Underneath the Stars: beautiful musical loveliness

How’do. Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting an extremely hot and balmy Barnsley (who’ve thought), for the wonderful ‘Underneath the Stars’ festival. The first of its kind, the folky gathering was inspired & arranged by the lovely and amazing Kate Rusby (folk singing legend – like Kim Kardashian of the folk world…well…with less plastic in her posterior…and talent) and the larger part of her extended family.   IMG_2435 IMG_2438 IMG_2440 The weather was ridiculous, really there was no escape from the sun and it was absolutely boiling! Having lived in the North of England for 4 years solidly this was a slight shock to the system, but very enjoyable once adapted to. I may have even tanned – and by tanned I mean become slightly less white than before, on the pasty-scale I’m now more of a ‘light latte’ than ‘marshmallow white’ – WIN. IMG_2455 IMG_2459   All the stages & set areas were named after Kate Rusby songs, a nice touch, which always maintained a running Rusby soundtrack to activities – which is no bad thing at all! Generally what stood out about the festival was its attention to detail and friendly atmosphere. Really friendly, this is Yorkshire after all!   IMG_2506 A note, every woman should own a Wonder Woman shirt, it makes you feel like you can conquer….and look bad ass. IMG_2475 An abundance of bunting & fairy lights made for a happy Kirsty and great consistent festival vibe! IMG_2515   IMG_2532   Aaand the lady herself! You can tell she’s not used to standing up there without her guitar! I absolutely love this artist and have done pretty much as long as I can remember. Not only is she an amazing performer with a voice that could melt the coldest of hearts, but she is also one of the nicest & friendliest artist’s I have seen live. To be quite honest, I would love just to have a natter with her over some proper Yorkshire Tea.

Kate released her new album ‘Ghost’ on the Saturday of the festival, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Until then, I’ve popped in here a favourite songs of hers, and the name sake of the festival, for your listening enjoyment :).

 

(Some gorgeous brass parts in their too, another dream would be to perform these with the lovely lady!)

On this note, I’m thinking of resuming my ‘Folk Off!’ duties. For those of you unfamiliar with ‘Folk Off!’, this was my folk specialist radio show I produced & presented whilst at University. Though I may no longer have a fully equipped studio at my disposal, (although I do have some great portable kit I could use) I think I shall resume duties through a written blog format, delivering CD reviews, music news, and related tip-bits. If you like the sound of that, watch this space!

What festivals have you guys been going to?

xXx

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Gates to SOUTH-well Folk Festival

Hello gang, It’s all been a bit mad recently! As I recently moved into the new shiny flat with the boy (big blog post to follow), life has been hectic to say the least, and now of course we don’t have internet – as we’re waiting for the little Orange man to come sort it out for us. This has all created a distinctive lack of blogging availability! A couple of weeks ago (if you count 4 weeks aka a month) I engaged in the annual activity of going to the Southwell Folk Festival (SOUTH-well people, note the pronunciation – I don’t care if BBC4 do say ‘Suthell’ – it’s wrong). I have been bliddy fortunate really that, as a folkie, a festival has literally popped up in my town!

It started around 7ish years ago (?) but the history of the festival goes back waaaaaay further then that. Without indulging too much of my history bug, quite simply the ‘Gate to Southwell’ was an event held from the early C10th and started when the Archbishop appealed to all the surrounding parish’s in Nottinghamshire for donations to build a new ‘mother church’ – aka Southwell Minster.  So a procession, including Morris dancers later on, would deliver funds to the church each year, then making the obvious evolution into a folk music festival. Naturally. As the festival started up as my school life hit the exam run my attendance of this marvelous festival has been erratic between years 11 until last year when I graduated from University! (Exactly a year ago today!) However from now on happily this should no longer be an issue :)

IMG_1816 The festival is a big one in the Rogers’ family calendar, and usually involves a lot of drinking beer whilst enjoying some absolutely fantastic tuneage ( & food). Below are a couple of moments captured from the weekend, which I hope you enjoy! IMG_1811 IMG_1806 IMG_1805   IMG_1803 IMG_1800 IMG_1798     Proper ‘old school’ Jelly Babies!! Lack of purse meant I actually had to ask my Mum for sweets. Aged 22. And loved it. IMG_1797 IMG_1795 IMG_1794 IMG_1784 IMG_1783 What festivals are you guys off to this year?

Keep your eyes out for the new nest blog post – coming soon!

Ta for now :) xXx

FestiVAL!

Good evening! Apologies for my recent silence, I was of course at this years Fairport Cropredy Convention this weekend, sparing any phone charge I could, and then last night rather collapsed in a heap after making my housemates yummy chicken bacon cheesy pasta bake. No I didn’t take a picture. I was hungry.

Now, to the weekend! It was utterly fab as expected and anticipated. This year I travelled down solo on the train, as my cohorts managed to get a lift down from the Manchester with family visiting friends. I was very jealous.

