THE festival season in Upton is well under way, and continues this weekend with the biggest line-up of blues artists and bands the town has ever seen.

This year’s Upton Blues Festival, which starts on Thursday and runs for four days, is the biggest ever, with a record 165-plus gigs across the official stages.

Among the top names to be performing at this year’s festival are the Voodoo Sheiks, Xander and the Peace Pirates, Beaux Gris Gris and the Apocalypse, Willie and the Bandits and the Dave Ferra Allstars.

Local favourites like Vo Fletcher and Trevor Babajack Steger will also be performing.

Organiser Graham Bunn said: “Blues is a broad church, and you’ll find something for everyone to enjoy.

“Once again, the main road through town will be closed for the weekend to promote the carnival atmosphere and to make it safer and easier for you to move between the main venues: the Riverside stage, the Big Top on the rugby field, and the Acoustic Stage, which has a new home in the parish church.

“Across the river, happy campers can enjoy the Campsite Music Stage, and an expanded catering operation.

“For the first time, there’ll be a team of festival ambassadors to greet you and to help you find your way between those venues, and around the town in general.

“All the pubs stage musical events that add to the carnival atmosphere, and I would like to thank all the publicans for giving the festival such tremendous support by paying for all their own bands.

“It’s easy to forget that there’s a charitable dimension to the festival; last year’s event raised £25,000 for various causes and organisations, bringing the total donations for the last five years to a staggering £100,000.”

Libraries could soon become self-service and staff numbers cut as council looks to save £800,000

Mr Bunn said that he hopes that festival-goers will take the time to explore some of the other attractions that Upton has to offer.

He added: “These include the wonderful river banks and all the boats moored up for the festival, the unique ‘pepperpot’ church which houses a fascinating heritage centre, the Tudor Museum opposite, and the olde worlde streets and passageways, some dating back to mediaeval times.

“You might not have time to take in that much with all that music going on - but you’ll hopefully see enough to tempt you back to this jewel of a town on the Severn.”