Monday, 27 August 2012

ROAF Fringe Programme grows. Diversity Web Launch. Dates ahead.

It’s busy days……………

So let’s start with the positives of the weeks.

The really good news is that, fanfare; we’ve finally made contact and met the good people behind the Diversity Festival, hopefully this will lead to firm co-operation between RAE and the Group. 

As a group the Diversity Festival are celebrating that they are all but a few pounds short of covering their budget requirements to deliver their show at The Rotherham Show (8th – 9th September).  The Diversity Web Site is up, and you can navigate your way there HERE 

Topping this year’s fantastic line up on the Diversity Stage is Nottingham Reggae Band “Ossie Gad and the Ites Band”, and dare I say, oh go on, all the usual suspects, of local Indie, Folk, Acoustic and ethnic roots music. 

There is much frantic work going on at the moment to get the publicity for the Diversity Stage out into the public domain, so if you see the links appearing on Facebook then please start sharing them, it’s only two weeks to the Show. 

Spiritual news too.  The Diversity Festival has been blessed by the Dalae Lama, which might explain how it is all coming together in such a short period of time.

And don’t forget the Folk and Jazz Tent as well.  Judy has put together another interesting programme for the Folkies on Saturday and I’ve put a special page on Acoustic Rotherham featuring the Acts HERE and a reminder that the “Singaround” Takes place on the Sunday afternoon in Park Wall Garden. (That’s the brick building close to the Museum.

The appearance of Buddy Wakefield proved beyond doubt that a quart can be poured into a pint pot; but only if one ignores fire regulations and the comfort of the audience.

Buddy Wakefield gave a super slick performance.  His work is both well observed, provocative, with a heavy dose of subtle humour, which suited my taste perfectly.   A bit like fine art, I know what I like, and Buddy Wakefield I liked very much.

It’s a real boost when one of Rotherham’s Art Groups brings one of the so called top names to the Borough, it can only enhance the reputation of Rotherham as being an active and lively Arts community.  What I object to is Genre showboating, which unfortunately we saw a bit of on Friday night.  Let’s not get carried away, only about 20% of Friday’s audience actually came from Rotherham, the rest came from home bases outside of the Borough. 

We’ll leave aside the stuff that none of the Art Groups are good at the moment, publicity!  And of course the Borough wide  problem of suitable venues……………………… there were though a few lessons to be learnt from the structure of the night in my view.  

It’s my experience that audiences investing time and money to see a specific artist rarely want to see the evening’s entertainment over decorated, especially when crushed into a room like sardines on steamy August evening. 

Our old mate from down under, whose patience was eventually pushed to the limit, might well have stayed mild tempered if the evening’s structure had simply been a local support for 30 mins or so – break for refreshments into the main performance.   It means evenings can start a little later and finish earlier before people need worry about buses and trains.

The same Australian gentleman may also have been saved from overheating if  those who were drawn from a hat to “read” actually understood the word “short”.  One such reader declared at the end of his work, “thanks for listening, that’s one of my longer poems” thus demonstrating zero respect to assembled audience and perhaps others who were denied a chance to read by his selfishness.  

For those who missed the exit from The Bridge of the Australian might have been amused to hear his rant about white middle class up their ar** hot air merchants.   I thought it best not to comment, having left my walking stick inside the building.

It’s little things like that which can spoil an evening.   Go HERE to find Buddy’s Web Site

And on to the latest from The Fringe Festival desk.

The right venue has been found…………….   This show was not an easy one to place because of the mixed nature of the content, but it’s a goodie.  So on the 30th October , at THE CHARTERS, will be John McCullagh -  John Lennon McCullagh –  Phil Sinclair – and a really special bonus Alan McGee the founder of “Creation Records” doing a special disco spot of the best in Indie.  We might also throw in a Band for good measure.    Tickets will be strictly limited so when you see that they are on sale get in quick £5 and £2.50 concessions.

