A familiar sight: in a pub filled with cigarette smoke, a singer with a face aged with wrinkles takes a gulp of whisky and looks on while the other band members calmly take their places on the podium. A guitar is strung. Pling. Plong. One two, one two, test! And then the Wageningen Blues Pub Crawl starts.
The programme on 15 and 16 January features many Wageningen names, such as Blue Turns to Grey, the oldest still playing Wageningen blues band. The members themselves admit that they have not moved with the times, something which seems to affirm that blues has slowly gone into old folks' territory. But this conclusion is entirely wrong, says organizers Gerben van Silfhout and Ben van der Swaluw of Bluesclub XXL. Although the music may not rejuvenate itself, the musicians and the public do a lot of that. Guitarists aged 14 are not unusual in the club, and its visitors are often not much older. And yet, there had been uncertainty for a while whether the pub crawl would be held this year. There seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm among the Wageningen pub owners. Refusing to swallow this, the men from Bluesclub XXL contacted all the pubs personally, and this has led to a blues pub crawl again. With good results to boot. Besides local bands, the programme also features big names such as Mark van Maurik. This American blues guitarist with Dutch roots has performed with BB King and Jan Akkerman, amongst others. Another big name is Twelve Bar Blues Band, which has three nominations in the Dutch Blues Awards 2010 and is perhaps the best blues band of the Netherlands. It's nice too that even Wageningen UR has a representative: Railroad, with people like spokesman Simon Vink who - don't worry - will not take to the podium with a microphone but with a harmonica.
Wageningen Blues Pub Tour takes place on 15 and 16 January in thirteen Wageningen pubs. See the programme at www.bluesclub-xxl.com/.