The 31st edition of the Notodden Blues Festival ended on Sunday. It has been a long weekend with music from early in the day until 2 AM, and a lot of friendly and smiling blues fans all around town. This year Ry Cooder was the biggest name together with Bonnie Raitt, and then a lot of other great artists after these two. Here are my photos from the festival. (Photo above: Ty Taylor from Vintage Trouble)
Th crowd is waiting for Cov’t Mule
My first visit to the Notodden Blues Festival was in 1994, and except for 1998, I have been visiting every one, making this my 24th festival. I have seen it grow from small to big, and more professional. The festival has been through some crises, but has always landed on its feet. In 2010 the Notodden Blues Festival was voted the Best Blues Festival in the World and got the Keeping The Blues Alive award. Here you can see all the artists who have played here until 2010.
Amund Maarud got his star in the Walk of Fame. Here with festival boss Jostein Forsberg
The festival has worked hard to get the two headliners, Ry Cooder and Bonnie Raitt, and both came this year. The same did Gov’t Mule, Vintage Trouble, Sugaray Rayford, Lowell “Banana” Levinger, Knut Reiersrud, Ana Popovic and several more artists from Norway and abroad. You can see the program from this year here. In addition to all the concerts there are blues talks, this year with Bernard Purdie, Popa Chubby and The Welch Ledbetter Connection, the Union Blues Cup is arranged, and Little Steven’s Blue School is held before and during the festival, teaching young people to play the blues.
NB! Ry Cooder allowed no photographers. Here are my photos of the artists at this year’s festival:
Knut Reiersrud Band
Lowell “Banana” Levinger
Welch Ledbetter Connection
Barbara Blue & Bernard Purdie
Little Steven filming for the documentary Bluestown Rising
Little Steven with the Mayor of Notodden, Gry Fuglestveit
Maldito, winner of the Union Blues Cup 2018
Ed Murphy, the winner of the Blues Prize 2018
Rita Engedalen and Margit Bakken
HM Johnsen Band, the winners of the Union Blues Cup 2017
The audience at the opening
All photgs are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.