Veszprém will not only be the 2023 European Capital of Culture, but also the capital of the blues between 13-16 April 2023. As a major festival element of the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture programme, the biggest blues festival in Hungary to date will feature world stars as well as the best-known artists of the Hungarian blues-roots community.
Among those taking the stage at the Veszprém Blues Festival will be European Blues Challenge finalists, International Blues Challenge finalists, blues artists from fellow 2023 European Capital of Culture cities Elefsina (GR) and Timișoara (RO), Hungarian stars, and international artists: Sugar Blue - platinum-selling harmonica player who has performed with The Rolling Stones; Rick Estrin - with his unique voice and frenetic harmonica playing, one of the icons of contemporary blues; Matt Schofield - the guitarist who reformed the British blues tradition; and Buffalo Nichols, a young star who represents the genre's future.
Other featured international performers include Raphael Wressnig, who was repeatedly voted Hammond Organist of the Year by Downbeat; and his joint production with Rechelle Yeanty will be the first time Hungarian audiences will get to see him perform. Amsterdam-based New York singer Michelle David will be performing a show based on soul and gospel. Britain's number one blues export Ian Siegal will play several shows, and an original line-up will be joined on stage by one of the favourite artists of the Hungarian blues scene of the 1990s, the Greek band Blues Wire.
Among the local bands are home favourite Big Daddy Wilson, The Black Circle Orchestra, Jambalaya, György Ferenczi and 1st Pesti Rackák, Jumping Matt & His Combo, Muddy Shoes, Bluestone, The Pontiac, Redbreast Wilson, Bluesberry, and Tamás Kontor & Misi Horváth. The programme also includes a long-awaited one-off reunion performance by the cult band Palermo Boogie Gang.
Consistent with the UNESCO City of Music title it earned in 2019, one of the main objectives of VEB2023’s European Capital of Culture programme is to present the widest range of musical genres in Veszprém and the Bakony-Balaton region throughout the year – not just in the city, but reaching out and making the music accessible to towns and villages in the region. There will be acoustic mini-blues concerts at various locations, exhibitions, talks and workshops, and even world stars gathering for late-night jams after the official Veszprém
Blues Festival programme. Festivalgoers will be able to experience the most comprehensive cross-section of the genre at the Veszprém Blues Festival, the biggest blues festival in Hungary's history.