THOUSANDS descended on Swanage this weekend for the ever-popular Blues Festival, with 65 gigs taking place across 15 different venues.

The 28th Swanage Blues Festival, which ran from Thursday October 5 to Sunday October 8, saw an increase in attendance from the previous event held in March.

The sole-organiser, Steve Darrington, used to be a touring musician and doesn’t perform as much as he’d like to anymore due to health reasons.

Despite this, Steve still managed to play at the Blues Festival this year.

Speaking before his performing on Saturday, Steve said he was delighted with the buzz around Swanage and the positive impact the event has had on the local area.

“We’ve got a town full of people and everybody is having a good time,” said Steve

“There’s 65 gigs and nobody has phoned me up so far saying anything has been a disaster.”

“The festival is essential for the economic health of Swanage, as well as the happiness of the town.

"There are roughly 2,000 people here this time, which is a few more than we have had before.

“I organise it twice a year, in March to fill the gap between Christmas and Easter, and now in October, to fill the gap between Summer and Christmas.”

The event began in a nightclub in 2001 as a birthday party for a local blues fan George Crane.

It is now held across 15 existing businesses, and Steve encourages more venues to take part to keep the Festival growing.

“There is plenty of scope for the event to build," he said.

"A lot of venues that are suitable to hold gigs could still take part in the future. This can get as big as the existing businesses in Swanage want it to get.

“There is no shortage of bands that want to come here and play. There are 59 bands that have previously played here and want to come back.

“The Blues Festival will carry on even if I’m not around. There are plans in place to keep it going.”

The next Blues Festival will take place between March 1 and 4, 2018.