IBBA & the UKBF to see the two organisations working together to support and promote blues in the UK.



Oliver is well known and respected for his work with blues festivals over the years including, latterly, the very successful Upton Blues Festival.


We are also very pleased to announce that later in the year, Nick Westgarth will be joining the UKBF Board, bringing with him his skills and experience as the organiser, manager, promoter and almost everything else of the Carlisle Rock & Blues Festival.


We believe that these three additions to the Board will help the UKBF grow and will give us a much stronger management team, especially in the areas of the UKBlues Challenge and the UKBlues Awards, as well as giving more capacity and relieving the existing Board members of a massive workload.


We very much welcome Paul, Oliver and Nick ‘on board’ and look forward to working with them as part of the team.

You can read more about Paul & Oliver as well as the other members of the Board at




19th March 2019

DAVE RAVEN - Book of Condolences

On Thursday 14th March 2019 our dear friend Dave Raven, sadly lost his battle with cancer.

The UKBlues Federation has been deeply touched by the hundreds of tributes to and memories of Dave that have appeared across Facebook.

To acknowledge Dave’s greatly varied work supporting and promoting the Blues in UK and Europe, the UKBlues Federation has set up a digital book of condolences at  where you can share your memories and stories about Dave so that we can create an archive dedicated to Dave and his work.

If you have already posted on Facebook, perhaps you could take time to visit this book of condolences and share your post there.

Thank you.



10th February 2019


UKBlues Challenge 2019

Saturday 14th September 2019

BlueFunk Rhythm & Blues Club



Details here:



15th January 2019

Because it has not been possible to conclude an acceptable hire contract with the management of Preston Guild Hall, the UKBlues Federation has been left with no option but to cancel the UKBlues Awards weekend which was to have been held on 26th/27th April 2019.

In addition, the response to our invitation to put forward nominations for the various categories in the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards has been so disappointingly low that we do not feel we can run an Awards this year which would meet the required standards of integrity and validity upon which we have sought to base the process.

Accordingly we are left with no option but to cancel the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards. We plan to be back in 2020.

To read more and to learn of the adverse impact this will have on the UKBlues Federation’s work with and for blues in the UK, please visit our website




6th December 2018

Be part of the selection process for the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards 

In less than a couple of weeks’ time the nomination process for the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards will commence.

This will involve a panel of more than 700 people from across the UK blues spectrum being invited to submit their nominations for artists etc. in over half of the categories in the 2019 edition of the Awards.

If you are already on that panel you will have received an e-mail telling you so and, of course, if you are a member of the UKBlues Federation you are also automatically included on the panel.

But for those of you who do not fall into either of those categories and feel that you would like to be considered for the nomination panel just drop us an e-mail at  giving us your name, address and telephone number together with a few words explaining why you would like to be part of the nomination process. Please note that to join the nomination panel you must be resident in the UK.

Although we do not undertake to accept every application, we very much hope to welcome you to the nomination panel so that the finalists in the various categories in the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards are even more varied than in this year’s Awards.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Find out more about the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards at


3rd December 2018



The crowd funding campaign organised by the UKBlues Federation to help with the substantial costs that Kyla Brox and her band face getting to and competing in the International and European Blues Challenges closed on 5th November 2018.

Taking into account the £2,000 donated by UKBlues and private donations, the target of £8,000 was just about achieved and our thanks go to everyone for their generosity.

The Blue Funk Blues Club in Poynton is staging a fund raiser gig featuring Kyla and her superb band on Friday 28th December 2018 and you can find more details at


8th October 2018


A month ago today, Kyla Brox was declared the hugely popular winner of the 5th UKBlues Challenge held in Worthing on September 8th and, as a result, she has been invited to go to represent the UK at both the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2019 and the European Blues Challenge in The Azores in April 2019, an invitation she has accepted readily!

The UKBlues Federation has already donated £2,000 to Kyla to help with the significant initial outlay in booking air tickets, hotel accommodation etc. 

As in previous years, the UKBlues Federation has also set up a crowd funding campaign so that you can do your bit! So now you can show your support for Kyla and her band as they continue on this fantastic journey to Memphis and The Azores by clicking the ink below which will take you straight to the crowd funding page

When you visit the page you will find that there are loads of rewards which you can receive in return for pledging your financial support.

These range from a special wristband through to a full band house concert and include exclusive downloads, unique mementos, tickets for the 2nd UKBlues Awards, one of Kyla's dresses, a photo session with Kyla's favourite photographer and much, much more. 

Here's a special invite from Kyla to join in with the crowd funding

The campaign will run for just four weeks from midday today, 8th October 2018 so don't delay, get pledging today! 



10th September 2018



What a fabulous evening we had at Worthing Pier's Southern Pavilion on Saturday 8th September where a great and enthusiastic audience cheered to the rafters when the magnificent Kyla Brox was declared the winner of the 5th UKBlues Challenge and invited to go to represent the UK at both the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2019 and the European Blues Challenge in The Azores in April 2019.

All five contestants -  Greg Coulson Band, Carl North & the Lonely Hearts, Kyla Brox Band, Catfish and Tom C Walker Band  - treated us to a fabulously varied evening of top flight music and all proved that they were worthy of taking part in the Challenge. Congratulations go to all of them on making the event so very special.

But special congratulations to Kyla Brox and her band who we are both proud and pleased to have as the UK's representative at the International and European Blues Challenges next year.