On the 19th October (it’s a Friday) we’ve a Special one man Show presentation, with Tina McKivett performing the work joint written with Matt Hegarty, “A Poor Prospect: Tales From the Workhouse” providing an insight into life in the Workhouse, in words and music.  Extremely powerful, with a touch of humour.   On the same night we present Stan Skinny performing his knock out one man show “The Tesco Chain Store Massacre”.  (“Didn’t stop laughing for 50 minutes” The Masher)  An insight into Workhouse of the modern era.    Provisionally on the Diary for the Old Market Gallery.  Tickets £5 and £2.50 concessions.  Another night sure to sale out, so watch out for ticket availability information. 

We hope to make a start on putting together the Old Market Gallery Shows, with Paul Pearson on a Wednesday and David Kidman on a Saturday Brunch time very soon.

Also watch this space for more Shows coming onto the Diary very soon and some interesting visual arts news.

You can keep up to date with all the confirmed new dates HERE

Just to remind folks that the Rotherham Busking Day is 29th September.  Registration can be made up to the minute, but obviously it would also be useful for us to know if you’re intending to come and play, and your likely available times.  All you need do is Email HERE or use the online form HERE

It’s going to be a cracker of a Month.

 The new Land Lord has unlocked the doors of The Bridge, and seemingly put out a frightening Black Board declaring “Karaoke Here  on Friday 31st  Yikes.   It’s not an event you will discover within our Listings pages………………   or is that being artistically a “snob”? 

There was a rumour circulating that all live Saturday Gigs at The Bridge had been cancelled, and some Bands have been announcing that their date is now off.  WE ARE ASSURED THAT ALL GIGS GO AHEAD AS PLANNED.   However, the Land Lord says that he does not have a Diary of the Gigs booked beyond August, and would appreciate Bands popping in to confirm their date.

The sad sight of the For Sale signs going up outside of SNAFU was seen this week, so it’s no longer a strong rumour.   I’ve spotted that The Turf is again on the market; apparently both are owned by the same Chap.  Clearly another person who is finding the returns delivered by the Town Centre Pub Trade to be less than profitable.

Good to see so many people having survived the Whitby experience.  Everyone in seemingly in good singing voice. 

Been a bit of activity on Facebook to.   The main concern being something that I have mentioned in previous years, namely the lack of any meaningful information on the Whitby Festival.  In my humble view it’s the one thing that Whitby is so bad at and other Festivals so good at.  No maps of the Festival area of the Town showing the main session venues, no information concerning where the line ups at the various venues etc..  The Official reply is that Programme Sales make up 20% of the Festival’s income.  Yes that’s £5 per programme.  But then many have said that they didn’t have a clue where to buy a programme, let alone find the Official Information Centre where they had been placed. 

Yes that’s £5 a programme friends – and I was being criticised for £1.50! 

My feeling is that the cost of the programme and the lack of immediate information on line makes it very difficult for the casual tourist or a day only folkie to get involved in the Festival.   And let’s not forget, that for some of us thrown onto the State for a few coppers, £5 remains quite a lot of money for a book of adverts and few bits of information.  Perhaps a more commercial use of the Web Site might be the answer to any loss of income caused by a drop in sales if more information and detail were placed on the site.  Just my view though, but one shared.

I also noticed that post Festival, Ray Padgett is warning that you need to be booking accommodation to be sure of finding a roof and bed in 2013.  I should take heed as Ray will tell you, he is rarely wrong.

Next Saturday is Fun Fest, a Community Festival at Eastwood on the Eldon Road Playing Fields.  This is the seventh year it has been staged and seems to get more ambitious every year.  It all starts at 12:00 noon so fingers crossed for a day filled with Sunshine.  See the poster for all the details.  Who knows, the Masher might even be spotted mincing around the Park. 

This next week is always a bit like after The Lord Mayor’s Show, as we move into the back to School time, having had such an intense period of activity.  You young ones and Teachers will have that tingle of excitement as you prepare for the new academic year, if you have not already started it.  This normally means that Clubs and hobbies get put onto the back boiler for a week or so until the routines are re-established.   So good luck to you all. 

