Sunday, 25 September 2011

Summers over and the time is right for.....

Dusting yourself down, packing away the tent and the wellies until next summer, right?. Well wrong actually, for those of us who dread the dearth of any decent folk music events in the dead of winter something new and rather wonderful will be happening on Saturday 18th February and Sunday 19th February 2012

Nestling in the beautiful Mendip Hill is the lovely town of Frome and thanks to the enterprise of music events organiser extraordinaire, Jan Ayers, the Frome Folk Festival will be making its debut and bringing with it a wonderful array of folk talent both established and new.

Saturday nights headline act has just been announced and is the rather wonderful Spiers and Boden who, individually and collectively need no further introduction to folk aficionados. Other acts announced are Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman a truly magical duo who never fail to delight with the sweet haunting voice of Kathryn and the extraordinary virtuoso guitar playing of Sean Lakeman, Jenna Witts, Belshazzars Feast, Pilgrims Way, Luke Jackson, Bella Hardy and there are more names to be announced. How can you resist?

As well as the musical feast there will be workshops, Morris dancing, market stalls , sing-a-rounds and much more. Indoor camping is available and there are also good and reasonably price hotels and B & B's in and around Frome.

I will be previewing and bringing more news of other acts during the next few months but in the meantime get youself here and buy your earlybird tickets.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Wychwood Summary

I had intended to do this earlier but procrastination is a curse! |So better late than never here is the rest of my Wychwood experience.

On Saturday the day dawned bright and clear and despite one small downpour of 30 minutes or so it stayed dry. I caught the incredibly talented The Epstein on the Main Stage and was totally blown away by them. They started their set in the middle of the downpour and there was little more than a handful of hardy souls watching. Luckily the sun soon broke through and their majestic and cinematic guitar magic brought the audience flocking. I was as they say, hooked from the first hello and cannot wait to see them again...a big career beckons for these unassuming guys from Oxford.

I then decided to take myself off took advantage of some brilliant bargains in the Rise merchandise tent and also got The Epstein to sign my copy of their latest single.

Across from the main stage I found myself in the Festival Fishy tent observing the latest beauty craze, people dangling their feet in a tank full of tiny relatives of the pirahna who love nothing more than to nibble away at the hard skin on your feet. The very charming gentleman from Glasgow whose business it is, told me this phenomenon started in Turkey with two brothers who suffered from a painful skin condition found that bathing in a small local river really helped their skin heal. They initially put this down to minerals in the water but it was in fact the teeny tiny fishes and the rest is history......well that what he told me anyway! I declined on this occasion despite the offer of a freebie, I just couldn't bring myself!

So I spent a delightful hour with the charming , witty and supremely talented Eliza Carthy basking in the warm sun , soaking up the tunes with the appreciative audience made me think, this is what Wychwood is all about, happy smiling people, sun and music in a beautiful

The act I caught was The Wurzels doing .....well.....doing what they do best, making people smile...Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby.....oh ahhrrr!!

Wychwood is so much more than the music, ok the music is key and the BBC Intro Stage saw a whole host of talent this year, The Suit Corps, The Voodoo Kings , Urusen, Tallulah Fix, The Black Hats to name a few. It's about people of all ages from 2 to 80+ having fun , in a relaxed atmosphere with brilliant food and activities at an incredibly well run  family festival. I can't wait for next years.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Wychwood Day One

The sun rose over the rolling Cotswold hills on Friday morning and stayed there all day giving Wychwood a fabulous first day.

I arrived around about 6.00pm , the first thing that hits you you make your way onto the festival site is the amazing aroma of all the myraid of  catering stalls everything from good honest pies from Bristol based Pieminster, to the tantasling smell of tThai stir fry and Goan curry. More on the food later though, I have volunteered to do a small separate blog on the food for Wychwood...I know its a tough gig!

I met up with some of my fellow bloggers after I had watched a brilliant set from the vibrant and brilliant 3 Daft Monkeys. They played a mixture of crowd pleasers from their new album The Antiquated and the Arcane and they set the tone for the whole festival with people from 3 to 70 dancing around and singing along in the early evening sunshine. They are doing a whole summer of festivals so catch them if you can, you won't be disapointed.

I then moved onto watch two up and coming bands in the BBC Intro Tent, the Voodoo Kings, 4 guys dressed in black playing wicked rockabilly music , followed by the Suit Corps consisting who played a set of smooth funk combined with some dub rhythms aligned with a super cool look. The amazing vocals of singer Bella who can range from jazz diva to funky temptress in the blink of an eye holds it all together, I was impressed.

I finshed my first day bopping along and singing with the crowd in the fading sun to Cornershop. I had forgotten how good they were and they went down a storm.

