THE Luke Doherty Band kicks off this years Bideford R&B Festival at the Palladium Club on Wednesday, July 6 which is being headlined by the inimitable Wilko Johnson.

The blues and classic rocker opens the 10 day festival with a free gig to give audiences the chance to admire the performance from his new band.

Wilko Johnson will be headlining the festival on Saturday, July 9. He will be bringing his usual musical mastery with a unique guitar style combined with brilliant bass of the Blockhead's Norman Watt-Roy and the hard hitting rhythm of drummer Dylan Howe.

It looks set to be his smallest gig of the year following his popularity and appearance in the rockumentary Oil City Confidential.

Doors to all Bideford R&B festival shows open at 8pm and Wilko's performance will be supported with special guests Peoples Republic of Mercia. It's sure to be a fantastic evening.

Throughout the festival there will also be performances from a variety of other blues and classic rock bands such as East Anglian band, Smokin' Hogs, performing on Friday, July 8. Their punchy R&B style is based on late 60's blues bands.

Along with Cornish based 'Devils Creek' who are promoting their new album 'Th3rds' on Wednesday, July 13 with free entry. A special reunion gig for guitarist Steve Payne's side project 'The Woolly Bullies' will be held on Friday, July 15, with a mixture of original music and obscure covers firmly based in the blues.

Then finally ending the festival on Saturday, July 16, is multi-instrumentalist, singer song writer Eddie Martin who will be joined by his band 'Little Big Horns' with soul-tingled R&B performances.

Tickets are available from the club on (01237) 478860, via www.palladiumclub.co.uk or Solo Records in Barnstaple on (01271) 325274.