However all the usual Clubs and sessions will be out there for folks with the time to go out to play.   See the Listings Page HERE

A few dates for the Diary.  This Wednesday, 29th August Point Blank Theatre and ROAR are having an Open Evening thing at 25 Wellgate, Rotherham.   From what I understand, and I could be a million miles off target here, but Point Blank and ROAR are collaborating on the use of a currently disused Shop.  They are looking for creative ideas and everyone is invited to go along and stick their noses into Project.

ROAR are also promoting the next in their series of Personal Development Seminars for Artists.  This one on the really creative subject of Tax.   You’ll need to Register your interest with Matt HERE for this event on 13th September.

There’s couple of other ROAR events which we’ll handle nearer the time.

And it’s the last full wee where you’ll be able to see the Fabulous Sound Machines at The Old Market Gallery.  If it’s an event that you’ve missed up to now, then get yourself down to have a play with some interesting musical instrumentS.

And whatever you're doing this week, have fun, support local artists and KEEP IT LIVE.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Fringe Festival is Building - Do you want to take part? What are you doing this weekend?

So another really lovely week, mainly spent talking………………..  and I don’t need too many comments about that, thank you.

Been catching up with one or two things to. 

Plans for the October Fringe Festival are now in full flow, as suggested in earlier Blogs and correspondence we’ll be running the Gallery Acoustic Sessions  that proved so popular last year during the 2012 programme.  If you would like to play then contact me HERE  Wednesday’s will run under The Paul Pearson and Friends heading while The Saturday Brunch Club Session 11am – 3pm will run with Mr David Kidman in the Chair.    Let me know asap if you fancy playing. 

While we’re on the Acoustic part of the Fringe Festival, I’ve a few slots for the Acoustic Rotherham on 29th October free as well.  Contact me HERE

The Rotherham Busking Day, Sponsored by Ziggy’s Workhouse Gym has been confirmed as Saturday 29th September 2012, with Street music running from 11:00am – 3:00pm throughout the Town Centre.  This is a strictly Acoustic event, although we allow portable battery operated amplified sound.  There is no main stage, although we are hoping to attract some dancers this year and so an area of All Saints Square will be reserved for that.  

Anyone can play, anyone can put their hat out, Rotherham Art Events have you covered, but you do need to Register for Insurance and Licensing purposes. There will be a Registration Form with full details on the Web Site before the end of the week.  HERE

Veterans of the first Busking Day will remember how thirty heroes of music headed out into the frozen wastes of a late October Saturday to play – indeed even those who played the Gallery during the Festival weeks will testify to the freezing conditions, often leading to fingers being frozen to strings.  We’re a whole month earlier in 2012, which we hope will prevent frost bite becoming a factor. 

So get your applications in.

We have some really special shows planned, the latest is a fantastic double Bill of One Person performances –   “Poor Prospects : Tales From the Workhouse” performed by Tina McKevitt and written by Tina McKevitt and Matt Hegarty  (Sheffield) will be performed alongside of “The Tesco Chainsaw Massacre” Written and performed by Sheffield’s Stan Skinny.  This will be a not to be missed evening for those who liked a touch of pure gut emotion in their Theatre, and will certainly take you on a roller coaster of tears of pity to tears of joy.   Watch out for more details of this as they become available.

Not to be out done by all the Acoustic music being performed during the Festival, the RAE God of Rock Mick, having recovered from Slamfest and our Dirty Dylan Co-promotion, is already hard at work.  During the month we can expect, Blues, Metal, Punk, an afternoon of for youth Bands and one or two surprises he says – it’s the later that has me worried, he said that about Rotherham Rocks Saturday and looked what happened there.   

