My brain is still buzzing from what was one of those special musical days that we get from time to time as musicians, or performers.
I take my hat off to the organisers of the Worcester Music Festival. This is exactly how a City wide Music Festival should be organised, and some other Festival organisers might just learn a thing or two from this event, for it had everything, from thrash rock to traditional folk, with American style bands, jugglers, and street dancing added, just for good measure.
Over six hundred bands, and organisations applied for spots at the Festival, the vast majority local to Worcester, around around two hundred seventy were selected by the Committee to fill the limited slots available.
Coming from way out of the area, even if Dickie has strong Worcester connections, The Rawmarsh Mashers were lucky to be offered two slots – our thanks to the Committee for granting us that privilege, and thank you to for allowing us to be part of your fantastic event.
The Mashers were lucky. Having entertained Marzipan Moon, The Abbot of Unreason (Our Gaz) and Sam Eden at Acoustic Rotherham, all from the Worcester area, I think we slipped in by the skin of our teeth. But I hope more of the talent I saw during my day will head North to entertain the folks of South Yorkshire.
Joining me for the day as the wing Masher was Mr Gary Emms, an old friend and criminal in music. We had not played together for five years, and before that it had been well over thirty, life and a few hundred miles having got in the way. But it’s just such great fun to play with an old mate, even if his only chance of practicing the rather narrow Masher material was by way of MP3s and lyric sheets.
Before heading into the City we all met up at my Sister Rosie’s house, where we commissioned her conservatory for our first play through of the set. OK not the tightest of sessions, but it sounded OK for me, and for the Mashers.
Egg and bacon rolls gratefully consumed, we headed off into the City.
And there is something about a City, or any Town come to that, hosting an open Music event. Wherever one walked the sounds of music making could be heard, be it a band sound checking, or setting up, to Irish Dance bands, or English Morris dancers doing their thing. I think I spied a bit of line dancing as well…………. Well it gave the Morris men something to laugh at!
The Mashers first set was played out in the historic Tudor House Museum, wrapping up what had been a fantastic afternoon of Folk Music from across the genre.
Introduced by the hard working John as “not knowing what to expect” I think we fully fulfilled his wish, opening with “The Gates of Hell”. In retrospect, not clever as there were a couple of young children in the room and I forgot in my excitement to give out the normal Masher health warning.
Sorry! but it's what we do - mostly.
But it was great to see a good sized audience, including my Mum – now into her eightieth year - bouncing along to “My Old Guitar” and to my amazement “Dance on The Grave of Mrs Thatcher”.
I even bought a new hat for the occasion.
All can be seen in the photographs which will eventually find their way onto the Web Site HERE, or if you can’t wait are already up on Facebook.
Having told the audience how “Bloody Awful” they were, we headed off back onto the streets to seep in the atmosphere of the event and prepare for the evening set.
Just a special mention for a special young man who made up part of The Deadmonkey Duo. Here was a multi-instrumentalist of considerable skill and if you get a chance to catch them, make the time. Very special, very talented – it just makes limited artists like me sick.
The other splendid acts at The Tudor House were, Driftwood, Julia Davies, East West Infusion, Rex Waldron, and MaKale.
We had been warned. The Cricketers is a cosy City Centre Pub, decorated throughout with signed cricket bats and other memorabilia. On a Saturday night it was buzzing, and surprisingly full. If only the Pubs of Rotherham could make a similar boast, especially at their live music venues.
Opening the evening was Dave Onions. We had been told that he was an OK singer song writer! I fear this was a slight understatement. He lit up the venue with some supreme blues and skilled guitar and mandolin playing to make us mortals feel sick. Absolutely brilliant. If you get a chance to see this guy anywhere make a point of seeing him.
It’s a bit scary going on after such a brilliant set with the sort of stuff The Mashers do. It could hardly be described as blues…………… could it.
Bravely we set off though – this time giving the health warning. This was the sort of set that The mashers with Myke loved so much, taking our rough folk out into venues not associated with Folk.
And once underway, that old feeling came back in volumes………….. it was as if Myke was giving me a real kick up the arse………….. what’s more as the punters bounced along to the various songs so we won them over.
And thanks – if you’re reading this, to all who came up afterwards and said how much they enjoyed what we did and wanted to see more. It’s great to know that our songs hit the mark.
And a mention to a great Blues Band Black Cat Bone who not only managed to squeeze a five piece band into the space where even Dave on his own was cramped but sounded absolutely great.
And then sadly, it was back to the Motorway and the drive home. Being completely exhausted it was son number one in charge of the driving. So thank you Jack for your time and effort in transporting me about.
The real joy of this weekend was that there were no major concerts with big names. All the money was put into promoting local musicians and local live music, which in my humble view is what these events should be about, and all put together by a keen volunteer staff who were doing a fantastic job of making sure everything was going according to plan.
It’s a great pity that more Festivals do not take this on board – or if they want to put on headline concerts, put more effort into promoting the local artists as well.
Well done Worcester.
Meanwhile, new member Phil Hartley was enjoying a well-earned week off from Masher duties and work. But we’ll be heading to Topcliffe next Sunday in full voice – we hope.
Musically the rest of the week had been quiet………… love to get out more but just at the moment it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The Myke Barritt Music Trust.
However, The Myke Barritt Music Trust had its first full meeting since the Birthday Bash at The Bridge on Monday night.
And a good turnout it was to.
The Officers were elected. Phoebe as Chair, Sylvia Treasurer and Jane Secretary and there was a general feeling that it was all beginning to take a bit shape.
At long last the Bank Account has been set up and a healthy balance was reported with proceeds coming in from donations made at Myke’s Wake, The Birthday Bash and the sale of some of Myke’s personal Train collection.
Fuller report can be found on the Trust page HERE
Very soon we hope to add a sleek and stylish range of T Shirts to the general merchandise available to help swell the coffers of the Trust.
We were all overwhelmed by the generosity of the boys and girls of Toein’ In The Dark, who very kindly donated the download proceeds from their well established and critically acclaimed CD “Such A Long Way Back Home” to the fund. You can download your copy of this fantastic CD HERE.
And don’t forget “The Birds of Rhiannon” also available from HERE.
South Yorkshire Folk / Acoustic Rotherham joint promotion of Artisan’s Re-Union Tour....
Limited Tickets for this event on the 14th September are available for £10. You can buy On Line HERE or call Richard on 07507588964. You’ll need to be quick – tickets are selling very fast.
Pete has sorted the support for the evening – with The Mashers doing the warm up spot and the fantastic Folk On Fire also doing one of their super spots.
A fantastic night of Folk Music is in store.
And so the Mashers move on to Topcliffe and The Angel Inn next Sunday. We’re on around 3:00pm with Phillip doing a solo spot around 5:00pm. There’s some top music throughout the full weekend though – so get yourself over there on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th August. And of course there will be the Chapeltown Festival at The Commercial on Bank Holiday Monday – followed by Nellie Folk.
But – thanks again to Worcester – we hope to be invited back again soon.