Photo courtesy Richard Dunning

This great photo from Richard Dunning sums it up as four of the five contestants jam in the evening's finale.

But don't take my word for it,
read the full story and some great comments from those who were there.


We are delighted to announce that next year's UKBlues Awards will take place at the Preston Guild Hall, Preston, Lancashire on Saturday 27th April 2019 with MC Mike Vernon in charge !!

Preston Guild Hall

But keep the whole weekend free as there will be three days of blues gigs and other activities running from Friday 26th through to Sunday 28th including a UKBlues Market on the Saturday afternoon featuring a great networking opportunity and the chance for members of the UKBlues Federation to promote their activities and meet potential contacts/clients/customers etc.

More details to follow.



10th July 2018


Yes. It is now less than two months until the 5th UKBlues Challenge takes place in the wonderful Worthing Pier's Southern Pavilion and if you have not got your tickets yet, don't delay, get them today!

There is a very limited number f reserved tables for 4 available on  where you can also buy admission only tickets. We are going to try to make sure that there is seating at tables for everyone who buys a ticket but you will have to take pot luck as to where this is and it will be on a first come, first served basis.

The evening will see five bands each playing a thirty minute set before a panel of judges drawn from across the UK blues scene with the winner being offered the opportunity to represent the UK at the 35th International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis between 22nd & 25th January 2019 and the 9th European Blues Challenge (EBC) which will take place in Ponta Delgada in the Azores on 4th, 5th and 6th April 2019.

Four of the five bands have already been selected through a nomination process run by the UKBlues Federation and, as already announced, they are, in alphabetical order:





In addition, one of the four bands selected by the Jessica Foxley Unsigned Project to play at the Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival in Colne on the 24th to 26th August 2018 will be chosen by the Project's representatives to participate in the UKBlues Challenge, a fantastic opportunity for one of these great up and coming young bands.



20th MAY 2018




22nd JANUARY 2018


Very soon the nominees in the FORM UKBlues Awards will be announced and there will a hubbub ‘across the social media platforms about ‘why wasn’t my band chosen? ‘and ’who decides these names anyway?’

The UKBlues Federation created a panel of 361 musicians, reviewers, promoters, broadcasters, bloggers, festival organisers and UKBlues Federation members. We also invited anybody who wanted to be part of this panel to apply to be included and received more than 30 applications. In mid-December they were all contacted and asked to make their three choices in all the awards categories.

Of course, just as in a General Election, not all do and so we send two reminders to jog their memory.

We also asked the gig going public to vote for their favourite blues venue and this engendered a good response from 81 blues fans and this could be something we look at expanding in the future.

At midnight on 15th January the polls closed and we then had the task of going through the 288 responses, awarding 5 points to the first choice, 3 for the second and one for the third. There is also the task of cleaning up all the spelling and typing errors. To a computer Dave-space-Raven is totally different to Dave-space-space-Raven.  There was also lots of creative license in names like Jablonski, Bassford and even Siegal.

478 different artists were nominated, many with only one or two nominations. In every category there were clear leaders in the top 3 or 4 names. But obviously many really great musicians will not be featured as they were outside the top 5.

The data analytics have been inspected by an external non blues-loving Partner in KPMG and verified as correct.

As Winston Churchill said about democracy, ‘It’s not perfect but it’s the best we’ve got’

Registration and voting begins in February.

Dave Raven

UKBlues Federation Treasurer and Data Analyst


Voting in the FORM UKBlues Awards opens in just 9 days on 1st February 2018.

There are 17 categories in which you will be able to vote and you can see the details of these on the Categories page of the Awards website –

As a security and management measure, you will not be able to vote in the FORM UKBlues Awards unless you have first gone through a simple registration process.

Registration will open on 1st February 2018 and will be via the relevant page on the Awards website.

We know that most people have a phobia of reading rules etc. but we do urge you to visit the Rules page of the Awards website and note, in particular, those applicable to the voting process -

Whilst it is appreciated that voters may not wish to vote in every category, voters are requested to cast votes in as many categories as possible. To avoid the possibility of the voting being ‘hijacked’ or unduly biased, the UKBlues Federation reserves the right to disallow votes from voters who have not voted in at least six of the nine main categories (1 to 9 inclusive). 


4th JANUARY 2018

The UKBlues Awards Presentation Event

The UKBlues Awards will be presented at an exclusive event being organised by the UKBlues Federation at the magnificent Southern Pavilion of Worthing Pier on Saturday 19th May 2018.

Beautifully restored to its 1930s splendour, the last few years has seen Worthing Pier’s Southern Pavilion become a ‘must play’ venue for both national and international blues artists and the UKBlues Federation is honoured that Worthing Council’s Southern Pavilion have agreed to host the Awards event at this unique and very special venue.

Tickets now available from:


18th DECEMBER 2017

UKBLUES AWARDS - Blues Club/Venue of the Year Award

The nomination period for the inaugural UKBlues Awards opened today – 18th December 2017 and runs through to midnight on 15th January 2018.

Invitations have been sent to the members of our nomination panels.

The Blues Club/Venue of the Year Award is open to nominations from anybody – and this is your chance to nominate your favourite place that you visit to see and hear great blues for a UKBlues Award.

Nominations for this award are being invited from blues lovers at large and must be accompanied by a summary, not exceeding 150 words, describing why you are nominating the club/venue, the contribution it makes to the blues in the UK, the people that run it, the exceptional ambience, etc.

