NEWS: Oikos Café to host international artists as part of Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival – on Saturday 22 July

Words by Ed King / Pics supplied by Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival

Oikos Café and Church will play host to an international array of musical artists on Saturday 22 July, as part of the citywide Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival 2023.

Brought to Erdington by the Business Improvement District (EBID), this year’s festival will see New York based Hitman Blues Band and UK’s Honeyboy Hickling Blues Band perform two free to access live shows at the Erdington High Street venue.

Formed in 1989 by Russell ‘Hitman Alexander, The Hitman Blues Band have recorded six studio albums and one live album since their debut LP, Blooztown, was first released in 2000 on Nerus Records – featuring a special aprearance from Ray Alexander on two of the album track.

Their latest and seventh full length release – Not My Circus, Not My Monkey – was released in March 2021, produced and engineered at New York’s Parcheesi Studios.

Honeyboy Hickling is a renowned UK harmonica player, singer, and songwriter, having spent over 30 years touring and performing with artists including legendary blues guitarist Bo Diddly, rock guitarist Steve Marriot (Small Faces, Humble Pie), and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Thistlethwaites (The Saw Doctors, The Waterboys).

Both events at Oikos Café and Church will be free to attend and open to people of all ages, with The Hitman Blues Band scheduled to perform at 12noon and Honeyboy Hickling Blues Band at 2:30pm – both gigs on Saturday 22 July.

Dan Mandley, pastor at Okios Church, told Erdington Local: “Events like this are great for the community of Erdington.

“It’s an opportunity to bring people together from across our diverse community to enjoy live music and food. We get to showcase what a great place Erdington is.”

Erdington Town Centre and EBID Manger, John Hodgkiss, added: “We are delighted to be welcoming two international Jazz and Blues acts to Erdington in July.

“It’s the first time that Erdington has taken part in the Birmingham wide Jazz and Blues Festival, so we want to make it a memorable day, inviting the whole community to the free event.

“We have already received some great feedback on social media and it’s pretty evident that there are quite a few Jazz fans in Erdington. It’s also a great excuse to do some summer shopping in the town centre.”

Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival has been running for 39 years, organised by rock photographer, jazz musician, and early Black Sabbath band manager, Jim Simpson, who has close ties to Erdington.

Performance times at Oikos Café & Church on Saturday 22 July will: The Hitman Blues Band at 12noon + Honeyboy Hickling Blues Band at 2:30pm.

For more details on Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival 2023, running from 14 July to 23 July –  including full listings for this year’s event, visit