Why Pocklington’s blues and roots weekend was its biggest and best yet

Guitarist Robbie McIntosh, right, leads a workshop during the Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend at Pocklington Arts Centre earlier this month

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre is celebrating its “biggest and best” Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend yet.

Hosted by guitarist Robbie McIntosh and blues slide guitarist Michael Messer from November 15 to 17, this annual event drew a full house of students from across Britain and raised £20,000 for the Pocklington economy.

The students spent the weekend being tutored by McIntosh, who has toured with Paul McCartney, Norah Jones, and The Pretenders, and fellow regular host Messer.

The three-day event featured guitar and slide guitar tuition, jam sessions, student performances and the Acoustic Blues House Party, when Pocklington Arts Centre opened its doors to the public for a one-off concert starring Messer and McIntosh.

The opening day was featured in an afternoon live broadcast on BBC Radio Humberside with presenter Phil White and his crew.

“This year’s Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend was a resounding success; in fact it was the most successful one eve,” says Messer. “I’ve been involved with running this event at Pocklington Arts Centre for 16 years and I couldn’t hope for a better venue.

“The PAC staff are so helpful, supportive and welcoming that everyone, participants and tutors, want for nothing.

Guitarists Robbie McIntosh, left, and Michael Messer at this month’s Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend at Pocklington Arts Centre

“In addition, the various hotels and restaurants around town all welcomed us and provided us with fantastic service.

 “All I can say is, ‘thank you Pocklington and we very much look forward to next year’s Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend’.”

Data collated from surveys conducted by the arts centre have shown that students attending the weekend spent around £20,000, including accommodation and visits to pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops.

Arts centre director Janet Farmer says: “We said last year that our Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend just keeps going from strength to strength, but this year has just blown us away.

“Hosting the event not only fills our auditorium, studio and bar with the incredible sounds of acoustic blues and roots music, but also the average expenditure from every single student also makes for a resoundingly positive experience for everyone involved, including local businesses. We very much look forward to welcoming everyone back again next year.”

The 2020 Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend will take place from November 13 to 15. Watch this space for confirmation of when tickets will go on sale.

Charles Hutchinson