The Drents village of Grolloo will host the festival for the fourth time, and a wide range of artists – from ‘60s and ‘70s rock stars to up-and-coming performers – will take the stage over the weekend.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
As reported in the Dagblad van het Noorden, the Holland International Blues Festival returns with acts from around the world taking the stage in Drenthe on Friday and Saturday. To get into the blues mood before the festival, fest your ears on the festival’s official Spotify playlist:
Headliners of previous editions of the young festival, which has quickly become the biggest blues event in the country, include no less than former Beatle Ringo Starr and guitar icons Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa. From southern rock icons to modern rising stars, here are the acts you won’t want to miss in the 2019 edition, as compiled by the Dagblad and The Northern Times.
First, the nobility. Expectations are high for Van Morrison (Friday at 8:15 p.m.), a living legend who has been making music for 50 years. The Northern Irish singer is famous for his many hits like “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Moondance”, but Van the Man, now 73, also has a track record of performing unexpected covers during his shows.
Two American southern rock bands will close the two days at the festival in Grolloo: on Friday, it’s ZZ Top. The bearded rockers’ set on Friday will start at 10:15 p.m. and promises to be a special performance, mainly due to the work of guitarist Billy Gibbons: he began his career opening for Jimi Hendrix. With ZZ Top, Gibbons found world-wide fame in the decades following, and last year, he made his own bluesy solo album: “The Big Bad Blues”. Expect some of ZZ Top’s biggest hits, including “La Grange”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, and “Gimme All Your Lovin’”.
The second southern rock icons to perform in Grolloo is Lynyrd Skynrd, who will cap off Saturday’s performances. Their stream of hits in the 1970s, including “Sweet Home Alabama”and “Free Bird”, got the band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, and theyare sure to be well-received by the audience here in the North.
Moving from the rock icons of yesterday to contemporary acts, there will be even more wondrous guitar work on show on Saturday. For the second day in Grollo, the organisers have booked two of the best modern-day blues guitarists. Memphis-born Eric Gales (Saturday from 4:45 p.m.) plays left-handed, on a right-handed guitar, in the same vein as his inspiration: Jimi Hendrix. Aside from his own work, Gales often includes his own version of well-known classics, including works by Freddie King and, naturally, Hendrix.
Gary Clark, Jr.
Gary Clark, Jr. (Saturday from 8:00 p.m.), has received plaudits for his latest studio album “This Land”from venerable sources such as the New York Times. Though his inspirations tend to lie in the 1960s and 1970s, this Austin, Texas native is no backward-looking nostalgic: his stage presence and energetic mix of funk, reggae and R&B makes for a compelling set.
Be sure not to miss the opening act of the whole festival! Danielle Nicole’s (Friday, from 3:15 p.m.) sound is sometimes described as being a mix between Bonnie Raitt and Janie Joplin. But Nicole, who sings and plays bass, accompanied by a drummer and guitarist, makes her own unique sound. Her second album “Cry No More”(2018) dug deep into her own personal blues and smashed through the clichés.