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The red hot blues band, conjuring the spirit of 1920s, 30s & 40s blues, swing and ragtime music.

Vintage drums and washboard, slapped double bass, metal resonator guitars and three voices combine to make a huge sound—making old sounds in a new way.

Leeds City Stompers play all kinds of venues from vintage events, bars, restaurants, parties to big white weddings.


Leeds City Stompers were conceived out of love for old community string bands with the ability to play at any event.

The Band

Leeds City Stompers play the vintage blues, ragtime, swing, jump blues, skiffle and folk music that was popular in America in the 1920s through 1950. The band swaps instruments and all three members sing lead at various points. This gives for a set of music that is both authentically vintage and has a stage show quality with lots of variety to keep an audiences interest. Essentially the band is a trio of guitar, double bass and drums or washboard. Martyn Roper is on guitar as well as double bass and vocals, Ian Blackburn is on double bass, guitar and vocals and John Arnesen plays the drums, washboard and does some vocals too.


Leeds City Stompers was started in 2010 as a professional fulltime band and has since included many of the best players in the genre of blues and swing in the bands line-up. The band plays in many venues including lots of jazz clubs, blues clubs and also does a selection of pubs and other ‘public’ venues so potential clients can see and meet us when deciding if they want to book us. The main types of shows the band does are things like corporate events, private parties and weddings. Since 2010, the band has played venues of all kinds. Highlights have included supporting Steven Seagal at The O2 Academy Leeds, Beauvais Blues Festival in France, Scarborough Blues Festival, Tour De France, Tour De Yorkshire, Leeds International Beer Festival at Leeds Town Hall, Tramlines Festival in Sheffield and we have headlined the acoustic stage at Colne Blues Festival two years in a row (Europe's Largest and most respected Blues Festival).

Our Approach

The band is set up to be like a traditional 1920s community string band that can adapt to the surroundings and make music that helps mark all kinds of special occasions. We do this by having a range of popular 1920s, 30s & 40s songs in many styles and picking the right stuff as the night goes on. Be it a raucous set of well-known songs at a wedding that gets the dance floor full or doing a seated show to a listening audience in a theatre or blues club. The band has all PA, lighting, liability insurances and electrical test certificates, so is set up to work in any venue and meet regulations. Favourite artists whose material we interpret include; Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, Professor Longhair, Blind Boy Fuller, Duke Ellington and Robert Johnson. Many well known songs are in the set and these include; ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’, ‘Shake Rattle & Roll’, ‘Hey Good Looking’ ‘Rag Mama Rag’ and ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)’. We have a long list of testimonials going back a decade so get in touch to ask about your event or venues needs and please do check out the excellent feedback we have. We love helping people plan their event and figuring how best we can fit in.

Meet the band

Learn a little bit more about each Stomper.

Martyn Roper

Guitar / Double Bass / Vocals

A full time musician since 2011 Martyn played his first gig in 1994 as a bass player and since then has played over 2000 gigs. Between Leeds City Stompers, The Washboard Resonators and his solo one-man band, Martyn sings and plays guitar, banjo, ukulele double bass and harmonica. At various times he has performed in every corner of the UK and has even played as far afield as Germany, Sweden, Norway, France and New York. A highlight was Fuji Rocks Festival in Japan playing on the same bill as Nine Inch Nails and Mumford and Sons. His love of 1920s & 30s blues, jazz and folk music grew from an early age and include the blues and ragtime performers Blind Boy Fuller, Tampa Red and Robert Johnson and the early jazz and country music of Hank Williams, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and The Carter Family. He is particularly interested in resonator instruments of the 1920s & 30s and collects them and the music made on them.

Ian Blackburn

Double Bass / Guitar / Vocals

Ian is from Leeds and has been a guitarist since his teenage years. He played in various punk and rock bands on the Leeds music scene while building up a love of traditional blues, jazz, folk and swing music. Ian joined LCS as double bassist / guitarist in 2018. As well as with this band, Ian also plays double bass for Lewis Burner and collaborates on many other musical projects playing fiddle, banjo, mandolin and lapsteel guitar in addition to his main instruments of double bass and guitar. Favourite artists include the folk music of Leadbelly and Woody Gutherie, the Delta Blues sounds of Son House and Bukka White as well as all kinds of rock, hip hop, metal, punk and country music. At LCS gigs he uses his 1940s style electric guitar on a few of the numbers to make authentic sounds from the 1940s era by playing material by early Jump Blues artists like T Bone Walker or the Western Swing and Hillbilly Music master Pee Wee King.

John Arnesen

Drums / Washboard / Vocals

John is from Sheffield and started making music in his local church choir. Piano lessons came at the age of nine and then drums became his main passion at age fourteen. He graduated with a BAHons from Leeds College of Music in Jazz Studies in 2008 and has made his living as a musician and drum teacher since, travelling all over the world from touring holiday camps to playing at exclusive jazz festivals. Growing up in a household where Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck were always playing made being a jazz musician very inevitable. As well as playing with LCS he also plays with other artists like The After Hours Quintet, Howlin’ Rick and the Rocketeers, Tessa Smith, Black Sheikhs, Skinner and T'witch and the Oud and world music virtuoso Hasan Enagi. His favourite musicians include Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines and he has studied with various people including Dizzie Gillespie and David Bowie drummer Joey Baron. On stage he’s usually to be found with his huge 1930s drum kit and a washboard while wearing a gold Cummerbund.


To see the full list of upcoming shows, please click "Show All Dates".

Leeds City Stompers Tour Dates


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Able to provide their own full PA, Leeds City Stompers are equipped and ready to play a variety of venues and events.


See what other people have been saying about Leeds City Stompers.

  • Thank you so much for playing at our wedding at Chatsworth House on May 24th. We really excited for you to be our band and you didn’t let us down. All the songs you played created a great energy and atmosphere, which reflected our entire wedding day. Not only did you do a great job with the music but you were a great bunch of guys too. Once again thank you for making our day special.

    James & Leanna

  • First and foremost, thanks for the other night, the gig was great and everyone loved it! Wasn’t sure if everyone would be into it (not that we cared it was what we wanted!!) but everyone genuinely did and really did top off a great day. Thanks again and hope to see you guys at a gig when we are back from honeymoon.

    David & Nikita

  • Would just like to say you were astoundingly good last night and carried off the best gig I have seen in ages and I have seen a lot. Awesome playing, immaculate presentation and thoroughly entertaining.

    Bob (Sax Bob), Sheffield Blues Promoter

  • Very impressed with the feedback from your performance. You were the highlight of the night by all accounts! I would very much like to work together again in the future.

    Mark Andrews, MD of Carnival Of Curiosities

Are you looking for wedding photography? Martyn is also part of creative, alternative documentary photography collective, Fox & Owl.

Get in touch

E: info@leedscitystompers.com
T: +44(0)7870358398