A magic little festival in a lovely market town. We stayed at a B&B in the town and near enough to walk to the festival site.
Saw some brilliant music. Enjoyed a great atmosphere, met some lovely people and I””d love to go back again.
Jim Moray was brilliant as was Eliza Carthy. Our discovery of the fesitval was Lucy Ward and also the Goat Roper Rodeo Band.
The weather was good and the town a great place to visit.
On the Friday evening we went to one of the brilliant blues gigs in Penrith – at the Rugby Club this time – to see The Proof. Pretty good band, charismatic singer. Their guest guitarist was Micky Moody – ex-Whitesnake no less. He was amazing. It was VERY loud, but what you””d want from a blues/rock night.
The next day we had a ticket for Stepping Stones Festival in Brampton. Its organised by Maddy Prior (ex of Steeleye Span – and I loved their stuff way back in the early 70s)
I wanted to go especially to see the compere/comedian Keith Donnelly (long time favourite) on stage with Les Barker (poetry, prose and comedy). As ever brilliant. I dashed home at tea time to feed Rosie and take her a quick walk and back to Brampton. First up were 3 ladies from Derbyshire. Quirky, bonkers, talented song writers, a cappella with attitude. They call themselves Red Ruff. Stripey tights, tutus and corsets. Excellent.
Then on stage were the reason I had wanted evening tickets. Red Priest. A classical music orchestra led by a recorder player with real panache. On stage too a classy harpsichord, cellist and violinist. They played Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach and others. It was wonderful. They said they had never played a folk festival before.
This is them at another event….
Then was the Karine Polwart band. I enjoyed it much more than I expected… I don””t always like Scottish folk.
Her band were very special. An intriguing woman – called Inge Thomson – on percussion. I was spellbound by her. Stylish and quirky with an ethereal voice. I couldn””t take my eyes off her. The young woman on harp (and violin) was tall and delicate. Her voice too, was angelic. She looked like an elvish girl. Her name is Rachel Newton. Karine write such beautiful songs and plays her instruments with such skill and passion.
This is a film of Inge Thomson.
I really must download some music by these three amazing women.
Sunday: Lovely clear and still Autumn day so I dragged Hector out for some air and supposedly for a walk up to Aira Force (waterfall beside Ullswater) but the lake itself was so beautiful and so calm and heavenly that I got immersed (not literally) in it. My heart was full of simple joy just to be there.
Saturday: Nice weather. Good mood. Hector was at a meeting with others with our local MP to start a process to get good enough broadband in Cumbria. Don’t know how they can hope to achieve it for the entire county with a £10M budget, some communities will have to be left out?
As soon as he got home we had to dash out to go and see the miraculous-voiced Elkie Brooks concert. WHAT a woman! She has been in the business for 50 years and deserves every accolade. She is now 65, looks 45 (or less) and has a voice that could rip leather. Utterly stunning. Blues, jazz, rock. A band so tight they could snap a ships’ anchor chain. I was grinning like a fool when she did a cover of Familys’ “Burlesque” from the early 1970′s. Her voice and musical abilities knock sideways the whole X-Factor fame-seeking hype (when WILL people wake up to this garbage?)
Elkie did all the songs we’d expect of her “Pearls a Singer”, “Lilac Wine” et al. All with the power and voice precision that I wasn’t really expecting if I am honest. Her band did backing vocals too and were great.
This film is from 30 years ago…
Another weekend. Another festival.
I was reviewing the Friday evening only at Maryport Blues festival. H stayed at home and I went with Pete and Sarah It was great to have them along. Sarah is doing SO well after her redical surgery only 2 weeks ago. What an inspiration.
First band up were Laura and the Tears. Not bad at all. The main event though was Jethro Tull. Talk about a trip down memory lane. I loved it! They did ‘Aqualung’, ‘Heavy Horses’ and ‘Thick as a Brick’ amongst others and as there were even folks there wearing patchouli perfume it was like being back in 1973. Sigh…..!
The last band were King King and then we ambled home under a starlit sky and in the comfort of the car.
OK – so we chickened out of camping this year coz of the weather. Day one of the festival it was tipping it down. Sheets of rods of rain.
I had a wonderful time taking hundreds of photos.
Wellies were vital and a new brolly would’ve been wonderful if it hadn’t been broken already.
But, the first gig was a warming and bright Chris While and Julie Matthews. I love this duo, especially Chris While (my favourite pic of the whole weekend is of her)
The rain eased off for an hour so we could have a wander around. The highlight later on was Andy Fairweather Lowe… nostalgia and great contemporary new material. How loud did I sing along to ‘If Paradise is Half as Nice’?
We met up with Heather and Alex and enjoyed seeing their talented son Rob performing too. Over the three days the weather gradually improved and by Sunday afternoon we could even sit outside the marquees. On the Saturday evening we stayed late for the late session in the hall and were treated to excellent slapstick comedy and some lovely music.
We did all day on the Sunday (I had quite a lot to review) and saw Keith Donnelly (funny funny funny as ever), Nancy Kerr & James Fagin, Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, Max Pashm and the final HUGE event – the Peatbog Faeries.
