Thursday 30 September – 3 Sunday October 2021
60 gigs, 40 bands, four days: Swanage Blues festival is back this autumn
Bringing the distinctive sounds of blues, roots and soul to Swanage, the Swanage Blues Festival is back and the town’s streets, pubs and restaurants will be alive with a great party vibe this October.
Performing at 15 cracking venues across Swanage and Purbeck are returning musicians as well as new, fresh faces for 2021.
Join the hundreds of locals and returning visitors who come from all over the UK and beyond for a long weekend of fantastic headliners, chilled jam sessions and lively open mic nights.
Having grown from small beginnings in 2001, the Swanage Blues Festival’s become so popular it had to expand to take over another full weekend – and the town – for a second weekend of the year. Choose from either March or October – or, as many people do – both!
Check out this video of the Blues Festival in action in 2019:
The extensive list of performers and musicians can be found on the Swanage Blues Festival website or on their Facebook page.
Acts and venues can be subject to change so it’s best to check the schedule in advance:
ℹ️ Festival website – www.swanage-blues.org/
ℹ️ Festival social media – www.facebook.com/swanagebluesfest/
Here are some of this year’s highlights:
- Robin Bibi Band – Acoustic Jam Session at The Grand Hotel (Saturday 2 Oct, 2.30pm)
- The Fabulous Duck Brothers – Playing at the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club (Friday 1 Oct, 8pm)
- The Milk Men – (White Horse pub, Friday at 10pm)
- The Mustangs – (The White Horse, Saturday from 10pm)
- Will Killeen – (The Old Stables, Friday at 9pm and Sunday at 2.30pm)
- Fabulous Fezheads – (Saturday at 9pm, The Red Lion pub
For the most up-to-date information, or if you’re a local business or venue who’d like to support the festival or a musician who wants to get involved next year, visit the festival’s website (details above).
New for 2021 – Concert at The Mowlem
Saturday 2 October
*Note that the Blues Roots Soul Collective is now playing at Swanage Bay View Holiday Park*
This year there’ll be a special concert, in addition to the regular performances in town at Swanage’s Mowlem theatre.
A night of the ‘best of British’ the Blues Roots Soul Collective will showcase some of the UK’s rising stars and well-known artists.
- Connor Selby – UK Blues Awards Young Artist of the Year 2020/21
- Laura Evans – Blues chart-topping Laura Evans has also had an interesting acting career, most famously starring on BBC’s The Basil Brush Show
- Jade Like The Stone – Welsh-born singer-songwriter with a folk-rock vibe
- Hollie Rogers – BBC Introducing-backed Hollie is a regular at festivals and has supported some huge acts
- Georgia van Etten – London-based roots/alt-pop singer-songwriter
- The Company – Full house band featuring Sonny Winslow, Nat Martin, Martin ‘Magic’ Johnson and Stevie Watts
If you’ve been to the Blues Festival before you’ll know that the same businesses return to support the festival year on year, but keep an eye out for any new venues on the festival’s website or by buying a programme.
If you’re new to the festival, the programme also has a handy map of all the venues in town, as well as what’s happening where and when, so you can plan your evening around who’s playing, or where you want to eat – it’s traditionally a bit of a ‘pub trail’ and everything’s close together so you can dip in and out to sample all the sounds.
This year’s venues include:
- Swanage Bay View Holiday Park
- The Black Swan Inn
- The Globe Inn
- The Grand Hotel
- Herston Campsite
- The Greyhound (Corfe Castle)
- Isle of Purbeck Golf Club (Studland)
- The Old Stables
- The Red Lion
- The Royal British Legion
- The White Horse
- The White Swan
Be sure to check out our Swanage Pubs page for a quick lowdown of all the places to grab a drink in town.
The Blues Festival is essentially free – each venue is open to the public, although some may charge an entrance fee.
If you purchase the festival ‘supporter’ wristband, however, you get into everything free as well as having it as a nice memento of the long weekend and the knowledge that you’ve helped support this independent, not-for-profit event.
Supporter wristbands are £10 and are available at the festival.
“Fans come from all over the world for Swanage’s charm, quirky venues, super scenery and friendly people.
“There’s a magic here that’s been attracting visual and performing artists of all kinds for many years.
“People tell me they love the wide range of blues-based music in venues that are mostly close to each other. They can mix and match the music like with food, drink and accommodation – there’s something for every taste and the price makes it a great bargain in a charming Dorset seaside town.”
Steve Dorrington, festival organiser & Blues musician – who visited Swanage for two days in the summer of 2002 and never left. (It has that effect on people)
The Swanage Blues Festival is an extremely popular event, so book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment.
You’ll find a wide range of self-catering accommodation, bed & breakfasts, hotels, campsites and holiday parks both in Swanage and in surrounding areas of Purbeck.
Music venue/accommodation combo
Stay in the thick of the action, with performances and a place to stay in one, at the following venues:
- Swanage Bay View Holiday Park – Holiday homes overlooking Swanage town and bay, with on-site bar, gym and swimming pool
- The Grand Hotel – Traditional clifftop hotel gym and plunge pool, a short stroll from Swanage Beach
- Herston Caravan & Campsite – A budget camping and caravanning option on the outskirts of Swanage with great view of the Purbeck Hills
- The Red Lion – A traditional, family-run pub in the heart of town, with beer garden and pool table and good range of food, offering Bed & Breakfast
- The White Horse – Stay above the White Horse on High Street to be right in the centre of the festival vibe
More nearby options to try
There’s a wealth of accommodation options in the centre of Swanage itself, meaning you can walk to festival performances, as well as a range of great places to stay just a stone’s throw from the action. Here are just a few to check out:
- Swanage Coastal Park – A peaceful, hillside holiday park set further back from town. Great for retreating to after a night of music – some holiday homes come with a hot tub
- The Pines Hotel – Just a short stroll from the beach, you’ll also be close to the performers playing at The Grand, and not far from the rest of the acts in town, which is around a ten-minute walk away
- Olivers’ B&B – One of the various B&Bs in Corfe Castle. You can watch the acts playing at The Greyhound in the village, and hop on the bus or steam train into Swanage to check the other bands out
- YHA Swanage – A great, budget option for a group of friends or a family, the YHA is a popular choice to stay at for the Blues Fest as it’s just a short walk into town
- Local Airbnbs – Swanage’s hotels and B&Bs get booked up early for events such as the Blues Festival and Swanage Carnival, but it’s always worth checking Airbnb for a range of alternative places to stay
2022 Blues Festival dates
Plans for next year’s Swanage Blues Festival are already underway, so put these provisional dates in your diary:
3-6 March and 6-9 October 2022
Typically, the festivals run on the first weekend in March and the first weekend of October (both festival dates include the preceding Thursday and Friday).