MORE than 8,000 music fans are expected to head for Stanley on Saturday for the town's annual blues festival.

The free event is once again being held in a giant marquee on the town's Kings Head Field and will attract blues lovers from across the region and beyond.

It is being staged by Consett studio Northern Recording with sponsorship coming from Durham County Council and Derwentside District Council.

Topping the bill is the renowned North-East-born harmonica player Paul Lamb and his band The Kingsnakes. He is the first Geordie to be the popular festival's headline act.

Big Joe Turner used to play bass for guitar legend BB King and he will be in the festival line-up with his seven-piece band Memphis Blues Caravan. The Nightporters, from Torquay, Scottish boogie band Blues 'n' Trouble and The Watts 'n' Whiffin Big Band, from Langley Park, complete the programme.

The festival runs from noon to 6pm. Refreshments are available.