Before submitting your nomination, please ensure that you read the following notes:

1. The submission must also be accompanied by the name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of the person making the submission.

2. All nominees must be within the UK

For fuller details and to make sure that your nominations meet the eligibility criteria of the UKBlues Awards, please visit the Rules page of the Awards website - - where you can also check out the full rules etc.

You should submit your nomination to us at and if you have any queries or difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us at the same address.

Your nomination can only be submitted during the nomination period 18th December 2017 to midnight 15th January 2018. Any nominations submitted outside this period will not be considered.
You may only submit one nomination for this category. Any attempt to submit nominations more than once will lead to your nomination being disallowed and you being excluded from nominating for the UKBlues Awards.

Find out more about the UKBlues Awards at





As we suggested in our news release on 30th November 2017, we have some more great news about the inaugural UKBlues Awards presentation event taking place at Worthing Pier Southern Pavilion on Saturday 19th May 2018, tickets for which will be available from 1st January 2018.

We are thrilled and very honoured to announce that Ian Siegal has agreed to take on the role of Master of Ceremonies at the event.

Ian is considered by many to be the most compelling British blues artiste since the great names of the sixties.
Classic Rock tags Siegal “a national treasure,” America’s blues bible says “vast talent” and MOJO magazine ranks him “the cleverest writer and most magnetic blues performer in the UK.” In a career that spans more than 25 years he has taken his music to 45 countries and presided over a trophy haul that includes 14 Awards in various categories and two Mojo Blues Albums of The Year not to mention three US Blues Music Awards nominations - an unprecedented nod for a non-American.
And yet, for all the dizzying achievements in the rear-view mirror, the most important part of any Siegal chronology is always the next show, the next song and the next great record.
Talking about his involvement with the event Ian said: "I’m delighted to be asked to help the UKBlues Federation present the first edition of the UK Blues Awards. This is an important step towards making the awards an internationally recognised standard of excellence. I will see you in Worthing in May to celebrate the UK’s diverse blues talents.”  
We are very pleased that Ian has agreed to come on board and his involvement can only help to make this event all the more special and one not to miss. 

Earlier this week the UKBlues Federation launched a sponsorship campaign for the Awards and we are very pleased with the response with 7 of the 17 categories already having been snapped up by sponsors.

Details of all the categories in the Awards can be seen at and the UKBlues Federation is keen to hear from anybody who is interested in becoming involved with the sponsorship of an individual award or of the event itself, there are a number of options available. To find out more, simply drop us a line at and we will send you our sponsorship prospectus which gives you full details.
The initial nomination process for the first UKBlues Awards starts in just over a week on 18th December 2017 and will run until 15th January 2018.
Whilst all members of the UKBlues Federation are automatically enrolled in the nomination panel, for non-members, it is not quite too late to seek to be included although the closing date is midnight 15th December 2017.
If anyone would like to be included in the extensive panel of people from across the blues spectrum in the UK involved in the initial nomination stage of the Awards process, they should e-mail us at  giving us their name, full postal address, telephone number and the e-mail address with which they wish to register plus a brief outline (no more than 50 words) describing why they wish to join the panel and your background in the blues in the UK.

You don’t have to be a musician, a promoter, a writer, a radio presenter etc. If you love your blues and get out to see bands play whenever you can and buy CDs or downloads of bands’ albums etc. then that means you could be on the panel!

The UKBlues Federation does not undertake to accept every application and their decision will be final and they will not disclose our reasons for accepting or not accepting applications. All applications will be treated as confidential and all members of the nomination panel are required to keep their involvement in the panel confidential.

Finally, as you will see from the Eligibility criteria and Rules that have been drafted to apply to the UKBlues Awards – - the UKBlues Federation has gone to great lengths to make sure the voting process for the Awards is robust, open, secure and having integrity.
It has already been advised that the process will be overseen and audited by a completely independent external scrutineer and we are very pleased to announce that a partner in KPMG, a major international professional service company and one of the Big Four auditors, has agreed to take on this role.
The UKBlues Federation would like to thank the partner concerned, whose identity must, for obvious reasons, remain confidential, for agreeing to take on this role.





 The UKBlues Federation is excited to announce that, for the first time ever, the UK will have a representative taking part in the Youth Showcase at the 34th International Blues Challenge between 16th & 20th January 2018.

The Youth Showcase takes place on the afternoon of Friday 19th  January  2018 in the Beale Street entertainment district in Memphis, Tennessee and will see  some of the finest in developing blues talent perform in a variety of clubs along the world famous Beale Street. This is described by the organisers, the Blues Foundation, as a ‘chance to hear the next generation of great blues artists as they hone their talents in order to take the bigger world stage of the future’. 

Participants are also involved in workshops, master classes and other events over the 5 day period of the IBC as well as having the opportunity to mix with musicians and others involved with the blues from around the world.

The Youth Showcase is not judged, however all competition rules, regulations and restrictions apply. A panel will offer comments and feedback on performances.

As the only UK Affiliate to the Blues Foundation, the UKBlues Federation is delighted to have been able to offer the opportunity of appearing at and participating in this event to 12 year old Toby Lee, a young man who has already built a huge world-wide following on social media as well as having played on stage with a number of great names including Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Nemeth and Walter Trout. 


In October this year, Toby took the renowned Blues Heaven Festival in Denmark by storm drawing a glowing review from Elmore Magazine.

