Festival Frolics

Easter is not a new idea.

It was not originally invented as a festival for the purpose of the worship of chocolate, or indeed any particular deity.

Rebirth, revival, the starting again of new life and a new year; that was the original inspiration.

That’s why it usually snows.

Be welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

It isn’t actually Easter until next weekend, but the time seems right to be taking stock of a year gone, and the new opportunities and Festivals that lie ahead.

That’s certainly the thinking at the King’s Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club[1]. They are embracing the start of the Festival Season with the bright idea (Chairman Dave’s) that they will have their very own Folk Festival. ‘Headstock’ will be later on in the year and is due to be held in the yard out the back.

Dave sent a great deal of time last year, as well as most of the door money, visiting Festivals up and down the country to check out how they run the bar, and upon his return vowed to have his own festival.

And bar.

Catering has been laid on by the pub, Mac, owner, bon-viveur, raconteur and all round git, has found a packet of sausage rolls at the bottom of the freezer which will do them proudly. There are to be three stages, the Main Stage (mostly Chairman Dave’s pals); that will be in the yard, The Acoustic Stage, (The same as the main stage, with less wood), that will be in the back room, and the ‘you bl**dy dare bring an instrument on here’ stage; that will be in the Gents.

The line up will mostly be members of the club, and the Headline act seems likely to be top local duo Sellotape.

Sellotape (they wanted a name that would stick) is comprised of married couple Julian and Sandy. Julian is new to the guitar, having only been playing twenty-four years and is, to be fair, getting better now he has the strings facing away from him[2]. Sandy, is the wife, the brains, the powerhouse, the one who can walk in a straight line at the end of the night, and is the vocalist. She has a truly unique style of singing as she is untroubled by any notion of pitch, melody or tune. Volume though; by ‘eck, she’s got that bit down.

Julian plays in open D tuning exclusively.

Actually he only ever plays an open D chord, for every bar of every song, while Sandy belts ‘em out over the top.

They are unique[3].

No-one is sure why Sellotape get top billing at the club, as no-one else is allowed a guitar (and Julian shouldn’t be either), sometimes, during the beer break Chairman Dave and Sandy disappear for ‘gig discussions’, but surely, that’s normal?

So Sellotape will be headlining.

Tickets are going to be available soon, with a weekend camping pass being available. There isn’t actually any grass, but there is an outdoor smokers area, and it’s quite close to the bins and the loo, so in many ways does resemble a festival campsite.

If I were you I’d get your name down soon.

To get your head examined.

This week we’ve been as busy as ever, working on some backroom projects regarding festivals (see what I did there?), and that’s been very interesting. We’ve played a few Care Homes (one of which was an absolute riot), and performed Beat the Drum for a U3A. It was nice to have a bigger show this week and it went rather well. We went to see Acoustic Chum Gareth Davies-Jones (who is, obviously, Irish), perform his show ‘The Seam’ at Fenham Library. He performed a grand set of songs, mostly drawn from his residency at The Miner’s Institute in Newcastle; his remit was to use the documents and artifacts in the Institute’s collection to write songs for the show.

And very well done it was.

We took a few bookings and have had to postpone two. Our big show at the Alan Armstrong theatre will have to go back to the later part of the year, probably October (which is probably better anyway) and sadly the forthcoming show at Core Music will have to be similarly delayed while Core Music staff deal with issues over which none of us have any control.

Finally, this week, real progress on the Harland project as our Narrator has been in the studio and replaced my guide ramblings with a rather nice voice performance. Thanks are therefore hurled in the direction of Richard Ridley, of Devil’s Water, who has graced the recording with his narration. Lead vocals are penciled in for this week; you never know…

And so as the Festival of Fate sets up the stage of hope a month early, and the Farmer begins to water the field and drives in a herd of cows, I notice it’s the end of this blog.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] Insofar as ‘thinking’ might be the right word for it.

[2] It isn’t quite so good for the audience.

[3] Thank God.


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