If you’re a local business looking to become involved in the local arts scene or appreciate the positive role an association with local Art can play in promoting your business, then please contact us there are many opportunities.  Email HERE

Rotherham Art Events also requires VOLUNTEERS.  Without more help the current band of worker bees are in danger of being carted off to the local hospital with exhaustion.  So save the NHS Money and come join us.  Without you we cannot succeed in continuing to mount quality music and art events.Email Jane HERE

Finally on the Fringe Festival.  The Fringe Festival Web Site is now LIVE HERE  It’s a work in progress and will of course be updated as dates are confirmed. 

A good friend of Acoustic Rotherham JB Butterfield is embarking on a Sponsored Busk between Hartlepool and Orkney for the Hospital of God At Greatham. The Hospital specialises in care for dementia.   If you would like to Sponsor JB contact him via his Facebook page HERE

Art In The Park is coming to Rotherham, only it’s going to be at The Old Market Gallery, on Corporation Street.  This is to be an exhibition offering young artists an opportunity to exhibit their work FREE OF CHARGE.  Visual – digital – photographic – poetical – musical.  Opening night is 13th September, but you’ll need to Register your work for inclusion by September 5th.  Contact Vicky HERE

An experiment co-promoted between Rotherham Art Events and RMBC at the Clifton Park Wall Garden on Saturday night was according to all a great success.   The concert which featured Dirty Dylan, yes, a Bob Dylan Tribute, with Phil Sinclaire and Steve Gascoigne in support made for the perfect music for the outdoor venue.

We were lucky, the sun shined, the heat was turned up and an evening sat  back listening to the music of Dylan, while supping Real Ale, and stuffing ourselves with some excellent burgers.

The size of the audience was far higher than some expected, which added to the creation of a super atmosphere, and there is no doubt about it Dirty Dylan are one of the finest Bob Tributes I’ve been lucky enough to see. 

The Wall Garden venue is excellent.  Of course we might be so lucky with the weather on another occasion.  So it would really be a great investment by the Council to have a canvas movable roof available in the event of rain.  This would give promoters more confidence to use the venue for music and Theatre events.  Only at the tail end of June OMT’s Promotion of the Taming of The Shrew had to be quickly moved to The Old Market Gallery because of the weather.

The co-operation we got from the Council was fantastic.  So thanks to them for giving us the chance to test the venue out.

Interesting goings on in the World of Folk.  The Chapeltown Folk Festival  at The Commercial on 27th August will be going ahead as per usual.  Those who have been attending in recent years will be aware that there have been several changes in format, and this year more changes have been made – I’m told.   The event will be exclusive to the Upstairs room, unless agreement can be reached with regular Pub users over the use of the down stairs bar.   Upstairs you can expect music in the round but with the addition of four special invited spots.  The event starts at 2:00pm and runs until everyone has fallen over.

And venue goin’ ons up Anston way.   Having left their home at the Loyal Trooper for the Cricket Club, the singers have discovered that the all is not greener on the other side of the Hill, fridge hum seemingly being the main problem.  So from September 20ths Meeting of the Club, they will be Meeting in the Conservatory of Julie’s House.  The tongues will be wagging down her Street about all her gentleman callers…… lol.  All the details about how to gain entry can be found on the Listings Page HERE – and I’d add that this is a bring your own beer venue.   Well done Judy on a creative way to overcome the shortcomings of the diminishing venues available.

And while we’re talking about Judy.   This year’s Rotherham Show will soon be upon us.  I believe, but my beliefs are often wrong, that this is the last year of the Folk / Jazz Tent as from next year 2013 funding will not be available.   There is the usual line up of home and International Folk musicians on offer.  You can find them listed on the Listings Page HERE

Last year’s experimental Folk Singaround in the Museum has been moved to the Sunday, thus allowing Folkies to get a full dose of their favourite music, and it has the new venue of the Wall Garden Room.   Bring your voices and instruments. Hosted once again by Robb Slow.