‘The phenomenon of this festival had to be the little 12-year-old guitar whirlwind, Toby Lee. Cute as a button, he dressed in Mick Jagger duds and held a solid body Gibson Firebird that was just about as big as he was. This little dude stood firm beside the big players in the festival like John Nemeth, Mike Ledbetter, Sugaray Rayford and Ronnie Baker Brooks and matched their riffs blow-for-blow, managed to be as cool as ice. Video taken of him and Ronnie Baker Brooks with duelling guitars have hit the 50-million view mark and has been shared more than 1.4 million times. Yes, that happened at Blues Heaven.’

Toby has been playing guitar since he was 6 and was dubbed a future superstar of the blues by Joe Bonamassa.  He is associated with Gibson Brands and Hamstead Soundworks amplification

He was cast as the original Zack Mooneyham in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical School of Rock in the West End, a part which he played for a year. With School of Rock he performed in Hyde Park and on shows including Comic Relief, Michael McIntyre and The X Factor. Earlier this year Toby won an Olivier Award along with the other band members of School of Rock for playing live at every show.

He released his first EP “Ten”, produced by Laurence Jones, another of Toby’s admirers, when he was 10.

The UKBlues Federation is proud that, following on from the success of last year when the UK’s first ever IBC entrant, the Kaz Hawkins Band, progressed to the competition’s semi-finals. The UK will, this year not only be represented at the International Blues Challenge by LaVendore Rogue who won the 4th UKBlues Challenge but also in the Youth Showcase by one of the youngest artists to take part in this event.

Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of the UKBlues Federation commented: ‘We are both excited and very happy that we have been able to facilitate Toby’s participation at the INC Youth Showcase and see this as an important step in achieving one of our stated aims, supporting and promoting the next generation of blues players and bringing the blues to the younger generations. We wish Toby every success and are proud to have him flying the flag for blues in the UK & the UKBlues Federation.’

You can find out more about Toby at where you can also see and hear Toby in action. 


Following on from our announcement of the inaugural UKBlues Awards the presentation of which will take place on Saturday 19th May 2018 at the magnificent Worthing Pier’s Southern Pavilion, we are delighted to announce that providing live music at the event will be British Blues Award winners Catfish who have carved a reputation for themselves as an excellent live band with a phenomenal frontman in 23 year old guitarist/vocalist Matt Long who plays with a real passion for the blues. 

Over a two year period they have received no less than  5 nominations in the British Blues Awards and both their albums have reached no 1 in the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association’s Blues Airplay Charts  They have three European tours already booked for 2018.

Recently Blues Matters! said of the band: 'Catfish are one of the finest live bands in Britain today.  The quality of musicianship is outstanding and in Matt Long, they have one of the greatest young guitarists on the scene today... ‘

We are delighted that we have secured the services of such an excellent band for the inaugural UKBlues Awards presentation event and know that their presence can only enhance what already promises to be a special event.

And we have more great news about who will be our MC for this event, news which will be announced soon!





 photo courtesy of Sarah Reeve Photography UK

Following on from their announcement of the inaugural UKBlues Awards, the UKBlues Federation is very pleased to announce that the Awards presentation event will take place on Saturday 19th May 2018 at the magnificent Worthing Pier’s Southern Pavilion, a venue that has become a fixture on the UK blues circuit for both national and international artists.

More details of the event will be announced in the near future.



There is still time for you to be a part of the process of helping to select the nominees for the UKBlues Awards.

If you would like to be included in the extensive panel of people from across the blues spectrum in the UK involved in the initial nomination stage of the Awards process, then e-mail us at  giving us your name, full postal address, telephone number and the e-mail address with which you wish to register plus a brief outline (no more than 50 words) describing why you wish to join the panel and your background in the blues in the UK.

You don’t have to be a musician, a promoter, a writer, a radio presenter etc. If you love your blues and get out to see bands play whenever you can and buy CDs or downloads of bands’ albums etc. then that means you could be on the panel!

We do not undertake to accept every application and UKBlues’ decision will be final and we will not disclose our reasons for accepting or not accepting applications. All applications will be treated as confidential and
all members of the nomination panel are required to keep their involvement in the panel confidential.



The rules governing the UKBlues Awards have been published on the Awards website – - and this page also gives details of and eligibility criteria for each of the Award categories.



With the campaign having passed the halfway mark in terms of time a few days ago, it has reached a wonderful total of nearly £5,000 or just over 55% funded. Add in the £1,500 donated direct to LaVendore Rogue by the UKBlues Federation and they guys are just a smidgin over £2,000.00 from their target of £8,000.

This is a great result to date and we at the UKBlues Federation and the Rogues themselves are all very grateful to everyone who has pledged. Thank you!

There are still loads of great and exclusive rewards waiting to be picked up so if you have not already contributed, why not give yourself and the Rogues an early Christmas present and go to
the crowd funding page so you can make a pledge to help them get to Memphis and Hell!!

If you have already pledged, spread the word to your friends, get them to get you an early Christmas present!

Here is a very special message from the Rogues themselves!



Raising funds to contribute towards the costs of LaVendore Rogue representing the UK at the 2018 International and European Blues Challenges

LaVendore Rogue will be representing the UK when they join more than 250 other acts from all over the world at the 34th International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, USA organised by the Blues Foundation between 16th and 20th January 2018.

