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Bishop and Rural Dean to steward the flock at the Maryport Blues Festival

The Bishop of Penrith and the Rural Dean of Solway are to act as stewards at this year's Maryport Blues Festival.

The Rt Rev'd Robert Freeman and Canon Bryan Rowe - both keen music fans – will join other volunteer stewards at the event in July.

They will both be joined by their respective wives, Chris and Sheila.

Bishop Rob is an electric blues fan, counting artists such as Buddy Guy, the Nimmo Brothers and Walter Trout among his favourites.

And though he doesn't play an instrument himself, his Who's Who entry includes the hobby of playing air guitar!

He said: “I have been fascinated by the Maryport Blues Festival for years; though I used to think it was somewhere in California, before discovering it is here in Cumbria!

“I'm not sure where we will be stewarding exactly. We could be at the far end of the car park or in the middle of it all, but either way we'll still feel the vibe of the event.

“What really attracts me to the electric blues is to hear people singing about the profound things of life.

“They're singing about when things can go wrong and yet they're not giving up. There's so much going on in blues music, both in the lyrics and the depth of the music and its rhythms.”

Bryan Rowe and his wife Sheila have acted as stewards at the event for the last nine years.

When Bishop Rob was appointed the Bishop of Penrith, Bryan learned of his love of music. It prompted the invitation to join him as a steward at this year's event.

They will steward on the Friday evening and Bryan says it's a great way for the church to reach out further to the community.

He added: “I've always loved listening to the music at the festival. It's an awesome event and amazing to watch the musicianship.

“It's also a good opportunity for members of the community to see their local vicar out there.

“I won't have my dog collar on but I'm a well-known face in the area. It will be another example of the church getting involved in community life. And how many bishops will have stewarded at a blues festival?”

The festival takes place from Friday 25 July to Sunday 27 July.

Organiser Debra Park said: “We're delighted that both Bryan and Bishop Rob are  to help out with stewarding duties.

“They will both be used to marshalling their congregations, so they can put those skills to good use with some music fans!

“We've got a great line-up of acts for this year's event and are looking forward to the town hosting another treat for fans of blues music.”

Any other people wishing to volunteer for stewarding duties can contact Debra Park at

Notes for editors
The 16th Maryport Blues Festival will run from Friday 25 July to Sunday 27 July, 2014, with a main marquee at Maryport Rugby Club and two outdoor stages – an alternative stage and a fam,ily stage.

The line-up features over 40 bands and 150 individual musicians from across the world. Latest additions include Ryan McGarvery, Nimmo Brothers, Eric Sardinas, Blues Boy Dan and Pat McManus.

Tickets are priced at £60 for early bird with a free wrist band, £70 normal price, Friday £30, Saturday £40, and Sunday £30 and are available by contacting


For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Officer, on 07984 927434, 01228 560079 or at

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