THE bright young stars of the blues made a bank holiday bee-line for Burnley and made Saturday night one to remember.

The Burnley blues festival may be a much pared down version of what it used to be but the quality and enjoyment factor was higher than ever.

Just four acts took to the Mechanics main stage, each carefully selected to bring something different to the party – and all representing the future of the blues.

Opening the event was Chantel McGregor, something of a blues prodigy whose powerhouse set combined touches of immense subtlety with extraordinary technique – boy can this girl play a guitar.

Aynsley Lister brought together a wonderfully balanced set spanning rock, blues and even a little country thrown in for good measure.

His encore of Prince’s Purple Rain was worth the admission alone.

Todd Sharpville arrived at Burnley with the news that he had been nominated for a fifth British blues award, and it was easy to see why.

Forget all the hype that surrounds him being the son of a viscount, Sharpville is a blues musician to his roots laying down some fierce licks and keen eye for an good lyric.

Such was the quality of the line-up that any one of the four artists could have been a headliner in their own right.

But the honour went to the only American act of the night, Bernard Allison, and he turned in something truly special.

With a superb band behind him it was a memorable set from start to finish.

Bernard, son of legendary bluesman Luther Allison, was showman, guitar virtuoso and bandleader all-in-one.

With elements of Hendrix, some funk and even a Michael Jackson bass line thrown in for good measure this was a genuinely showstopping performance.

The backbone of the festival, the fringe, held over four days, at the likes of the Bridge Inn, Talbot Hotel and Coach and Horses, also provided a perfect counterpoint to the Mechanics fare.

For anyone with a musical soul, Burnley’s annual festival delivered the goods – and more.