They will also compete in the 8th European Blues Challenge (EBC) in Hell, Norway organised by the European Blues Union on 15th, 16th and 17th March 2018 in which 21 bands from across Europe will take part.

As part of the UKBlues Federation’s mission to support the Blues in the UK we have set up this crowd funding campaign to raise funds towards the considerable costs which will be incurred by the LaVendore Rogue representing the UK at the 2018 IBC & EBC.

As well as providing financial support to LaVendore Rogue the crowd funding page also offers a huge range of rewards which you can get in return for your pledge. 

So don't delay, visit the
 crowd funding page today!

Click here for full details

Visit the UKBlues Federation's website-
which contains a wealth of information which is regularly updated.





The UKBlues Federation Welcomes British Blues Archive

The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) is delighted to announce that with immediate effect the British Blues Archive (BBA) is to amalgamate with UKBlues and come under the organisation’s ‘umbrella’ with BBA’s online archive material being incorporated into the Education section of the UKBlues’ website ( .

In addition UKBlues and the British Blues Archive are working with the British Blues Exhibition (   and Early (   who have agreed to migrate some of their relevant online content to further enhance the brand new and comprehensive resource afforded by this new venture.

This unique partnership will create an unparalleled central resource and reference point for historical material relating to blues in the UK online and forms part of UKBlues’ stated aim to seek to provide educational material and facilities to widen knowledge of the blues in the UK and to assist those also seeking to do the same.

Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of UKBlues said: ‘We were thrilled and honoured when Peter Harvie, joint founder of the BBA, approached us to suggest an amalgamation. The BBA has a wealth of material of all sorts and Peter’s approach came as our webmaster, Alan White, was in the process of setting up an Education section of our website following our decision to seek to develop this aspect of our activities. So this was a great idea that arose at the perfect time.
To then have the British Blues Exhibition and Early Blues offer to work with us to further enhance this was the icing on the cake and we thank board members Darren Weale and Alan White for their generous co-operation.

The Board of UKBlues is hugely excited about the possibilities that these new partnerships and co-operations afford us as an organisation but, more importantly, the blues as a whole in the UK. They also serve to reinforce our mission to become a focal point for the blues in the UK.’

Peter Harvie of the British Blues Archive said;  'We at the British Blues Archive are delighted to be joining UK Blues. The work being done by the British Blues Archive and UK Blues complement each other and the bringing together of our strengths has created in one place a tremendous resource, the place to go to for information, history, interviews and insights on British Blues. We at the British Blues Archive are tremendously excited about the amalgamation and are looking forward to new projects ahead with UK Blues'.





Photo courtesy Alan White

The Robin 2, Bilston, West Midlands played host to the 3rd UK Blues Challenge on Saturday 12th November 2016, organized by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) and sponsored by  Upton Blues Festival.

At stake for the four contestants was the opportunity to represent the UK at the 33rd International Blues Challenge (IBC)  in Memphis in the USA at the end of January/early February 2017 and at the 7th European Blues Challenge (EBC) in Horsens, Denmark in April 2017. This will be the first time that the UK has been represented at the IBC.

The four bands participating in the Challenge were selected by a panel of more than 250 people involved in and with the blues in the UK and came from across the UK exhibiting the breadth, quality and individuality that exists in the blues in the UK.

From Cornwall, Wille & the Bandits, a trio whose reputation is being reinforced by their most recent CD release.

Photo courtesy Graham Munn

from Norfolk the individual and combined talents that are the Dove & Boweevil Band

Photo courtesy Graham Munn

from Northern Ireland the powerhouse that is the Kaz Hawkins Band

Photo courtesy Graham Munn

and from Birmingham, multiple British Blues Award winner, Rebecca Downes

Photo courtesy Graham Munn

Each of the bands delivered an exciting and varied thirty minute set featuring mainly original music which demonstrated how broad a church the blues is in the UK, much to the delight of the large audience at the event.

Photo courtesy Ashwyn Smyth

Deciding upon a winner was a tough job for the panel of seven judges, drawn from across the blues spectrum:

Kyla Brox*,
Alex Butler of Red Butler who represented the UK at the 2015 EBC,
Oliver Carpenter - Trustee - and Ruth Etheridge - Secretary - Upton Blues Festival,
Mark Horsley, the Promoter and Director of the Scarborough Secret Blues Festival,
Peter Noble, boss of Noble PR,
Becky Tate* of Babajack, EBC contestants in 2013.
*Honorary Members of UKBlues

After much deliberation and in a tight contest, the Kaz Hawkins Band were declared very popular winners and were presented with the UKBlues Challenge trophy and Winner's certificate.

Photo courtesy Liz Aiken

As well as competing at the International & European Blues Challenges, the winner will also be offered slots to play at Blues on the Farmthe Great British R'n'B Festival at Colnethe International Blues Review Mini Cruise and the Upton Blues Festival in 2017.

Kaz said after the announcement: ‘My band and I are so humbled to be chosen to represent the UK Blues Federation in the USA & Europe. It's exciting to be pushing our own boundaries in the blues genre. We would like to thank the UK Blues Federation for giving us this opportunity to showcase our music on behalf of the UK. ‘

In addition to representing the UK at the International and European Blues Challenges and the massive exposure this will offer, the band will also be offered the opportunity to play at four top blues festivals/events during 2017 and they were presented with a trophy on the night.

