Great British R&B Festival 2024

by Colne Life magazine


It’s nearly that time of the year again, time for thousands of people to flock to Colne to enjoy the Great British R&B Festival 2024, the most incredible weekend of live music, community spirit and bank holiday fun.

As far as the local music scene goes, our beautiful little town of Colne punches way above its weight, not only throughout the festival but week in and week out. As Simon Shackleton, festival coordinator at Colne Blues Society, so elegantly puts it, “Bonny Colne on the Hill: ‘Bluestown’ is a jewel in the crown of the North West live music scene.”

This music scene is why the Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival is such a roaring success. For over three decades, Colne has played host to one of the most important community music festivals in Europe.

Why, you might ask? It’s simple. Artists just LOVE performing here. The venues, the layout of the town, the people—it all just fits, and this year, the festival is set to get even bigger and better.

The 33rd Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival takes place from Friday, August 23rd, to Sunday, August 25th, and wow, what a weekend awaits.

Not only has a sensational line-up featuring 50 incredible artists been announced, but there is also a brand new stage this year, The Little Theatre Acoustic Stage. The Colne Little Theatre has been refurbished just in time for the festival. It’s a must-see this August.

But wait, it gets even better. The main stage venue, the Pendle Hippodrome, has enjoyed an incredible transformation, including the renovation of the adjoining and former historic Derby Arms public house.

The project has seen the creation of a pre-theatre venue and function room, as well as the redevelopment of the Hippodrome’s existing foyer, box office and toilet facilities. If you didn’t think the blues festival could get any better, it just did.

This year’s event will also feature an incredibly unique and special tribute to the legendary Victor Brox.

On Friday, August 23rd, Victor’s friends, family, and colleagues will come together at the Pendle Hippodrome to celebrate an incredible career that spanned over 60 years. Victor, who worked with the likes of Eric Clapton, Charles Mingus, Muddy Waters, Dr John, Leonard Cohen, BB King and many more, performed at the very first Great British R&B Festival back in 1990 as part of his Victor Brox Blues Train band.

The blues musician, who was born in Greater Manchester and became a huge draw in Manchester clubs in the 1960s, was also a special guest at the 2018 Great British R&B Festival, where he joined his daughter Kyla Brox on stage at the Pendle Hippodrome for a memorable performance.

Kyla, who has been described by many as “the finest female blues singer of her generation”, will now headline a star-studded tribute to her late father at this year’s Great British R&B Festival, performing at 11 pm on Friday, 23rd August, with many special guests set to join her on stage.

Before that performance, Colne Blues Society, in partnership with Kyla, has announced a fantastic line-up of Manchester-based artists in tribute to Victor. These include Paolo Fuschi & The Outsiders, who will feature Bo Lee on bass, who played bass for Victor for over 40 years, as well as Franny Eubank & His Blues Band, The Norman Beaker Band, and finally, Kyla Brox & Friends.

The Victor Brox Tribute kickstarts an incredible weekend of live music, which will also see headline performances from multi-award-winning guitar virtuoso, singer, songwriter, producer, and band leader Matt Schofield and The Matt Schofield Trio, as well as multi-award-winning Irish guitarist Dom Martin & Band, hailed by many as the successor to the legendary blues/rock artists Rory Gallagher and fellow Belfast man Gary Moore.

Also appearing at this year’s festival are many legends of the blues scene, including Chantel McGregor, The Norman Beaker Band, and Ian Siegal, as well as exciting up-and-coming talent, including The Cinelli Brothers, Demi Marriner, and many more.


There will also be plenty of local talent on the main stages, including Fruitless Forest and Strange Brew! Add to that 150 performances across 15 Official Fringe venues (Thursday to Monday), and you get yourself one of the best value music festivals in the UK.

Backed once again by main sponsors, Barnfield Construction, the festival will feature entertainment for all the family, with street performers, food stalls, face painting and much more throughout the weekend.

With a stunning backdrop and magnificent views over Colne, the festival’s dedicated campsite returns at the Colne & Nelson Rugby Club. The full festival campaign costs just £9 per night. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Well, how about a full festival ticket for £110? That’s just £2.20 per band over the weekend. Incredible value for money, plus there are individual day tickets, too!

A town that oozes live music, Colne is once again preparing itself for a record-breaking weekend. See you there!

To get your tickets, visit The Great British R&B Festival website.

ColneLife July/Aug 24