While on the subject of The Rotherham Show.  I’m told that funding for the Diversity Festival Stage is more squeezed than usual this year, and rumour is that that like the Folk / Jazz Tent there will be no official funding for 2013.  This has been known for some time, and in an attempt to promote communications and co-operation between RAE and Diversity I wrote Emails unfortunately not one was answered – and I even popped along to two Diversity Group meetings, at the first, one person from Diversity arrived, at the second no one turned up.  Is there a lesson that we can learn here – I think so, but I fear the establishment know better, I think.

All part of the rich tapestry of the chaos that is often the organisation of Art based events in Rotherham, I fear.

To be fair to say that the people most involved simply have far too much work on their desks.  

Obviously given the gee up by the announcement that DJ Alan McGee will be making appearance at the Rotherham Fringe Festival, a great friend of RAE/Acoustic Rotherham, Phillip Hartley has taken to the Airways on a Saturday evening under the guise of “Phil’s Phancies”.   Tune in HERE and find out what Phil might be playing HERE on his Facebook Page.  

Last Saturday he played a Mashers Song, but don’t let that put you off, the rest of the programme was excellent, given that I was sandwiched between Tom Rush and Jake Thackray.

And now to a busy week ahead. 

It’s Leeds Festival Weekend, the Streets of Rotherham will empty as the Youth of the Borough are drawn by the glitz of Bands with “Big” recognisable names, many of whom have more than a passing acquaintance with the Zimmer Frame.   The more brave will be heading down to Reading of course.

Then there’s The Worcester Music Festival, one of the best Free music Festivals I’ve experienced, however I note one or two pay events sneaked in, and the length of the event has been extended.   I’m a bit of a traditionalist in thinking of not fixing something that isn’t broke.   But a well recommended event.

One of Rotherham’s own young musicians will be doing his stuff over at the Colne.  Quite an honour for the Tom Kilner Band to get on the Billing for the Great R & B Festival.   Those who have not yet heard Tom at work on his guitar have missed a treat, so far, but the good news is you’ll get a chance to him in Concert again during the Fringe Festival.

It’s Galtres Festival over York way with a fantastic line up of Rock and Acoustic stars.  Steve Chapman-Smith can be heard amongst the Buzzcocks and Ash.  And I think past Acoustic Rotherham star Holly Taymar is also appearing.

On Friday we have US International Poet Buddy Wakefield performing at The Bridge in Rotherham as a ROMP Special, and if you miss Friday you get another opportunity on Saturday at The Riverside in Sheffield. 

Also on Friday 24th Earth Tales are in action with the Wyrd Wych on bass at The Red Roof in Sheffield, a rare outing for this legendary Band so well worth the effort to make the trip.

On Saturday two fantastic live music Gigs in Rotherham with Papa Legba’s live at The Bridge, and a Punk Metal night at The Charters.   For the artistically inclined, Chris Slater will earlier in the day be continuing with his series of Oil Workshops.

A reminder that Monday 27th is Bank Holiday.  PLEASE CHECK THE REGULAR CLUBS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE ON.  However, we can say BANSLEY IS OFF, while NELLIE FOLK at The Bridge IS ON.

And that my friends is that for this week’s news and chit chat.  

Whatever you’re doing this week, have great fun, support your local artists and above all KEEP IT LIVE

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Olympic Hights - Inspiring Days Ahead for Rotherham Arts

The games are over, almost, given the politics behind the high gloss finish to the event, begrudgingly I have to say “WOW” on every level. 

We actually got it right, with the exception of G4 Security of course.  

Besides some inspiring sporting performances, for me Murray’s complete demolition of Federer was the stand out individual performance just making it ahead of Mo, Rudisha and Bolt and all our other fantastic medal winners. 

But as the dust starts to settle on the Olympic Park, the financial cost of it all is cringing, £9Billion for the design and build of the Park, 35,000 people displaced from their homes, businesses wiped out overnight, and around £5m per medal paid into the elite sport funders. 