Previous UK representatives at the EBC have included Red Butler, Laurence Jones, Babajack and Ben Poole. Becky Tate of Babajack, said of their participation in the EBC:

‘For us it was immensely important. We got to go to Europe, it was our window into Europe and we met an enormous number of people. We had a whole year’s worth of festival work offered us from that one twenty minute slot we played.

We didn’t win, we came close, but you know what, what we won was an amazing opportunity for us as musicians and I can honestly say that our European work is what has kept us on the road.
It’s an amazing thing to do for that individual band but it is also an amazing thing to do for British blues. That’s why what these guys (UKBlues) are doing is so important‘

Another of the judges, Peter Noble of Noble PR commented:

’The UK Blues Challenge was wonderful.  It gave me the opportunity to see Wille & The Bandits live who I felt were the most original artist of the night.  I particularly loved the pedal steel guitar and Wille’s harrowing vocals.   Kaz Hawkins touched a nerve with the judges and after her performance you felt a definite emotional connection.   The biggest reaction of the night went to Rebecca Downes who really impressed everyone with her incredible powerhouse vocals and dynamic stage presence.   Dove & Boweevil were also impressive with their entertaining blues repertoire. All in all a great evening.'

Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of UKBlues said:

‘ This was an excellent evening and our thanks go to everyone involved, the bands, the judges, the sponsors and all the team at the Robin 2 who made us so welcome and worked so hard to make the event such a success. The feedback we have received has been great and it is clear that those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the very fine musicians who played for them. I hope that we have laid the foundations for future UK Blues Challenges and that it will become one of the must attend events of the blues year.

This was a night that celebrated the best in UK blues and demonstrated only too clearly the quality and range of the talent that is all too often unsung in this too frequently ignored musical genre. The event also raised funds which we, UKBlues, can use to further our aims and to make a contribution towards the Kaz Hawkins Band’s costs attending the two Challenges.’

UKBlues will be setting up a crowd funding page soon to raise additional funds to help the UK’s representative attend both the European and International Blues Challenges. Details will be announced shortly.


Don't forget that, as a Member of UKBlues  you can post details of your gigs and/or those gigs with which you are involved on the Events page of the  UKBlues website. There are already a few gigs posted here and we hope that over the next few months this page will become ever more populated.

If you are already a Member or Friend of UKBlues and want to avail yourself of this facility, please contact our Webmaster who will sort out access and log ins for you -


If you are not already a member of UKBlues, why not join now? Click here to join.

By doing so you will be able to help us support & promote the blues in the UK and you will enjoy a range of benefits including being on the panel of those invited to nominate artists for the annual UK Blues Challenge.




The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) is delighted to announce the Upton Blues Festival as the main sponsor of the forthcoming 3rd UK Blues Challenge which takes place on 12th November 2016 at The Robin 2 in Bilston, West Midlands.

This event will see Wille & the Bandits, Dove & Boweevil,  Kaz Hawkins and Rebecca Downes competing for the opportunity to represent the UK at the European and International Blues Challenges in 2017.

In addition, the winner of the UK Blues Challenge will be offered the opportunity to play at a number of top UK festivals including the Upton Blues Festival. This additional support by the committee of the Upton Blues Festival.

For Upton Blues Festival, Oliver Carpenter said:

‘The Upton Blues Festival is proud to sponsor the UK Blues Challenge night. Britain’s biggest free blues festival and Festival of the Year 2015 & 2016 in the British Blues Awards, Upton attracts over 20,000 visitors from across the country and contributes almost £1M to the small Worcestershire town’s economy. It shows how live blues can be mainstream and attract all ages and types of people to revel in the atmosphere created by the broad spectrum of this important type of music.

The volunteer organisation team wants to support the UK Blues Federation in all its activities to bring together the performers, venues, clubs, festivals, and media interested in blues music and to promote all aspects of blues, from the traditional to the new, the familiar to the unexpected and the intimate to the vibrant, to new audiences and new people across the country. ‘ 

For UKBlues, Ashwyn Smyth, Chair, said:
‘We are very appreciative of and grateful for the support being given to UKBlues, both financial and general, by the multi-award winning Upton Blues Festival. Their sponsorship of the UK Blues Challenge will help considerably with the costs thereof and mean that we will have more funds available to support some of the other activities of UKBlues, including providing some financial assistance to the winner of the Challenge towards their expenses representing the UK at both the European and International Blues Challenges in 2017.

With this support, Upton Blues Festival is demonstrating the kind of co-operation and support we are seeking to encourage and develop within the UK blues community and demonstrates the benefits of different areas of that community working together to facilitate and achieve similar aims.’

Tickets for the 3rd UK Blues Challenge at the Robin 2, Bilston priced £10.00 (plus booking fee) can be booked online at or by calling 01902 401211. Tickets £12.00 on the door.


The top raffle prize at the UK Blues Challenge at the Robin 2 in November is 20 CDs.

Not just any CDs, but some of the top releases so far in 2016.

Joe Bonamassa, King King, Red Butler, Royal Southern Brotherhood and Layla Zoe are just 5 of the 20 artists in the prize.

The picture shows all 20 (in fact here are 22 CDs because Joe B and King King are doublers)

If you can't make it to the event but want a chance to win then click the Paypal button here: 

Thank you


and make a donation of £5 or £10 or £15 or more. 

Tickets are £1 each and are sold in strips of 5.

