THOUSANDS of music fans crowded into the busy streets and pubs of Upton this weekend for the annual blues festival.

This year’s event was the largest ever staged, with more than 170 groups and performers across the official stages - not counting the musicians who played in pubs and other venues across the riverside town, including then Conway Castle riverboat.

Festival chairman Graham Bunn said: “We had some rain on the Friday, but it certainly didn’t dampen people’s enthusiasm - they certainly seemed happy to stand there watching the performers.

“The rest of the weekend it brightened up and it was absolutely fantastic.”

He said that as well as the record number of performers, he thought the number of visitors might be a record as well.

He said: “We don’t sell tickets, so we can’t be sure of exact figures, but I know we’ve had over 5,000 people on the camp site, and I would guess the same number or more of visitors.

“Certainly the car parks were full - we filled three fields, and there were lots of cars parked on the roadsides and verges, even though they shouldn’t really.

“But the atmosphere was great - the Big Top was amazing, and everyone was really enjoying themselves.”

He said that one of this year’s innovations - sash-wearing ambassadors to greet visitors and answer their questions - had also proved a big success.

“We’ve had really positive feedback about it, and it’s definitely something we will be bringing back and improving on next year.”

And the music? “There are so many great acts on the programme that I don’t really want to single a few of them out. They were all really amazing.”