Tenby Blues festival grew from an idea that popped into two heads at the same moment. The heads belonged to Declan Connolly and Chris Osborne, an arts promoter and hotelier, respectively. Years previously the Fourcroft hotel had been presenting a winter weekend ‘Fes ty Fal’ featuring quirky and original acts such as the Splott Brothers and Green Ginger Puppetry.
Declan had been the director of the Narberth based community arts organization Span Arts that had presented the Narberth Children’s Festival through the 1990’s. These two would often discuss the idea of starting a blues festival as a fantasy plan that eventually took shape in 2006 when several potential sponsors responded to a Tenby festival that would attempt to create an event that would enliven the beautiful old seaside town in the winter when the normal visitors had gone home. Frank B Mason estate agents, Pembrokeshire Tourism Partnership and The Milford Haven oil refinery of Texaco all agreed to help and it became a reality with participation of the De Valence Trust in 2006.
The first festival in 2006 featured Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes, The John O’Leary Band and Eddie Martin among many other bands and soloists both national, International and local. In addition to performances both mainstage and in venues around the town, there was an exhibition of blues pictures, talks, and workshops. This format has served well until the present.
Performers appearing in previous Festivals include:-
2006 Alabama 3, Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes, John O’Leary Band, Eddie Martin
2007 Alvin Youngblood Hart, Otis Grand & The Big Blues Band, Michael Roach, Olli Brown
2008 Eugene Hideaway Bridges, Sherman Robertson, Spikedrivers, Sean Webster Band, Johnny Dickinson
2009 Earl Thomas with Paddy Milner’s Big Sounds, Nine Below Zero. Rick Payne, Chix Wiv Pix
2010 Hamilton Loomis with Tommy Allen’s Trafficker, Eddie Martin, Michael Roach, Kent Duchaine, Whiskey River, Bex Marshall, Travellin’ Riverside Blues Band & many local acts, including Il Presidente: Pat Grover ’s Blues Hawks.
2011 Claudia’s Blues Band, Skip (Little Axe) McDonald, Hokie joint, Fran McGilvray & Mike Burke, the Blues Stealers, Gutbucket Band, Terri shaltiel, 24 Pesos, The Hampsters, Ben Mason, Last Chance Saloon, Virgil and the Acceleerators, Davy Jones & Smujjer, Paul Alabaster & the Boomslang Band, Jay Tamkin Band, Jamie Francis, Aiden & Martin Whiskey Boys, Mojo jim & Muddy Wulfs, Whisky Business.
2012 Chris James Band, Tim Aves & Wolfpack, Todd Sharpville & Marcus Bonfanti, Big Joe Bone, Kent Duchaine, Sicknote Steve, Little Toby Walker, Steve Roux & the Brass Knuckle Band, Grainne Duffy, Rob Tognoni, Oli Brown, Arthur Eberling, Chris Quinn, Catfish Keith, Jamie Francis Band, Matt Woosey, Sisters in Grease, Deke Leonard, Henry’s Funeral Shoe.