HBS formed in 1995, primarily to further and promote blues music in and around the Waikato, Hamilton Blues Society achieves this by hosting regular events:
- 2nd Thursday of the month Blues Nights
- 4th Sunday of the month Blues Afternoons
- 5th Thursday of the month Blues Showcases
In addition, HBS occasionally hosts visiting or touring blues artists, and some of the HBS artists/ensembles/bands appear at blues festivals or charity events in and around Hamilton.
By being affiliated with Blues Music Clubs in other regions, we welcome visitors from these regions and frequently join in their activities, namely:
- Auckland Blues Music Club
- Hamilton Jazz Society
- Tauranga Blues Jam
- BOP Blues Music Club
- Taranaki Blues Society (to a lesser extent)
Non-regular events include festivals, charity events and away concerts but these will be discussed below under Special Events. Let’s firstly look at the regular events:
HBS hosts Blues Nights at Biddy Mulligan’s Irish Bar on Hood Street from 7:30pm on the 2nd Thursday of the month.
The stage is pre-dressed with drums, back-line gear (guitar amps and bass amp), microphones, PA and multi-channel mixer complete with sound engineer. Any artists, ensembles or bands wishing to get involved really only need bring their instruments, contact the Stage Manager, and then off they go.
As Andy Warhol once said “In the future, everyone will be world famous in 15 minutes!“. HBS offers performers this opportunity through 15 minutes of performance time or three songs whichever comes first, and the Stage Manager will limit acts to this time.
The night is also videoed, segments of which can be viewed on our YouTube Channel. Subscribe and keep up to date. Click here for HBS YouTube Channel.
HBS Sunday Afternoon Blues
On the 4th Sunday of the month at Biddy Mulligan’s Irish bar on Hood Street between 1pm and 5pm.
The stage is pre-dressed with drums, back-line gear (guitar amps and bass amp), microphones, PA and multi-channel mixer complete with sound engineer. Any artists, ensembles or bands wishing to get involved really only need bring their instruments then off they go.
Performers are given an opportunity to contribute one hour of music each, resulting in four acts per afternoon. The performance must adhere to the blues genre even though the interpretation of ‘blues’ may be ‘relaxed’ on such afternoons. The interpretation of ‘relaxed’ encompasses many styles of blues: Chicago, Delta, Texas, English, electric blues, country, although those styles heard less often would be Classic Female and Gospel Blues.
The night is also videoed, segments of which can be viewed on our YouTube Channel. Subscribe and keep up to date.
These showcases are literally so that HBS artists/ensembles/bands can showcase their talent and ability before the members and the general public. Typically, three or four slots are available for performers, kicking off at 7:30pm.
Quite often, ensembles are created by musicians meeting at the Blues Nights and they progress to a standard where they can play blues songs for an hour or so. As with the other regular HBS events, the stage is set, the sound mixed, and the bands perform for a bracket (or hour) before the next act swaps in to perform.
Showcases also appear on the HBS YouTube channel.
All of these events are technically FREE entry, there is no door charge but it is nice if the audience makes a gold coin donation at the door. The musicians performing at these regular events are not required to make this donation.
Special HSB Events
Special HBS events include festivals, charity events and similar where one or more HBS artists/ensembles may appear representing the Society. HBS also organises away events in distant cities or townships within a two-hour drive radius, in conjunction with a suitable venue.
In recent years, festivals have included the Hamilton Garden Arts Festival, Pirongia Blues Festival, and Easter Bluestock Blues Festival, and HBS Concerts. Although the Festivals are tied to a weekend or calendar event (such as Easter), the HBS Concerts are less frequent and may be planned to coincide with an overseas artist, or band, being available during a touring schedule in New Zealand. For more information on such Special HBS Events, the reader is asked to ‘Like’ the HBS FaceBook page, and maybe register for regular email updates, to remain abreast of the up-and-coming events.
Generally, the annual Frankton Thunder Festival is a two-day event which brings together a wide range of automotive interest groups including classic cars, hot rods, motorcycles, club displays, military vehicles, Steam Punk, performance vehicles and drag-racing displays. Based in and around Frankton’s Commerce St, the event also includes the Thunder Ink Tattoo Show, Burlesque, Miss Frankton Thunder retro fashion, live music and the Ulysses Motorcycle Club Child Cancer Charity Run. More details regarding the most recent away events can be found at the Frankton Thunder Facebook page. Charity events include Black Thunder events, Frankton Thunder, a mix of petrol-head mayhem, inked-skin competitions and music. A staging area is provided for four or so HBS ensembles to entertain the masses for an afternoon of blues.
HBS has been able to host some wonderful touring artists over the past: Oli Brown (UK), Big Joe Louis (UK), Dale Robbins Band, Toni Swain and Band, and Jesse Valach the Blues Mountain (from Australia), along with NZ act The Flaming Mudcats.
Entry to these events does incur a door charge (or ticket sales). HBS Members enjoy a discount whereas non-members pay full price. The format is usually, HBS warm-up act followed by the touring artists, with optionally another HBS act closing the concert.
Away Events are usually outside the greater Hamilton area. Again the back-line gear, drums, PA and mixer are all provided. These events are carefully planned and admission is either ticket or door charge. If you are interested in supporting one of these events, please check our social media channel.