7 Hills Blues Festival

Armagh’s iconic 7 Hills Blues Fest returns for an eighth summer, bringing world-class talent to more than 20 venues and locations across the celebrated Cathedral City.

Firmly established as one of the great blues and roots music events in the UK and Ireland and set to be the jewel in the crown of a series of wonderful summer events across the region. This year’s line-up promises another unmissable weekend of music and entertainment for all ages.

Attracting locals and visitors in their thousands from far and wide each year, the programme will complement a packed schedule of fringe events designed to suit everyone. Whether visiting the city to shop, eat, drink or to see the sights, those bluesy tones won’t be far away.

So get out and about and let’s get some blistering summer blues : best served chilled!!

Festival Programme
Who's Playing
Running Order
Picnic in the Palace Park

As always at the 7 Hills Blues Festival we are announcing the bands on the bill but not when or where they are playing. The full programme will be announced at Viva Bar, Lower English Street, Armagh on Thursday 26th July 2018 at 7.30pm, be sure to join our mailing list to be the first to hear our news.

If you have issues viewing the programme below click here to view PDF.

2nd Drawer Down
Alan McKelvey
Allison McGrath & Soul Antics
Backbone Blues Band
Ben Reel
Blues Katz
Brown Notes
Casino Dixieland Jazz Band
Clara Rose
Cold Porter
Courtnay & The Dukes
Dani & Kunokini
DD & The Delta Boys
Don Baker & Rob Strong Band
Four Shuckmen
Freedom 35’s
Grainne Duffy
Jackie McAuley
Joe Blow Blues Band
Little Wilgar & The Crackpot Preachers
Ludwig & Co
Marie Fox
Mark Black Trio
Mark Braidner Blues Trio
Mike Brookfield
Mirenda Rosenberg
Nite Hawks
One Horse Pony
Pat McManus
Paul Sherry
Preacher Casey’s
Rab McCullough
Riley & The Moonrockers
Ronnie Greer Blues Band
Roy Fulton Experience
Rusty Jacks
Sarah & The Sandcastles
Sean Taylor
Short Fuse Blues
Soul Shine Blue
Stonecold Hobos
Tail Piece
The Catfish Blues Orchestra
The Dave McHugh Band
The Johnny D Fox Blues Band
The Mighty Quinn
The Soundbites
The Watery Hill Boys
Two Time Polka

Planning is now well underway and the programme has been confirmed for our 8th 7 Hills Blues Festival.  This year’s festival will see 28 venues hosting 72 gigs with 51 bands performing – another jammed packed festival! We are delighted to have a platform to showcase local bands, as well as some more well-known names on the blues scene. 

The running order will be released at the launch of this year’s festival on Thursday, 26th July 2018 at 7.30pm in Viva Bar to celebrate the beginning of our 8th 7 Hills Blues Festival where the very talented Allison McGrath will entertain the crowds.   Everyone is welcome to attend.

This year The Market Place Theatre are giving you the opportunity, not once , but twice to experience two of Ireland’s best ever blues/soul musicians – guaranteed to sell out fast.

The Don Baker & Rob Strong Band
Thursday, 9th & Friday, 10th August @ 8pm | Tickets £15.00

Two Irish legends celebrating 50 years on the road!

Two of Ireland’s best ever blues/soul musicians, Don Baker and Rob Strong, have collaborated to record a brand new album and tour many of Ireland’s finest venues in 2018. Already the band have sold out their first three concerts in Dublin.

Don Baker has proven to be a prolific singer/songwriter/musician for more than 50 years, with a huge number one single, ‘Winner in You’ and was rated by Bono of U2 as ” the best harmonica player in the world” As an actor, Don starred ‘In the Name of the Father’ alongside Daniel Day Lewis.

The legendary Rob Strong, from Derry, on bass guitar and lead vocals, famous with The Plattermen turned down the opportunity to join Deep Purple! His son Andrew, starred as lead singer Deco in ‘The Commitments.

On keys the sensational Salvatore Urbano from Naples, on drums Hugh O’ Neill who has played with Jerry Lee Lewis and Van Morrison!
This event takes place in our Studio Theatre with an unreserved, cabaret style seating layout.

Book Now

Tickets can also be purchased in The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Market Street, Armagh, BT61 7BW and by telephone, 028 3752 1821.


Market Street

Dine Al Fresco in one of the many cafes and restaurants in the Georgian heart of the city. With live music on the bandstand you can sit back, relax and inhale Armagh whilst browsing through the 7 Hills Blues Festival programme, and plan your week ahead when the festival kicks off on Thursday, 9th August.

Sat 4th Aug | From 3-5pm   Casino Dixieland Jazz Band

Sat 11th Aug | From 3.30-5.30pm  The Catfish Blues Orchestra

Picnic in the Palace Park
Sat 11th Aug | 12 noon – 3.00pm | The Palace Demesne

Back by popular demand this fun filled blues family picnic in The Palace Park will welcome local band, 2nd Drawer Down and Dani & Kunokini to set the scene with some foot tappin’ blues tunes. There’ll be fun and games for the family with light refreshments, but don’t forget to pack your picnic and a comfortable seat or blanket.

