Blues Rising Star to Feature at this Year’s Elgar Festival

One of the county’s most successful Festivals has put together a one off, all star group to perform at the event.

The Elgar Festival – which runs from Tuesday 27 May until Sunday 2 June this year – will welcome Blues star, guitarist and special guest Alex Voysey, who will play alongside The Old Blue Gang.

The band will play at the Royal Porcelain Works in Worcester on Saturday 1 June at 10.15pm, offering a nightclub style evening of entertainment, the second of the Festival’s Club Elgar events.

Entitled Origins of the Blues, the concert will feature music by Son House, Skip James, Robert Johnson, Ledbelley, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon, Led Zeppelin as well as McCartney, Kenneth Woods and Elgar.

When not conducting orchestras and directing festivals in the UK and USA, Kenneth Woods is a lifelong guitarist and student of the history of the blues and the African American musical traditions that grew from it.

Guest guitarist Alex Voysey is one of the best young contemporary blues players in the UK and a rising star on the blues scene. His passion began as a teenager when he came across Joe Bonamassa’s album ‘Don’t Talk’ and was immediately hooked and inspired by the virtuosity and complexities of Joe’s playing. So began his love and exploration of a huge range of blues music, whilst Joe has continued to be both a huge influence for Alex’s development as a musician as well as the inspiration to become the best player possible. His own band, formed in 2021, is now in great demand on the UK blues circuit offering up formidable musicianship and virtuosity in their performances and were recently cited as ‘outstanding, energetic and breathtaking’ after their debut at Swanage Blues Festival.

Alex is a passionate advocate for the benefits of music-making on young people and was recently appointed as a Youth Ambassador for the UK Blues Federation. He also works for Rock Steady, inspiring young musicians of the next generation and has developed taster day sessions aimed specifically to help young musicians with speech disfluency. Since graduating from Leeds College of Music in 2017, Alex also frequently works as a session guitarist with many of the country’s leading symphony orchestras, including the Hallé, CBSO, RLPO, RTE Dublin and Manchester Camerata.

Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director of The Elgar Festival said: “In a Festival week in which we explore the Origins of Inspiration, this concert will take listeners on a journey through the history of this most important musical form. From the birth of the Delta blues in the poverty-stricken Jim Crow south, through the worldwide triumph of rock and roll, this concert is a celebration of how a generation of self-taught musicians inspired millions and changed the world forever.”

The Old Blue Gang – which is made up of Kenneth Woods, Joe Hoskin and Sean McNicholas – will also be playing a number of Ken’s originals, moving between the varied musical worlds of rock, jazz, fusion, blues, classical and country.

Details about Joe and Sean include:


  • Joe’s current projects include Cardiff-based Grateful Dead tribute band Deadedz and its sister Americana/Bluegrass outfit Lucky Truckers, as well as recently making his debut on tour with the country influenced Orange Circus Band.  One of Joe’s career highlights include his time with The Bare Knuckles Blues Band, then the affiliated band of world famous guitar electronics manufacturer Bare Knuckle Pickups;


  • Sean McNicholas has been performing since he was 11 years old; his musical influences range from The Beatles to Neil Sedaka, Coltrane to Janie Ian, Burt Bacharach to Jimi Hendrix and Lalo Schifrin to contemporary Hungarian jazz;


Kenneth concluded: “Club Elgar is about two things, having fun and knocking down the walls between musical genres.”

Themed ‘The Origins of Inspiration’, this year’s Festival will combine orchestral, chamber, vocal and choral concerts with exhibits and lectures to celebrate the life and music of Sir Edward Elgar at various venues across Worcestershire.  It will bring together an array of internationally renowned guest artists, placing the music of Worcester’s most famous son alongside that of his contemporaries and some of today’s leading composers and arrangers.

Launched in 2018, the Elgar Festival was established by decree of Worcester City Council and is traditionally held on the weekend closest to Elgar’s birthday, 2 June 1857.

Since it began – lauded as ‘Critic’s Pick’ in both The Guardian and The Times – the Festival has doubled in size and scale and championed Sir Edward to as wide an audience as possible.

For a full list of events, costs and booking information, please visit