"No Lead Belly, no Beatles" - George Harrison

The “Lead Belly Fest” Concept

Lead Belly Fest is a unique concert happening which is currently touring worldwide iconic music venues, celebrating the incredible life and legacy of Huddle Ledbetter, known universally as Lead Belly: such was his influence on world music that George Harrison was quoted as saying; “No Lead Belly, no Beatles.”

Following the ground-breaking concert on 15th June 2015 at the iconic Royal Albert Hall, Lead Belly Fest went to the USA to Carnegie Hall, New York for the next sell-out round of this tribute festival on Feb 4th 2016. Lead Belly gave his last ever performance at Carnegie Hall in 1949 shortly before he died of ALS on 6th December 1949.

The concert is a multi-media event with world-class artists playing Lead Belly songs as well as their own hits. This is accompanied by projected VTs describing Lead Belly’s life, as well as a spoken narrative, and actual Lead Belly audio; this used as a backdrop to the music and create our unique in-auditorium festival atmosphere.

Song choices include: House of the Rising Sun, Black Betty, Take This Hammer, Good Night, Irene, CC Rider, Ella Speed, Rock Island Line, Midnight Special etc.

Lead Belly’s Influence…
Lead Belly is the great unsung American musician of the 20th Century, influencing The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, The Animals, Van Morrison, Ry Cooder, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, George Ezra and many, many more.


Lead Belly Fest Artists…

Van Morrison, Eric Burdon, Buddy Guy, Edgar Winter, Billy Bragg, Jools Holland, Paul Jones, Marky Ramone, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Walter Trout, Tom Paley, Chris Barber, Laurence Jones, Dana Fuchs, Josh White jr, Dennis Locorriere, Jerron Paxton, Tom Chapin, Guy Davis, Dom Flemons, Sari Schorr…

As well as the iconic venues, the Lead Belly Fest team is presenting Lead Belly Beach Fest, and Lead Belly Fest Stages (where we insert a scaled-down version of the show into established festivals). The aim of these is to present the great man’s music to a younger audience as well as giving opportunities to local musicians to showcase their talent.

The Lead Belly Fest team.