Walking History Tours of the Palace Demesne | 12.15pm | 1.15pm | 2.15pm
History Tours will take place in the impressive Primate’s Palace, formerly the home of Archbishops of the Church of Ireland from 1770 until the 1970s. These tours will tell you the story of the Palace, the Demesne and how the history and architecture of Armagh was influenced by Archbishop Richard Robinson.

Armagh and the surrounding area has been benchmarked as the Food Heartland of Northern Ireland due to the significance of food and drink production and high quality places to eat and drink in the area. Take this opportunity to taste some of our delicious produce at one of the bespoke food events hosted especially during the festival.

Blues Food & Drink Walking Tour

Sat 11 Aug | 3.00pm-5.30pm| £30

New to the annual  “7 Hills Blues Fest” is a Food & Drink Tour which will begin at the Marketplace Theatre Armagh @ 3pm with a Blue Lagoon Cocktail, Hilden Beer or a McIvor’s Cider from the heart of the Orchard County. After your refreshments you will be treated to a 90-minute guided walk through the atmospheric streets of Armagh, the narrative will be a mixture of historical and current facts on this city peppered with humorous stories and information on notable buildings. After walking up an appetite the tour will culminate with a “Simply Blues” platter served in the Charlemont Arms Hotel which includes selection of – hot & spicy wings, loaded potato skins, BBQ ribs, slow cooked pork shoulder, Ragin Cajun chicken, hand cut fries and mini burgers all served with tastings of local craft Cider. This is an opportunity not to be missed so book yourself on this fun filled tour which will guarantee your seat at the end of the tour in Turner’s Bar for the live music.

Tickets available online here

Allen’s of Armagh | Thurs 9th – Sat 11th Aug | 9.00am-5.30pm

Special 7 Hills Blues Festival themed menu with dishes inspired by the Deep South.

Armagh City Hotel | Thurs 9th – Sun 12th Aug

Enjoy our BBQ & Blues themed menu  during the festival in  The Callan Lounge;  complimented by the best craft beers, locally produced ciders, American bourbon and local whiskeys.  And come along and enjoy our local craft cider and cocktail tasting on Sunday 12th August from 3-5pm in the Callan Lounge.

Charlemont Arms Hotel  | Thurs 9th – Sun 12th Aug

Charlemont Arms Hotel will be serving a selection of mouth-watering ‘Simply Blues” platters which includes selection of – hot & spicy wings, loaded potato skins, BBQ ribs, slow cooked pork shoulder, Ragin Cajun chicken, hand cut fries and mini burgers all served with tastings of local craft Cider.

Market Place Theatre Bar | Thurs 9th – Sat 11th Aug

The Market Place Theatre Bar will be offering 2 bottles of the locally produced McIvors Cider for £6 and a Signature Blue Lagoon Cocktail for £5.00 throughout the duration of the 7 Hills Blues Festival. They will also be offering a range of Premium Gin & Tonic Mixers. 



Street Food Market

Shambles Yard | Fri 10 Aug | 11.30am-2.30pm

Straight from the producer, shoppers can purchase some of Armagh’s finest grown ingredients in the historic Shambles Yard. With street food, ice cream and great blues music provided by the students from MD Rafferty Music School, where else would you want to be? 

BBQ N’ Blues

The Shambles Yard | Sun 12 Aug | 1.00pm – 5.00pm

This family fun, BBQ & local cider event will be filled with good food, great craic and blistering summer blues. Music by Armagh’s own Courtnay & the Dukes and Dublin’s The Watery Hill Boys.  For you budding blues stars (aged 7+years), there’ll be an opportunity to pick up an instrument and play with the talented musicians from MD Rafferty Music School at the blues jam session.




Abbey Lane Theatre | Fri 10 Aug | 8pm FREE

The Amma Centre will showcase a short bespoke animation, created by the young people attending their Summer Workshop Programme. The animation will be based around a piece of music and will be the perfect introduction to the Blues Brothers movie screening which will be shown at 8pm at Abbey Lane Theatre, Armagh.


The Shambles Yard | Sun 12 Aug | 1.30pm; 2.30pm; 3.30pm

Whilst parents sit back and enjoy good food, great craic and blistering summer blues their budding young blues stars (aged 7+ years), will be given an opportunity to pick up an instrument and play with the talented musicians and school students from MD Rafferty Music School at the blues jam session.  Tutors and music school students will interact with the audience, demonstrating and encouraging as many novices to participate either through vocals, movements, percussion or to learn blues progression on guitars and ukuleles.

If you have any questions or need further assistance do not hesitate to contact us:

Telephone: 028 3752 1800