READ ABOUT IT HERE
A long weekend and a full weekend. Saturday was plenty of chores and garden work and a big trip to the tip. Ross was here too.
Sunday saw glorious weather and after watching some of the Chelsea Flower Show on TV I was re-inspired, so had a drive out to the garden centre and bought a few bits. Ross helped me get things planted up and the yard is looking great. Late afternoon after Ross and H had a game of pool at the pub Fiona and Chris arrived and we all had a chili dinner in the garden (H can really cook an ace chili!) and later when it got cooler we came in for another one of H’s testing and teasing quizzes. Chris and I won against Fiona and Ross. A great evening.
I could hardly believe it when Bank Holiday Monday dawned as lovely and sunny as Sunday. Breakfast in the yard in the sun and when C and F had left for their day out us three went to Penrith to see the street festival. It was excellent. There was a 30-foot pig, mechanical Morris Men, flower-pot men, a dishy-as-hell French paper hat maker who had the most heavenly and heart-warming smile, and lots more. Particularly brilliant were the highlight of the day; Castellers de Vilafranca (Catalonia, Spain). 100 performers from Catalonia building ‘human castles’ seven and eight storeys high before your eyes – a never-to-be forgotten spectacle. They called for volunteers and Hector gave it a go. We bumped into friends… Tim, Michelle and little Emma and also Alan and Steph. On the way back to the car H was interviewed for the TV… wonder what station for…..
I got the train (fab Settle – Carlisle line) to meet He (who’d been there 2 days for work) and Ross to go to his family shindig to celebrate and welcome home Nicola, her team mate Gillian, and their stunning crystal trophy. Kev had done a brilliant job of organising everything and just about everyone was there. It was held at a buffet Indian restaurant and the food went down well.
Father and Son……… World Champs Gillian and Nicola………..
A very exciting request dropped in my lap last week – the soon-to-be MEGA author Reif Larsen contacted me to ask if he could use a snippet of one of my films on a superb new website that will illustrate his soon-to-be-released book “The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet”. The website isn’t released yet but I’ll link to it when it is….
‘Here is a book that does the impossible: it combines Mark Twain, Thomas Pynchon, and Little Miss Sunshine. Good novels entertain; great ones come as a gift to the readers who are lucky enough to find them. This book is a treasure’
(From: The New York Observer) Here’s a fairytale: A 28-year-old Columbia M.F.A. student named Reif Larsen wrote a novel about a whimsical child from Montana who likes maps, and suddenly all kinds of famous editors in New York were calling his agent, Denise Shannon, and telling her they really wanted to publish it.
Norton offered to preempt with an advance in the neighborhood of $400,000 if Ms. Shannon took the book off the market and sold it to the publisher right then and there. The editorial director of Dial Press, an imprint of Random House’s Bantam Dell Doubleday group, offered to pay half a million for the same privilege.
Ms. Shannon said no to both and confidently took the book to auction. Within days, according to three sources, she’d sold North American rights for a sum just shy of $1 million to Ann Godoff at the Penguin Press, gravely disappointing editors at Random House, Viking, Riverhead and elsewhere. The book was also sold to publishers in Canada, Germany and Italy, and at press time, deals were being negotiated for the U.K. and the Netherlands. The book, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, is scheduled to come out this summer.
Its still freezing and crystal clear. The perfect weather for being on holiday from work.
New Years Eve was perfect too. A fantastic dinner of roast lamb – a brilliant joint (get it!?) effort by us and Chris and Fiona. It was superb and great fun to cook. We didn’t just laze around and fester – oh dear not! – we enjoyed some quiz-style games from Chris and after dinner a brilliant quiz devised by Hector. It was superb (even thought I lost in a big way) and a lot of fun. I insisted at midnight that we go outside with some (somewhat elderly) sparklers that were initially reluctant to light – but I like them and everyone was nice enough to stand in the frosty air and indulge me!
While H was away on a boys gig-pub-snooker-pub extravaganza weekend I painted the lounge. Lo-o-o-ng job. The paint pad wasn’t much good so I used a 4″ brush. Took AGES, but I’m happy with the result. Just the ceiling for H to do and the paintwork too. Looking MUCH better. Kitchen next!
Been experimenting with my Nikon D40 (got a manual last week) and took this on timer shot of my own reflection from my desk in the window in the lounge. I really liked the way the Apple on my laptop shone back at me.
The desk is set up in the window now and its a lovely place to sit… and Toots and Frank often sleep snuggled up
A couple of Sundays ago we had a once-only nosey around Lowther Castle – it was open for people to take a look before the gardens are renovated. Interesting, but very busy. Then we had a little walk along the dis-used railway line near Keswick. The tunnels and cuttings were dank, wet, damp and dripping with oozing water. Many kinds of fern and fungi covered all the dark slated walls.
Last week of August and trees are turning to gold – a tad early I think. It feels like we haven’t had any summer yet. Ah well. Its time to console ourselves with some nice wine. This picture of Hector nursing his rosé wine makes me smile
New clutch of chicks in the churchyard….