On the Friday I dragged my ‘Ninga Turtle’ backpacked self to the station, already ending up sweaty, hot, and bothered by the time I got there – which didn’t bode well for a weekend without regular showers! Luckily all was well, and after a few annoying but uneventful train delays I managed to arrive into Banbury station around 6 o’clock after over 4 hours travelling.

mixed cropredy pics

My tent (and festival amigos) were not expected to arrive for another hour, so I got back stage with my trusty press band and managed to catch up with a few familiar and friendly faces from last year. I was slightly gutted to have missed not only Lunasa, featured on Folk Off! when chatty man Kevin Crawley was interviewed on the show, I also missed Roberts & Lakeman who I have not yet had the opportunity to see live, and the Moulettes whose music I am increasingly enjoying. Tis sadly the norm of that big bad thing ‘adult life’ to miss such fun however, and I was just glad I got to go at all really.

Eventually the rest of the gang arrived, after a hilarious phone call where I attempted to trust the Boy’s directional judgement…never again! We got set up and after some ‘musical tents’ fun over where the 2 non-press ticket people could or couldn’t sleep, we managed to create a little base for ourselves together. After hunting down some food, listening to some great acts and cracking out some lovely beers (mine was an Old Speckled Hen, one of my favs) we got to see The Levellers and 10cc live which was of course fantastic.

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After a surprisingly comfy sleep due to the wonders that is an air bed, we arose the next day and immediately sort out cooked meat in the form of bacon and sausage. We wondered down to the usual spot, a fab church cafe just before Cropredy village which does excellent (and not too pricey) tea and breakfast butties. We all stuffed ourselves with bacon, sausage, and egg baps, and the morning was greatly improved!

We then spent most the day soaking up the wonderful atmosphere that is Cropredy festival. This involved a lot of smiling, and being smiled at, by everyone passing – a lovely yet under-rated feature of this immensely friendly festival! It also involved trying on silly hats, drinking a couple more beers and a smidgen of whisky, and generally soaking up the sun and sound of the Convention.

funny hats

Naturally when the Peatbog Faeries took the stage on the late Saturday afternoon they went down a storm. I can safely say I have never clapped my hands so hard for so long. As predicted the happy, sometimes merry, festival audience loved the folk-techno group, and there were many of us leaping and jumping around by the end! As big fans of the Faeries, our group were particularly enthusiastic!

Finally, the big finale, the 3 hour Fairport set. As last year was the 45th anniversary of the band forming, they managed to drag many of the old boys back for a very varied concert. This year was understandably a little simpler, with earlier artists Rob Thomas, Martin Barre, and Nik Kershaw joining the band to offer a variety of tunes and sing-alongs.

My highlight, as ever, was the after party. Last year, we joined the press team after the big Saturday concert for celebratory drinks. And there were many! This year as we had mostly kept to ourselves, we felt scabbing free drinks wasn’t a great idea. So me and the boy sat around until things started to get going at roughly 2:30am. I got to have a good play on the old trumpet, accompanied by legends such as Dave Pegg, but couldn’t quite make it to last year’s 4am mark as I was stupidly tired! It is always a bit odd leaving the ‘around 60+ year olds’ partying and going to bed!

crop pics

The festival was great fun as always, and I dearly hope I get to nip back next year. Goodness knows where I’l be and what I’l be doing by then!

That’s all for now folks,

Ta ta for now,

xXx

#02 On a train

So tonight I am dashing home from Leeds to Newark for a couple of hours after work. Why? Because I am ridiculous.

This weekend is the Fairport Cropredy Convention, a big music festival of world, 80s, and folk genres. Last year I got backstage with a couple a press passes for my folk specialist radio show Folk Off! and had an awesome time. A particular highlight was getting merry at the aftershow party on the Saturday night, pinching Anna Ryder’s (awesome amazing musician) trumpet, and playing along with the best of my, and my Dad’s, favourite bands. (He was very jealous.)

This year as I condition I was told to bring my own trumpet. Now as I’ve been job hunting, I feared I wouldn’t be able to go. So avoided bringing said instrument to Leeds in case. It turns out I can go, so naturally I am off back to the Midlands to get it, so I can play along once more. I told you it was silly.

It does however mean I get to (briefly) see my friends living at home for the summer for a couple of hours, which is a definite win! To the pub we go!

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In this light, my dinner/tea/evening munchies tonight consists of a bacon a brie pannini with some sort of exciting chutney. Not exactly healthy, but as I ate leaves and more granola today I think it’s allowed…paahaaa.

Suggested Soundtrack:
I heartily suggest that next time you find yourselves on a train,  you listen to Solas – a fab Irish/American folk band I have been enjoying for years. They are as great live as they are on the ipod, if not better. Next time you’re on a train, look them up. They are a perfect soundtrack for passing fields, sheep, and bunny rabbits.

Have a lovely evening folks, I will be :)

Ta ta for now,

xXx

p.s Now I’m at a computer I’m going to pop a couple of Solas tunes in here for your listening enjoyment,

This was the tune soundtracking my pannini last night,

And this is my favourite Solas tune;