THOUSANDS of music lovers are set to descend on Swanage for the town’s eagerly-anticipated free blues festival this weekend.

Every year for the past decade, blues enthusiasts from across the globe have descended on this historic seaside destination.

They come for the intimacy of the small gigs, played in a host of local venues across three days.

Festival organiser Steve Darrington told the Daily Echo he regularly welcomes fans from afar as America, New Zealand, Australia and from across mainland Europe, as many of them organise UK holidays around the event.

Up to 3,000 people are expected to flock to the festival, running from Friday at selected venues.

“Whatever difficulties there are before us, please, everybody remember that it doesn’t cost a fortune to allow music into your lives, to raise your spirits and put life’s problems into perspective,” reflected Steve.

“We’ve been doing this for ten years now and momentum has just grown and grown.”

Steve, who plays at the festival himself, says there will be more than 50 gigs at 15 venues this time around.

Among the performers to look out for this year is singer and guitarist Kevin Brown.

“Kevin came to the festival a few years back and asked if he could do something at the open mic sessions,” explained Steve.

“Then he went on to absolutely floor everybody -it turned out he was a top professional who spends much of his time travelling around America.

“He is Mark Knopfler’s (Dire Straits) favourite singer and guitarist.

“Kevin told me he didn’t like the big venues – a lot of these guys love the intimacy of the smaller venue. It allows them to really connect with the audience.”

Aside from the gigs, the event also boasts daily open mic sessions, festival friendly accommodation, blues steam train rides and numerous buskers. Acts confirmed so far include the Back Porch Band, The Barcodes, The Fabulous Fezheads, Saiichi Sugiyama Band, and many more acts.

For more information, including accommodation and venue lists, visit