Well day two beckons with the lure of a fish pedicure, food sampling, a voyage into healing treatments and The Epstein and Eliza Carthy to name but two.......happy days!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Back and on it!

Pleased to report my operation is over and is a success, I'm a bit battered and black & blue but feeling better every day and its only 3 days to Wychwood!. I am really looking forward to meeting my fellow bloggers on Friday and with the weather set fair and good music everywhere I turn how can it fail to be anything but amazing!

I am going to be looking at the running order today and going to plan out my time properly. It will be impossible to see absolutely everything I  want to but if I can convey the essence of Wychwood through pictures, sound & words it will be a job well done.

I am going to venture into Cheltenham today, I have to go on the bus....can't drive until Friday :(( so it should be a measure of how I'm doing, well that and how much money I can spend on festival essentials!!.

Oooh before I must , simply must listen to the best album release of the month You & I by The Pierces, two sisters from Alabama chanelling Southern Gothic vibes with sweet harmonies and a Fleetwood Mac feel, it is a true summer feel good record, but listen to the lyrics......always slightly sinister, fab fab stuff.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The week ahead

This is in a way , a week I've been waiting for for months and , yes its a good thing that is happening but  its quite scary too. On Tuesday 24th May 2011 I am finally getting rid of my nasty inflamed extremely painful gallbladder * fanfare*. Hopefully its just an overnight  stay and then back home with a three to four week recovery just taking it easy and getting well again.

Next week therefore will mostly be taking place from my sofa! In other  good news next week will also bring a new laptop to replace this prehistoric desktopI am on and a laser jet printer and .....tada!!......fibre optic broadband. Wow 21st century girl or what!

Two weeks until Wychwood good people happy days, I am rather thinking that the sun will shine on us, the Pimms will flow and happy shiny people will be loving all the good toons , poetry, food and myriad stalls that will abound.

So far today has seen me in domestic goddess mode, rocks cakes made for the Alzheimers Society meeting, my sister is the Support Services Manager for Gloucestershire and they do the most amazing work. Later on I will be preparing Lemon & Thyme Chicken with roast veggies and a white wine & lemon sauce. I may sound a little sound but hey, sometimes I rock!

So good people I leave you with this advice go check this out, the brand new & updated site from Sean Lakeman & Kathryn Roberts , good news for all folkies!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Planning ahead

It seems the wonderful Wychwood people have been brilliant enough to let me have a pass again for this year's festival,thank you soo much!! I was pretty new to the whole blogging from a festival last year but did gain invaluable experience and this year I am making a plan as to what I intend to cover.

One of the things I am really keen on doing is spending time covering some the emerging talent that will be performing in the BBC Introduces area I've put in a link for people to have a look and what is really exciting is the amazing diversity I have to say I am particularly looking forward to The Voodoo Kings, Cuba Cuba and Jessie Grace. It's a fantastic launchpad for these groups and one of last years most popular acts Rook and The Ravens are in the Main Arena last year and rapidly making a name for themselves

I am intend to devote time to the Poetry and Literary side of Wychwood as well and I am hoping to put together a soundscape for each day of the festival.

Tomorrow I will talk some more about the acts that I am looking forward to the most, up and coming gigs Seth Lakeman on Saturday at The Derngate in Northampton which I will review and festivals I am hoping to go to this summer. I would have blogged yesterday but I just had to make Chocolate Chip Cookies, you know how it is!

Monday, 9 May 2011

oops better late than never....

I guess you could say I've been rather neglectful of late , in fact downright non -existent but in my defence its been a really bad time in my life and without boring you with the details it goes like this, depression....get better......back to work....possible redundancy.... collapse at work....a trip to A&E , Morphine...( waaaay tooo nice!) ......diagnosed with gallstones that requires an operation...more depression. Thats the short version!

However I am now starting to feel human again and music is making its insistent way back into my life it started with the fab Mark Chadwick album, seeing him live with, treat of treats , Dan Donnelly and Sean Lakeman.

There then followed a bizarre happening, after seeing Teddy Thompson support Seth Lakeman a few years ago, I harshly dismissed him as boring and didn't listen to anything else by foolish. One sunny morning driving in my car along came 'Looking for a Girl' on the radio, it was as they say a real OMG moment, readers he is wonderful beg ,still or borrow the new album 'Bella' it as a sublime piece of music, I hooked and the Jazz Cafe in Camden town in August beckons.

I am also thrilled to bits that Sean Lakeman and Kathryn Roberts are now gigging again as Poppy & Lily their gorgeous twins have decided they can!! What great news for the folk world and not only gigs but a new album as well.

So I promise this will be the first of a summer of blogs charting not only my musical highlights but my own personal journey on the road to recovery...they are intrinsically linked. This is now being sent to the lovely people at Wychwood Festival in the hope I can start off with a bang and blog from Wychwood. Here's hoping.