In the purpose box put RAFFLE and your full name

The Judges at the event will adjudicate the raffle to ensure fair play.

Hurry! This offer ends at midnight on Thursday 10th November 2016.





Check out the fantastic designs and buy our new UKBlues Federation official t-shirts  here




Danny Bryant presents Alex Butler with the UK Blues Federation's cheque for the money raised by UKBlues' crowd funding campaign.

At the Waterfront, Norwich: l to r - Paul Smith, Board Member - UKBlues, Alex Butler, Danny Bryant, Charlie Simpson, Jane Chloe Pearce, Mike Topp (Red Butler) 

Following the end of a crowd funding campaign set up by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) on Crowdfunder UK, UKBlues is very pleased to announce that a total of £570.00 was raised thanks to the generosity of the contributors. After the deduction of the fees levied by Crowdfunder UK, PayPal and Stripe who process the payments, a total of £540.00 remains and UKBlues have passed the whole of this to Red Butler to assist with their costs appearing at the 6th European Blues Challenge in Torrita di Siena, Italy in April. It is believed that this is the first time that the UK’s representative at the European Blues Challenge has received financial support from the UK blues community.   For Red Butler, Alex Butler said: ‘’We'd like to thank everyone who has been part of this incredible effort to support us in our journey to Italy. We are honoured to have the opportunity to compete in the competition flying the flag for the U.K."    For UKBlues, Ashwyn Smyth: ‘‘We are very pleased and not a little proud that we have managed to provide some financial assistance to Red Butler as they travel to Italy to compete with 20 other acts from around Europe in the 6th European Blues Challenge. We hope that people will recognise that UKBlues means what it says and that we are working hard to ‘promote and support Blues in and from the United Kingdom in all its forms and styles.’ This is just one small step, next year we hope to be able to assist the winners of this year’s UK Blues Challenge to attend both the EBC in Denmark and the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. We also have many other things which we are working on and invite people to support our work and the blues in the UK by joining the UK Blues Federation. For details visit our website, ‘’  



The UK Blues Foundation (UKBlues) is delighted to announce that the 3rd UK Blues Challenge will be held at the Robin 2, in Bilston, Wolverhampton, on Saturday 12th November 2016.  At the event, four bands/acts chosen from a selection process which has already commenced, will compete for the opportunity to be invited to represent the UK at the 7th Blues Challenge in Denmark in 2017 as well as, it is hoped, the 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, also in 2017.

UKBlues wishes to thank Mike Hamblett at the Robin 2 for his support and assistance in making this event possible.

Full details of the event, including how tickets can be purchased, timings etc. will be published soon.

Mike Hamblett - proprietor of the Robin 2: ‘I am very proud and privileged to host the 3rd UK Blues Challenge at The Robin 2 in Bilston, Wolverhampton on 12th November 2016. We all look forward to an extremely successful event..."

Ashwyn Smyth – Chair of UKBlues:  ‘We are delighted to be staging this event at the Robin 2, a superb and well known venue with a deserved reputation for putting on top class music events. We have made no secret of the fact that we are keen to see the UK Blues Challenge being staged at locations throughout the UK which this event evidences.’

More information

Contact Chair – Ashwyn Smyth

or Darren Weale - 07708 712011

See our website:

Venue website: 




(including a long overdue award for John Mayall)

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE February 16, 2016. On May 4, 2016 five legendary blues performers, two individuals who were instrumental in the creation of blues music, five single blues recordings, one blues album and an important piece of blues literature will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Elvin Bishop, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson, John Mayall, and The Memphis Jug Band will each take their places beside performers who have been deemed by a group of blues scholars and industry veterans to be the Best in the Blues.  Each of these musicians has carved his place in blues history. Bishop's beginnings with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to his more recent recognition for the 2015 Blues Music Awards "Song of the Year" have elevated him to the highest stature in blues music. Clearwater, Johnson, and Mayall each boast careers that have spanned more than a half century, and their talent has not waned as they each continue to produce music and to perform for devoted audiences, yet each are distinguishable by their stage presence and musical talent. The Memphis Jug Band's music crossed the racial divides of the first half of the twentieth century and inspired many musicians to follow in their footsteps.

Non-performer individuals to be recognized by The Blues Foundation for their behind-the-scenes contributions are Malaco Records partners Tommy Couch, Sr. and Wolf Stephenson, whose label's first big hit was Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue" in 1976, and who then went on to produce such blues greats as Bobby Bland, Little Milton, Z.Z. Hill, Denise LaSalle, Latimore, Johnnie Taylor, and Tyrone Davis. The business foundation they built has allowed Malaco to remain an active player in the music world today.

The book Early Downhome Blues: A Musical and Cultural Analysis, by Jeff Todd Titon is the literature entry into the Blues Hall of Fame this year, and is one of the most important analytical studies of the blues to have been published.

The classic album Blues in the Mississippi Night (Nixa, 1957: United Artists, 1959) is being honored as are the singles, "Crazy Blues" by Mamie Smith (OKeh, 1920), "That's All Right" by Jimmy Rogers (Chess, 1950), Billy Boy Arnold's "I Wish You Would" (Vee-Jay, 1955), Johnny Moore's Three Blazers' (Charles Brown, vocal and piano) "Merry Christmas Baby" (Exclusive, 1947), the first Yuletide song inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and "Blues Before Sunrise" by Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell (Vocalion, 1934).

Inductees' official biographies and descriptions are also available - click here.

