THE SOULFUL sounds of rhythm and blues will return to Darlington this weekend

Thirty bands are set to perform across Darlington as the popular Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival returns to mark its 25th anniversary.

The free to attend festival promises to deliver a wide range of performances and more mainstream styles from Friday until Sunday, September 12.

The main event, organised in conjunction with Darlington Borough Council, Darlington Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Club and Gasto Promotions, will take place on Sunday in the Market Square from 12.30pm until 5.30pm.

Planned headliner for the festival, Andy Fairweather & The Low Riders, will no longer be performing as a member of the band has tested positive for Covid-19.

But a host of acts have been confirmed to take their place including Gerry Jablonski & The Electric Band, The Stumble, and Nine Below Zero.

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The pre-festival and fringe events leading up to the headliners on Sunday will see a wide range of groups perform in town centre venues, including the Dolphin Centre and pubs across the town.

Friday evening performances at The Forum and The Quakerhouse will kick off the festival, with many more groups performing in venues across the town over the weekend in the lead up to Sunday’s headliners.

This includes three bands performing at the DL1 Podium stage on Saturday between 3.30pm – 8.30pm, as well as Emma Wilson & Al Harrington from 9pm at Darlington Hippodrome’s Hippo Lounge.

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have Darlington’s Rhythm and Blues Festival return to the town this weekend, marking the 25th anniversary of the beloved music festival.

“This year’s R ‘n’ B Festival will be particularly special, not only as some of the performers will be back on stage for the first time since lockdown, but as an anniversary event that promises a bigger and better than ever range of acts across the town.

"I encourage everyone to come down to enjoy the free performances and amazing atmosphere that the festival will bring to our town.”

For more information, including a full list of bands and performers, visit www.enjoydarlington.co.uk.