As soon as he picked up a guitar for the first time, Ben Vickers knew it was the instrument for him. Almost twenty years later, he’s a regular on the local music scene and a driving force behind many of our local open-mic nights.
Ben grew up in Droitwich and got his first guitar when he was 11 years old. He admits that his main reason for starting was to play in a band with a couple of friends and he continued to play in bands right through his school years. ‘I absolutely loved it’ he says, ‘the guitar was my escape from the pressure of exams!’
Moving on to study and teach guitar in Birmingham, Ben was playing with bands on the local music scene but finding it hard to make bands gel and so one day he decided to pick up an acoustic guitar and start playing solo. He’s never looked back!
We’re lucky to have quite a few open mic and jam sessions taking place in this part of the world, and Ben dived into this. He made a decision to play at every single one he could get to, every week for several years. This helped to raise his profile as a performer, but it also gave him lots and lots of practise at playing live. This has really paid off for him, turning him into a popular live act that people make a point of turning up to see.
‘Even though I was playing flat out, this was all I wanted to do’ he says. Ben increasingly started to help organise and run some local sessions, and he’s become a regular fixture at the open mic night at The Firefly in Lowesmoor on Tuesdays.
‘The Firefly is a fantastic night ‘he says, ‘the vibe is great and I love every minute. It’s something about the location as well as the musicians and audience who turn up. Sometimes in a pub or bar you might have a crowd of drinkers and only ten people actually listening. People coming to The Firefly are here to listen and that helps turn it into a great night of music.’
Last year was a busy one for Ben. He ran a stage at the Worcester Music Festival and in September he launched ‘Keep it Real Funky’, a four track EP. He’ll be recording some more songs and hopes to release a full album later this year.
One of his favourite local festivals to date was Youthcomm’s Minifest, which he describes as ‘a wonderful gig’. Over the summer he’ll be playing at the Sunshine Music Festival in Upton and should be on the bill at other local festivals as well.
Ben has an active Youtube channel and is on Twitter (@6stringwiszard). You’ll also find him on Facebook and Soundcloud (search for ‘vickersbeard’).