Review for BOWNESS BAY BLUES @ Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria
23rd to 25th March 2018
Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive

It was a welcome return to one of the most pleasing locations for a festival. The beautiful Bowness on Windermere hosting the events in venues throughout the town, with a great quality line up.



Arriving at the Boat House, we just missed the performance from Scottish acoustic player, ‘Stoney Broke’ aka Jake Scott. From all accounts this young singer songwriter played a mix of blues and soul numbers that were very well performed.

Following was the outstanding master of guitar and vocals ‘Sean Webster’, doing a solo acoustic set. All the bluesy numbers were sung with passion with bonus of superb guitar work.


Sean Webster         

On at the Wheelhouse were a young band that have been causing a stir over the past few of years. ‘Red Butler’ really gave it their all, with high energy  blues and rock.

Closing the Friday evening at the Wheelhouse, ‘Ben Poole’, now in a class of his own, certainly gave his guitar a good outing. With impressive solos, putting  blues rock firmly on the table and was much enjoyed by the captive audience.


‘George Shovlin and George Lamb’ played an superb acoustic set at The Quayside. With a great rapport with the audience and some excellently played blues,  George and George certainly hit the spot being a cut above the average acoustic players. Both experienced musicians, George Shovlin fronts his own electric band George Shovlin and The Radars who were playing later.


Up at the Hydro Hotel, ‘Gerry Jablonski and The Electric Band’ were ripping it up with a dynamic, loud, harmonica driven performance. They are certainly a band to see live, to get the full weight of their rockin’ blues performance


Taking time out for the Blues Cruise on Lake Windermere was one of the highlights of the weekend. On board was the renown ‘Ian Siegal’ performing an impressive solo acoustic set of blues and country blues.


Returning to the Boat House we caught the Northwest band  ‘Snakewater’. With their popularity in Europe growing, it was nice to see them in Cumbria. Playing some classic blues rock, much of their own making, they proved they are quite a dynamic trio.



On to the Wheelhouse with local Cumbrian band ‘Secure Unit’ playing a selection of classic covers.


Secure Unit

Now for something completely different for the final band of the evening. ‘The Jar Family’ are a ‘large as life’ stomp and holler band from the Northeast. Such a talented bunch of musicians with an individual style,  giving great entertainment as well as great music.


The Jar Family


Kicking off the day was the multi instrumentalist and one man band ‘The Mighty Small’. Laying down drums, bass, keys, acoustic and electric guitars plus vocals left me wondering …who needs a band!! Quite amazing


The Mighty Small

One of the highlights for me was the appearance of the ‘Sean Webster Band’ at the Wheelhouse. Sean, now living in Holland, had brought his band over to play at the festival. The powerful and heartfelt vocals left the audience stunned, especially with his rendition of the Etta James classic ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, tears spring to mind. Guitar solos to die for and with the input from the amazing band on keys, bass and drums, Sean and his band are certainly ones to watch out for when they are next in the UK.


Sean Webster Band

The final band at the Wheelhouse were the infamous ‘Aynsley Lister Band’. In his true form of total professionalism Aynsley had the the audience captivated and his well rehearsed band gave it their all, finishing in true tradition with his renown version of ‘Purple Rain’. Aynsley had played a ‘quiet special’ with The Elderly Brothers at The Hole in the wall earlier to the delight of those in attendence.


Aynsley Lister Band

The ‘Mark Pontin Group’ played the final set at The Boat House. With a mix of clasic covers, the trio had a great back drop of Lake Windermere.


Mark Pontin Group

The finale of the festival took place at The Hole in the Wall with the Glaswegian, up and coming singer songwriter ‘Gus Munro’. With a kick drum and guitar Gus played a brilliant set of what is described as ‘Scottish folk blues’. He kept the audience entertained with his personable performance. Watch out for this young man!

Gus Munro

Although we didn’t manage to see all the acts throughout the town,  from all accounts all the artists and venues were well supported at this sell out festival.  The event provided something for everyone, with money raised going to worthy causes. So thanks go to the organiser Sandra Walling, the Rotary Club and all the volunteers and venues whose  hard work made it possible. Also thanks go to all the bands who played and made the Bowness Bay Blues weekend a festival to remember. Roll on next year!


Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer