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The 20th International Guinness® Blues on the Bay Festival has kicked off in Warrenpoint and it runs all the way through to Bank Holiday Monday 28 May.

Perfect weather is forecast for the annual festival and once again it plays host to some of the world’s leading blues and jazz performers.

Sponsored by Diageo, the festival attracts thousands of music loving locals and tourists with many coming from across the globe to visit the renowned festival.

Commenting on the programme, Event Director, Ian Sands added; “There is something for everyone at the International Guinness® ‘Blues on the Bay Festival, we are bringing together top class international jazz and blues performers and teaming this with our world renowned food and hospitality.  Tourists coming to the event will be truly spoiled for choice, quality and good times.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Festival has over 100 free blues and jazz gigs, music workshops and jamming sessions featuring artists from across the globe and closer to home, as well as a wide range of specialist cuisine.

Launching the 20th International Guinness® Blues on the Bay Festival, sponsored by Diageo. From left: Ian Sands, Event Director; Alexandra Halliday and Paul Callan, Diageo. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes
Launching the 20th International Guinness® Blues on the Bay Festival, sponsored by Diageo. From left: Ian Sands, Event Director; Alexandra Halliday and Paul Callan, Diageo. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes

Headlining this year’s event is James Bay band members Andy Cortes and Gerry Morgan under the showcase title ‘The TransAtlantic Blues Club’!  Joining this showcase showstopper are Californian original artist; Shawn Jones and Sam Bolle (Philip Sayce Band).   

Blues fans will also  be treated to a musical extravaganza with live legends such as Chicago’s guitar blazer, Big Dog Mercer and Hungarian harmonica maestro, Jumpin’ Matt Pribojszki Other highlights include showcases for emerging musicians on the Bluesberry Fringe and a wealth of established pros in the international blues festival circuit including Pat McManus, Rab McCullough, Ronnie Greer, Linley Hamilton, Mirenda Rosenberg, Rev Doc, Crow Black Chicken, Ralph McLean, Green Tangerines and The Bluez Katz Blues Band.

Paul Callan, Diageo Northern Ireland, said; “The International Guinness® Blues on the Bay Festival is an annual highlight for thousands of visitors each year both from across Ireland and overseas. Guinness has been supporting the festival for the last 20 years and it is a great fit for our brand with talent, passion and fun always on show.

At Diageo we are committed to playing our part in helping to expand Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality offering and The International Guinness® Blues on the Bay Festival plays a key role in doing exactly that.  We take great delight in seeing how the festival continues to evolve year after year and a special thank you must go to the bars, restaurants and hotels in Warrenpoint and the surrounding area for their help and continued support of Diageo and this event.”

The 20th International Guinness Blues on the Bay Festival is supported by Diageo Northern Ireland; Newry, Mourne and Down District Council; The Quays Newry; WBR Chamber of Commerce; Scenic Carlingford Ferry and Tourism NI.

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