Double Blues Festival Bonanza in July and August – Aynsley Lister and Alex of Red Butler speak to Blues Matters ahead of festivals in Gravesend and Uckfield

It is festival season and will be while the days are long and the beer flows….

Blues Matters talks with Aynsley Lister, who headlines the Wrinkly Rockers Club Bluesfest in Gravesend on 12 July, and Red Butler, who are at the Festival which runs between July 31st and 3rd August. Both festivals are in their second year.


Gravesend Bluesfest 2014, Saturday 12th July

Aynsley Lister © Walter Goyen
Aynsley Lister © Walter Goyen

Aynsley Lister, guitarist and one of the UK’s classiest Blues acts, headlines the Gravesend Bluesfest 2014. He shared some thoughts with Blues Matters ahead of the day.


Is there anything you would particularly like to share?

Seriously? A beer?

Are you looking forward to the Gravesend Bluesfest?

Oh yeah! Any chance to get my foot on the monitor and rock out and I’m there!

How are you doing with festivals these days?

Great actually, we’re always busy over the summer flying all over the place so for this one to be in the UK is nice. The whole festival thing is always cool because there’s often the chance to catch up with friends. You’re always crossing paths on the road but you rarely actually manage to sync up for a beer! Having a wee drink is always cool.

Have you any thoughts on the acts also at the Bluesfest?

Looks like a great line-up, I think its gonna be a great day! Looking forward to seeing The Mentulls, Andrew’s a great player.

How is your new album, HOME, different from its predecessor?

I wrote it and recorded it in my own time and the whole album was put together on our own terms so there was no outside pressure or influence to interfere with the creative side… I’ve never been happier with any album than I am with this one: it has the organic sound I wanted and the songs turned out great. The reaction is also the best of all the albums I’ve done and the audience numbers have increased substantially since its release.

What are the most welcome remarks you have had from reviewers?

That my songwriting has developed so much and that I have my own identity as an artist.

Are you working on your next album or concentrating on playing live?

There’s always ideas bubbling away so yeah I’m putting together songs for the next album in between tours.

How does headlining a festival day differ for you from appearing at a gig and you’re the sole act?

The atmosphere at festivals is always different, you’re potentially playing to new people so its always a good opportunity to pull in new fans plus at festivals there’s always a ‘seat of the pants’ aspect to the whole loading onto stage and literally going for it there and then! Festivals can sometimes be quite adrenaline fuelled and that can only be a good thing!

What was the first festival you played? And what was the biggest?

Probably Colne Blues Festival way back when I started out… In fact I think we headlined! One of the biggest we’ve done recently is probably one we did with ZZ Top somewhere in Europe to around 10,000. Now THAT was cool!

Full details of the Festival and tickets can be found here – An audio compilation of the music of the acts is here – Who is joining Aynsley? We’re glad you asked: The Robin Bibi Band; The David Sinclair Trio; The Laura Holland Band; The John Verity Band; The Mentulls; The Tea Project; Aynsley Lister; and, Absolution. Is it going to be a great show? Absolutely.

Now, onto Uckfield…

Uckfield Blues & Roots Festival Thursday 31st July to Sunday 3rd August

Alex Butler of Red Butler (playing Saturday night) reflects on the festival:

Alex from Red Butler“When I first heard about the new festival that was about to hit my hometown I couldn’t believe my luck, a blues and roots festival on my doorstep, no travel costs, no time on the motorway and stuck in traffic. The lineup was great featuring some of my favourite artists including David Migden and Rory Graham – we’d even been offered a slot to play alongside these great acts. As fate would have it my band (Red Butler) were booked to play a few shows in the Channel Islands over the weekend of the Blues and Roots festival, typical!

“However, in its second year the festival is returning to Uckfield on a bigger scale – and this time we are even available and booked to play ! I’m so pleased to see this event grow and develop within the town. Having been to and played at many of the blues festivals across the country it is great to be part of a new project in which many of my friends and associates are playing a big part in organising. Like any town there are several main events that draw people together during the course of the year, most noticeably the Uckfield Festival which runs late July. Another festival in the town will be great for a sense of community, both for locals and those travelling from much further afield. Having played big blues festivals such as Colne (Great British Rhythm and Blues) and the Skegness Rock Blues Festival I have seen at first hand the buzz that a well organised event can bring to an otherwise quiet town. Whilst perhaps not drawing the tens of thousands of some of the more established festivals, I for one am certainly looking forward to being part of the festival and watching all the other acts.

I will be performing as part of my band Red Butler, we shall be promoting our debut album ‘Freedom Bound’ – check the band out on and for tickets and more information about the festival visit

Festival organiser Graham Pope adds, “A lot of hard work has gone into putting this festival on and hopefully you will join us in supporting live music in Uckfield and help to secure the future of the festival for years to come. We are already working towards next year’s festival and hope to make our festival one of the most enjoyable and popular on the UK blues scene. Our line up includes a great blend of blues & roots including internationally acclaimed acts, blues award winners and nominees and featuring musicians both young and old, but with one thing in common – sheer entertainment and quality. I look forward to seeing you there.”

Acts on Thursday 31st July, Holy Cross Church – Richard Townend; Jo Harman and Todd Sharpville with Stevie Watts

Friday 1st August, Uckfield Civic Centre – Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion; David Migden & The Twisted Roots; The Elevators

Saturday 2nd August, Uckfield Civic Centre – Goldie Reed; Red Butler; Spikedrivers;

Sunday 3rd August, Uckfield Cinque Ports Club – Beth Ellwood; The Delta Sons; Stuart Bligh & Jess Wood; David Simmons; Ruby & The Revelators; The Southern Nights


Or by calling Graham Pope:
07947 275684 or 01825 890685
Email: [email protected]