The induction ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 4, at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee, the night before the 37th Blues Music Awards. With living musicians like Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton, and legends like Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor, the Blues Hall of Fame consists of blues music's best and brightest stars. The Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony will coincide with the one year anniversary of the opening of the Blues Hall of Fame Museum, also located in Memphis, TN at the home of the Blues Foundation.  This state of the art facility celebrates the lives and the music of each Hall of Fame individual as well as the history of the music and the literature produced through the blues timeline. These newest inductees will be added to the museum's permanent exhibits and interactive displays in conjunction with their induction this May.

On May 5, the night after the Blues Hall of Fame inductions, The Blues Foundation will present the Blues Music Awards for the 37th time. Performers, industry representatives, and fans from around the world will celebrate the best in blues recording, songwriting, and performance from the previous year at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis. For tickets and more information, click here.


Crowd Funding Project Launched

20th December 2015

Just like London Buses, there is no news from UKBlues for ages and then, within ten days two items come along at once!

In our recent Newsletter, we mentioned that we were in the process of putting a Crowd Funding page in place to raise funds to help us to contribute towards Red Butler's costs attending the European Blues Challenge which will be held next April in Italy and also to help raise some funding for UKBlues to enable us to pay off what we owe in set up costs and give us funds to move forward in 2016 with some of the things we are aiming to do.

photo courtesy of Haydn Hart (c) 2015

This fundraising project is now live and you can read all about it at where you can also contribute and show your support for Red Butler and UKBlues.

Please help us to support the UK's representatives at the 6th European Blues Challenge and help us take the next steps to support and promote the blues in the UK. Any contribution will be gratefully received and will be of great help.

Before signing off, the board of UKBlues thanks you for your interest in and support for UKBlues and we would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and a safe, healthy and successful 2016.



The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) is pleased to announce that membership is now open to anybody who is involved in or supports the blues in the UK.

By joining you will help UKBlues in its work to support and promote the blues in the UK.

Members will also have the facility to post details of their gigs, festivals and other similar events on the UKBlues Calendar page which, we hope, will become the most comprehensive online guide to blues events in the UK. It is also intended that there will, in the future, be exclusive content available on the website, for members only. We are also hoping to negotiate exclusive deals for members at a later date.

Already, UKBlues is an Active Member of the European Blues Union (EBU) and we were appointed by the EBU to create and run the selection process to find the UK’s representative for the 2016 European Blues Challenge which will take place in April 2016 in Torrita di Siena, Italy.

Red Butler won the 2nd UK Blues Challenge organised and promoted by UKBlues in conjunction with Pete Feenstra Real Live Music and will be flying the flag for the UK next April.

UKBlues has also recently been appointed an Affiliate of the Blues Foundation, the first and only Affiliate in the UK, and this will allow UKBlues to nominate UK representatives at the annual International Blues Challenge which takes place in Memphis in January every year.

UKBlues hopes that the winners of the 3rd UK Blues Challenge which will take place in the second half of 2016 will be invited to represent the UK in Memphis in 2017 as well as at the 7th European Blues Challenge which will take place in Denmark in April 2017.

Your membership subscription will help us to provide financial support both to Red Butler in respect of their trip to Italy and to future blues acts chosen to represent the UK on the international stage.

You can read more about UKBlues, its mission, its aims and also join UKBlues by visiting our website at .



The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) is pleased to announce that the band representing the UK at the 6th European Blues Challenge (EBC), organised by the European Blues Union (EBU) will be Red Butler, winners of the 2nd UK Blues Challenge on Saturday 24th October 2015 at the Boom Boom Club in Sutton, Surrey, jointly promoted and organised by Pete Feenstra Real Music Live and UKBlues. A panel of five judges chosen from across the UK blues community awarded contestants points for the four criteria laid down by the EBU – originality, instrumental talent, vocal talent and stage presence. Red Butler were the winners from a field also including Malaya Blue, The Brothers Groove, and The Katie Bradley Band.

The 6th EBC will be held on 8th-9th April 2016 in Torrita di Siena in Tuscany, Italy and will see 20 European bands competing. Previous UK representatives at the EBC have been BenPoole, 24 Pesos, Babajack, David Migden & the Twisted Roots and Laurence Jones. The recently created UK Blues Federation is honoured to have been appointed by the EBU to run the Challenge and is setting up a crowd funding campaign to assist with Red Butler’s costs in connection appearing at the EBC. Full details will be available soon on the UKBlues website .

Ashwyn Smyth – Chair of UKBlues – said: ‘It has been a lot of hard work to pull both the selection process and the UK Challenge together, but it was all worth it! I am sure that Red Butler are going to do us proud in Italy next year. Our thanks go to Pete Feenstra for all he has done to make the Challenge happen and to the five judges who were faced with making some difficult choices. This has also been a great way to introduce the newly formed UK Blues Federation to the blues community in the UK and we have many plans for the future including, we hope, seeing a UK representative at the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. “We hope that many people will want to join UKBlues and help to support us in what we are doing and they can do so by going to our website where there are details of membership types and how you can join.”

Alex Butler of Red Butler said: ”There is huge exhilaration amongst the band at winning the UK Blues Challenge. We put our hearts and souls into the gig against stiff opposition. The immediate reaction from the crowd told us this was something special from the word go. We are thrilled to have a major European event in the calendar for next year.”

Photograph  © copyright Rockypix, used with permission



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