Carlisle Blues and Rock Festival returns this September

Plenty close down, but few make a comeback – Carlisle Blues and Rock Festival returns this September.

 The rejuvenated Carlisle Blues Rock festival will take place over the weekend of 29 – 30 September. Since the early days of the event Carlisle has been very held in high esteem in the UK with a reputation stretching into Europe and USA.

This year,  ex-Whitesnake star Bernie Marsden, is just one of an impressive collection of International acts lined up, which includes  UK blues ‘supergroup’, The Boom Band, Sari Schorr & The Engine Room, Kaz Hawkins Band, Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado and an impressive selection from the best acts on the British blues circuit.

The re-emergence of the festival is testament to the organiser’s faith in the live music scene following an horrendous time in 2014. The year saw the main venue going into administration just days before the opening set and having to find a new site plus accommodation for the bands and a good percentage of the audience. Being a full blown enthusiast, organiser Nick Westgarth, succeeded but it took its toll and it has taken until now to get the festival back up and running.

Sari Schorr

Nick explained: “I had something like five weeks to find an alternative venue, accommodation etc etc. and all that on top of a full time job in social care with the hours that brings; It took its toll, I was completely drained, wiped out in fact. I knew I had to take a break from the music scene but I also knew it would difficult to restart it once I’d done that. Not only would it lose momentum but I was well aware of more and more new events starting up all over the place. I wasn’t quite prepared to call it a day with the Carlisle festival, but I had to take a step back and re-evaluate.  But almost three years down the line things have changed, I’m in a much better shape to organise the event now’.

He continued: “ In starting again budgeting becomes ever more important and with that in mind I made the decision to shorten the festival a little on its come-back by not including the Sunday afternoon session. However, to compensate there will be live music in the City centre at new venues who’ve formed an association with the festival. That in itself is an exciting development and who knows, it could be the start of a trail for future years.”


This year is a new start with a new format. The event will be based at The Crown & Mitre Hotel, right in the centre of historic Carlisle, with its magnificent ballroom and where the main stage for all of the Saturday will be specially built. To add variety to the new format the venue for the Friday night’s show will be The Venue, a purpose built entertainment centre just off Botchergate which is only a few minutes’ walk from the Crown & Mitre.

Nick added: “One thing that hasn’t changed though is the quality of the line-up; it’s as strong as ever, if not better. There are probably six or seven headliners and not one act on the bill to make up the numbers. Unfortunately there are fewer tickets available than in previous years but the atmosphere is sure to be just as good. The great thing about the new festival home is that there is so much potential in the area for an event like this to grow.”

In previous years the Festival has attracted a number of familiar names such as, Andy Fairweather Low, Chris Spedding, Mick Ralphs, Glen Matlock, Martin Chambers and Pick Withers.

The line-up Nick has pulled together for 2017 features an artful mix of experience, youth, international acts and emerging names. With top blues artists from all over the UK, USA and Europe plus a former England test cricketer, this is a must see weekend.

For more information regarding tickets, timings and talent, visit

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