Three new acts will join four favourites at next month's Marchwood Blues Picnic on Peter Archer and Carol Murphy's Youngson Rd property.
This time, traditionally popular acts Jan Preston, Brilleaux, the Grant Haua Trio, and Dr G with Mike Kirk will be "mixed up" with newbies the Flaming Mud Cats, Manalishi, and Max MacDonald.
"We also have California singer - and newcomer - Diana Harris to perform with Brilleaux," says Carol. "We didn't have connections with the new acts but thought we'd have a bit of a change as people don't like to hear the same thing. But, we do enjoy supporting local acts and are very excited about the four returning."
New Auckland-based rootsy blues band the Flaming Mudcats are a four piece that plays groove-fused sounds with burning harp and smoking guitar to offer a no-frills party music.
Wellington-based Manalishi is also a four-piece band with a lot of experience, while musician Max McDonald of Hamilton is a multi-instrumentalist who plays harp, guitar, bottle neck slide, saxophone and keys and has performed professionally for 20 years.
Brilleaux will play their high-energy, hard driving, British-style rhythm and blues; Grant Haua will play his "raw emotion" blues and, thanks to success at the last event, Dr G is back with guitarist extraordinaire Mike Kirk.
Plus, Kiwi expat Jan Preston, Australia's "Queen of Boogie Woogie Piano", returns with her fast, uplifting and rhythmic piano music "which engages and excites audiences".
Despite experiencing lower-than-expected turnouts last April and February - blues-mad Peter and Carol have decided to keep on with the event.
While Carol was being interviewed, Peter was mowing grass at the 8.9ha property and both are on the marketing band-wagon.
"Signs go up in Tauranga streets this week and Katikati people can buy their tickets from Quaffers," says Carol.
In the past, out-of-towners have dominated attendance at the festival, but Peter hopes to see more locals attend next month with the event dubbed "New Zealand's biggest little Festival of Blues music" in their Omokoroa backyard.
Carols reports Northland weather guru Ken Ring says fine weather is on the cards for the fifth festival which Tauranga visitors can catch a bus to for $10. "Camping is available and so is food at friendly prices, however people are welcome to bring a picnic for a family day out."
The event runs to a later time of 9pm to fit in all acts and give Peter himself a chance to perform if feeling lively.
"He'll probably get up for a little bit of a go - you know, 'Is the Pope a Catholic?' sort of thing," says Carol.
Marchwood Blues Picnic is on February 5, 316 Youngson Rd, Omokoroa, noon-9pm. Tickets $35 pre-concert or $40 at gate. Inquiries to 548 2283 or visit: www.bluespicnic.com