Swanage Blues Festival

🗓️ Thursday 5th – Sunday 8th October 2023

Bringing the distinctive sounds of blues, roots and soul to Swanage, the Swanage Blues Festival is back and the town’s streets, pubs and restaurants will be alive with a great party vibe.

Performing at 15 cracking venues across Swanage and Purbeck are returning musicians as well as new, fresh faces for 2023.

  • Steve Brookes playing at the Greyhound pub in Corfe Castle
  • Paul Cook Blues Band guitarists
  • The Paul Cook Blues Band on stage in 2021
  • Blues musician Dave Ferra in 2022

Join the hundreds of locals and returning visitors who come from all over the UK and beyond for a long weekend of fantastic headliners, chilled jam sessions and lively open mic nights.

Having grown from small beginnings in 2001, the Swanage Blues Festival’s become so popular it had to expand to take over another full weekend – and the town – for a second weekend of the year. Choose from either March or October – or, as many people do – both!

Check out this video of the Blues Festival in action in 2019:


The extensive list of performers and musicians can be found on the Swanage Blues Festival website or on their Facebook page.

You’ll also find vital info for local businesses or venues who’d like to support the festival, and for musicians who want to get involved next time.


Every year, gigs are held mostly in Swanage, but there are a couple of regular venues just outside town too – typically The Greyhound Inn in Corfe Castle and the Isle of Purbeck golf club, on the way to Studland).

Acts perform across the town at venues such as The Red Lion pub, The Grand Hotel, the British Legion and many more.

The Paul Cook Blues Band on stage in 2021
The Paul Cook Blues Band playing at Swanage Bay View in 2021

If you’ve been to the Blues Festival before you’ll know that the same businesses return to support the festival year on year, but keep an eye out for any new venues on the festival’s website.

If you’re new to the festival, the site also has a handy map of all the venues in town, as well as what’s happening where and when, so you can plan your evening around who’s playing, or where you want to eat – it’s traditionally a bit of a ‘pub trail’ and everything’s close together so you can dip in and out to sample all the sounds.

Be sure to check out our Swanage Pubs page for a quick lowdown of all the places to grab a drink in town.

Festival cost

The Blues Festival is essentially free – each venue is open to the public, although some may charge an entrance fee.

If you purchase the festival ‘supporter’ wristband, however, you get into everything free as well as having it as a nice memento of the long weekend and the knowledge that you’ve helped support this independent, not-for-profit event.

Supporter wristbands are £10 and are available at the festival.

“Fans come from all over the world for Swanage’s charm, quirky venues, super scenery and friendly people. “There’s a magic here that’s been attracting visual and performing artists of all kinds for many years. “People tell me they love the wide range of blues-based music in venues that are mostly close to each other. They can mix and match the music like with food, drink and accommodation – there’s something for every taste and the price makes it a great bargain in a charming Dorset seaside town.”

Steve Darrington, festival organiser & Blues musician – who visited Swanage for two days in the summer of 2002 and never left. (It has that effect on people)


The Swanage Blues Festival is an extremely popular event, so book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment.

You’ll find a wide range of self-catering accommodation, bed & breakfasts, hotels, campsites and holiday parks both in Swanage and in surrounding areas of Purbeck.

Music venue & accommodation combo

Stay in the thick of the action, with performances and a place to stay in one, at the following venues:

  • Swanage Bay View Holiday Park – Holiday homes overlooking Swanage town and bay, with on-site bar, gym and swimming pool
  • The Grand Hotel – Traditional clifftop hotel gym and plunge pool, a short stroll from Swanage Beach
  • Herston Caravan & Campsite – A budget camping and caravanning option on the outskirts of Swanage with great view of the Purbeck Hills
  • The Red Lion – A traditional, family-run pub in the heart of town, with beer garden and pool table and good range of food, offering Bed & Breakfast
  • The White Horse – Stay above the White Horse on High Street to be right in the centre of the festival vibe

More nearby options to try

There’s a wealth of accommodation options in the centre of Swanage itself, meaning you can walk to festival performances, as well as a range of great places to stay just a stone’s throw from the action. Here are just a few to check out:

  • Swanage Coastal Park – A peaceful, hillside holiday park set further back from town. Great for retreating to after a night of music – some holiday homes come with a hot tub
  • The Pines Hotel – Just a short stroll from the beach, you’ll also be close to the performers playing at The Grand, and not far from the rest of the acts in town, which is around a ten-minute walk away
  • YHA Swanage – A great, budget option for a group of friends or a family, the YHA is a popular choice to stay at for the Blues Fest as it’s just a short walk into town
  • Local Airbnbs – Swanage’s hotels and B&Bs get booked up early for events such as the Blues Festival and Swanage Carnival, but it’s always worth checking Airbnb for a range of alternative places to stay