We both had hectic week at work and are now enjoying a really quiet housey weekend. Up and down ladders cutting back the honeysuckle from the front of the house and up on the utility room roof sawing and dragging branches from the budliea in the yard. More light for the lounge and the yard. Hard, but very satisfying work.
Frank helped…. but there was only one man for the job
Who’s looking real good!
music:festivals Fi | 21 Jul 2008
We won’t mention the weather… it was grim and wet and rainy and mud everywhere! I SAID!.. we won’t mention the weather! SO – aside from the weather it was a great weekend. Highlights were Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands, Demon Barbers, Les Barker, Dragonsfly and Richard Thompson. I was reviewing it as usual and had my list of what I had to cover, but luckily the list was mostly what I wanted to see. Our third Brampton together – wow! Our scribbled-on programme! then….. Some over-the-top (literally) security……. Richard Thompson……. Show of Hands – Miranda Sykes…. Tent before the flood….. Muddy marquee….. Show of Hands – Steve Knightley…..The divine Les Baker……
When Richard Thompson had closed the festival we hot-footed it home where I stayed up ’til 3 in the morning to write the review to send it by 8 a.m. and do the rest during the day.
Sunday – heading up to Gateshead Sage to see Eric Bibb in concert became a really good excursion. We set off early and up over Hartside pass and Alston,
….then over to Hexham and while He sat in the car I had a wander around Chesters Nursery and Walled Garden. GLORIOUS! It’s famous for its herbs, but its all lovely. The scent of the place is pure heaven and I came out floating on a cloud of floral well-being. I bought an antique cast iron calf feeder. Weirdness indeed but an interesting ‘thing’ for the garden.
Then a hop along the milltary road just north of the A69 and into Newcastle and Gateshead. We went to the Baltic (of course) and enjoyed bright afternoon sun, a walk over the Millennium Bridge and a drink on the quayside with a view over the Baltic, Sage and the multi-storey car park made iconic by the Michael Caine film Get Carter…..
….before going to the Sage to see Mr Bibb – who was, as ever, brilliant, though he forgot the words to a first song and then the electrics all went weird and it took a while to sort out. He graced our ears with lots of new material and all my favourites. He later introduced his daughter to join him on stage to sing. Lovely voice.
music:festivals Fi | 25 Nov 2007
(the first ever Carlisle Blues Festival – 23rd – 25th November
Friday night to Sunday lunch time a plethora of live blues with some of the BEST blues artists around.
Friday night was Tantrum – very young guys who were so cool they didn’t know they were. Fantastic guitar. Then there as Ian Parker Band – an old fave, and to finish a late late evening was Marcus Malone – a man who could flirt for England. We got home at around 2 and it was f-f-f-f-freezin!
Wandered back to Carlisle at lunch time – He saw Eugene Hideaway Bridges and Steve White while I shopped! I joined him in time for the luscious Connie Lush and Blues Shouter – raspy, grinding, sleazy blues. Then we had a nice Italian meal nearby before heading back for a full evening of a new band to us – The Stumble (my highlight of the weekend!) followed by super sleazy Ian Siegal and closing with Nimmo Brothers. I was well and truly saturated by blues and very tired. On Sunday He saw a brief bit of Ian Siegal and friends while I shopped (AGAIN!). A brilliant festival; well organised and stuffed with quality music.
Photos to follow!
After that we went around the corner to see the film American Gangster. Pretty good.
Pub quiz with Chris and Fiona making us a team of four – as usual. A fun evening in great company and we won – AGAIN! I’m almost embarrassed now. The winning margin was 7 points – not bad. Hector amazed all and was the only person to know the song (Pipes of Peace) and artist (Paul McCartney) to some lyric questions. WELL DONE HIM!
FORGOT to say – we saw the strange and walrus-voiced Lou Pride on Friday night in Penrith. Not really my thing, but very interesting.
music:festivals Fi | 18 Oct 2007
Our first trip to the Sage at Gateshead for live music. A gorgeous venue. He saw John Prine and I saw Spiers & Boden. Both were brilliant. A successful evening, tho marred by my worrying about Tootsie.
The most stunning building I’ve been in, which for all its lofty architecture is friendly and inviting. Its site on the Tyne and the views are inspiring. The lighting is a sculpture in its own right.
music:festivals Fi | 16 Oct 2007
musicovery - a fabby website that finds you music to suite your mood. Tell it a genre and your mood and hey presto! A cool way to find some sounds and discover new music.
Watch out tho – the site is French so to register you need to navigate the registration in French.
music:festivals Fi | 26 Aug 2007
Just one day at Solfest this year. I was asked to write some reviews. So, we took Ross too. Promise of summer weather but it wasn’t. Chilly, breezy and a little rain. NO MATTER! We had come prepared – diddy tent, jackets and good chairs.
The music didn’t inspire this time, but the sights and people did. Saw Stephen Spud Murphy, Badly Drawn Boy and The Undertones. The atmosphere is magic and the people – especially in fancy dress- were a joy to see. I got severely cold toes and took loads of pictures.
… it looks like we’re going to SolFest after all…. Bank holiday weekend for one day only. Cool.