IT’S a long, long way from the Dolphin pub in Weymouth’s Park Street to the Sydney Opera House.

Just ask piano ace Ben Waters, because he’s made that trip.

It’s taken him some 30 years and some 6,000 gigs, but, blimey, what a trip, eh?

The boogie woogie behemoth has completed another epic year of non-stop touring with dates in New Zealand, America, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Ireland and only this week finished a punishing but enjoyable series of gigs across Canada.

And just a couple of weeks ago, Ben and his band sold out two nights at Ronnie Scott’s in London’s West End with A-list celebrity guests including Sir Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood, Imelda May and Johnny Depp all keen to join the Weymouth-born musician to pay tribute to Chuck Berry in front of an equally stellar audience, with Noel Gallagher, Stella McCartney, Kathryn Jenkins and Terry Gilliam all showing up.

It all seems a very different world to the smoke-filled back bar of the Dolphin when a 14-year-old Ben had his first paid gigs before leaving college at 17 and joining Shakin’ Stevens’ band, taking over from Chris Holland, Jools’s brother, on the keys.

But it’s come at a huge price to Ben who will be retiring from touring from next year because, as he puts it: “I’m quite frankly knackered.”

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but something I need to do. I have been doing 250 shows a year and I just can’t keep doing it. There are several reasons why I am giving up and will tell you when I see you

“I want to thank you all for your kindness and support and coming to so many gigs over the years

“I will really miss it and all of you, but have great memories of 30 years of gigging,” he adds.

Ben has a full diary for 2019 with shows across America, Australia and Europe but that’ll be it with a final show at Under The Bridge in Chelsea, London, next November.

Local boogie-woogie fans have a chance to experience the force of nature that is Hurricane Ben with a show at Weymouth Pavilion next Saturday, December 29.

Tickets are £20 from the box office on 01305 783225.

And finally, some of the more alert of you may have notice that it’s the festive season, the time goodwill to all men, socks, Lynx Africa and pigs in blankets (or relatives in the spare bedroom as some of you like to call them…) so here’s wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

If you’d like your New Year events listed on this page, send your details to

Till next time…


TODAY (21)

Hot Bacon (Finns, Weymouth)

Glass Spiders (Wyke Regis Working Mens Club, Weymouth)

Mercy Lounge with Billy Boy Miskimmin (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Speedway Snails (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

The Silhouettes (Lugger, Chickerell, Weymouth)

Vanilla Radio (Wyke Smugglers, Weymouth)

Retro (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Mad Hatters (Gloucester, Weymouth)

SnakeSnakeSnake (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Rob Davis (Market House, Weymouth)

Jolly Boys Outing (Punchbowl, Portland)

Billy Solo (Wellington, Weymouth)

Luke Truth (King’s Arms, Weymouth)

Leggomen (Ayya, Weymouth)

Strings and Reeds (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

Sheryl Lee (Waterloo, Weymouth)


Big Gunz (Finns, Weymouth)

Hustle (Sailors Return, Weymouth)

Sneakers (Wyke Regis Working Mens Club, Weymouth)

Steve Nicholas (Conservative Club, Weymouth)

The Cubes (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

The Silhouettes (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Tequila Mockingbird (Wyke Smugglers, Weymouth)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Johnny King as Elvis (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Pronghorn (Ropemakers, Bridport)

V8 Hearts (Hardy’s Tavern, Dorchester)

Sticky Jam Band (Centenary Club, Weymouth)

The Rat Pack (Bull’s Head, Fordington, Dorchester)

Karen (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)

Mad Hatters (Admiral Hardy, Weymouth) and later…

Mad Hatters (Ayya, Weymouth)

Leggomen (Trooper Inn, Stourton Caundle)

Farrago (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)


James Hollingsworth (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Ollie Coe (West Bay Hotel, West Bay) 5pm.

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth) 3pm, followed by

Darren H (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth) 8.30pm.

Ben Morgan-Brown (Ropemakers, Bridport) 4pm.

Rob Davis (Gamekeeper, Charminster) 2pm.

Ricky Solo (Sailors Return, Weymouth) From 3pm.

The Rat Pack (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth) 7pm.

Scots Dan’s Open Mic (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)


Usual Supects (Wyke Regis Working Mens Club, Weymouth)

Revolution (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Adagio (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Mr Rob Davis (The Boot, Weymouth) 8pm.

Elvis Pete and Sheryl Lee (Park, Weymouth) 7pm.

Acoustic session (Belvedere, Weymouth)

The Undecided, Leggomen (The Nook, Weymouth) 4-6pm, followed by..

Leggomen (George, Weymouth) 8-10pm, followed by..

Leggomen (Batida, Weymouth) from 11pm.

Strings and Reeds (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

Paisley (Belvedere, Weymouth)


Baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men (Stable Inn, Bethlehem)


The Chase, Leggomen, Under The Carousel (Lazy Lizard, Weymouth)

The Katz (Portland Social Club) 2-5pm.

Stereoironics, Jolly Boys Outing (Spice Ship, Weymouth) 5pm.

Mr Rob Davis (Nook, Weymouth) 10pm.

Jolly Boys Outing (Lugger, Chickerell, Weymouth) 3-5pm.

Skint Imperials (Royal Standard, Upwey, Weymouth) 4-7pm.

Wessex Folk Night (Sailors Return, Weymouth) Acoustic folk, here every Wednesday.

Open Mic Night (Rock, Weymouth)

Martin Freed (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth) 8pm.


Jon Storey Band (Three Compasses, Charminster)

Roger’s Singalong (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Traditional Tune Session (Cove House Inn, ChiswelI, Portland)

Ukulele Sessions (Sailors Return, Weymouth) Strum on down from 8pm.


Jon Storey Band (Finns, Weymouth)

Milford (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Revolution (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Stacey Lou (Wyke Smugglers, Weymouth)

Roy Charles (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Rich Baxter (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Husky Tones (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Billy Solo (Wellington, Weymouth)