Artistically the most amazing thing for me was the Olympic Cauldron which I hope will find a home somewhere where it can go on display for all time.  For concept, design and pure fantastic good looks it did everything for me.   Thomas Heatherwick  the designer should be knighted for his contribution for showing British art and design at it’s very best, unlike that thing outside Stadium (I think it was called the Orbit) that I never worked out.  BEST OF ALL IT WAS MADE AND BUILT IN YORKSHIRE!   Go HERE to see how it was built.

But there was some great Art on display throughout the Park, details HERE

We’ll not comment upon the Opening and Closing Ceremony.  Great fun with a few stand out moments.  The sight of Eric Idle singing “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” complete with roller blading nuns, and Bollywood Characters, will stick with me for ever.

So here are words that I did not think I would ever write, well done Seb., BUT I hope that you will surprise me as much with what you do in the so called “legacy” period as you have in delivering the Games. 

And it’s been a bubbling under week as far as my own activity has been concerned.  A round of meetings reviewing and getting reaction to Slamfest. See previous Blogs.  The great thing has been that the comments have been 100% positive; a few marks have been knocked off for one or two organisational things, and a few points knocked off for financial balancing of the books and in some cases advertising / publicity.  So around 85% has been awarded. 

Loads of things have been identified that could be polished up for 2013 and yes, we’ve taken it all on board.  But RAE need more volunteers, and yes it’s hard work at times, but to achieve the sort of Festival people are talking about we need PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED ON THE ORGANISATIONAL SIDE, and deliver as well as make promises.  Email us HERE

The firm planning for The Fringe Festival has started.  The Fringe will be running throughout the Festival Exhibition 1st – 31st October .  

I hope that the Web Site will be up soon, but we can say that RAE will be bringing the founder of Creation Records, producer of the early Oasis recordings and  Manager of the Libertines and now Internationally recognised DJ Alan McGee to Rotherham for one night only.  More details to come once we have sorted the right venue for this but the date is 30th October.   Warming the evening up will be International singer song writer John McCullagh on tour from Australia (Of Dance on the Grave of Mrs Thatcher fame) with support from a young John Bhoy McCullagh and Rotherham’s own Philip  Sinclaire.

We’ll also be running the popular Saturday Brunch Club Acoustic Sessions at the Gallery, this year hosted by David Kidman and on Wednesday evenings Paul Pearson will be hosting a series of Paul Pearson and Friends at The Gallery venue.   Unfortunately we will have to put a small cover charge on the Wednesday evening Concerts.

ACOUSTIC ARTISTS – if you would like to take part during the Saturday sessions or at one of Paul Pearson’s evenings please contact us now HERE

We are also hoping to put on a series of four Acoustic Evening s around the Townships, e.g. Maltby, Wath, Rawmarsh, Kiverton, Anston, Thorpe Hesley, Dinnington etc.  if we can find the right venues………….  We’ll need three acts for each concert, and my preference would be to try and maintain the same three performers.

The same concept applies to the boys from Rock, and the FOF Theatre will be performing the same series of dates.

We really hope that the Performing poets will also join the project.

If your Band or a Performing Poet who might like to contribute to this part of the Fringe Festival then please Email HERE

The purpose of these evenings is to take a range of popular arts out into the Borough and introduce the whole Borough as to what is available.  We hope we can attract young people and adults to show how they might be able to access the Arts even though they live out of the main Town.

6th October we’ve a Punk Night at The Bridge in Rotherham, with The Sons of El Roacho headlining with full support.  Entry is free but donations will be collected for RAE and there will be the good old raffle.

The Red Choir will be performing a special Festival Concert, 15th October with the venue likely to be the Rugby Club, other guests to be confirmed.

And of course we will be holding the 2nd Rotherham Busking Day, the date to be confirmed with the Council this week.  We are hoping to include many more surprise elements to this.

We also hope that the Fringe will also include something in recognition of National Poetry Day and the International Celebration of Poetry Day, both of which fall within the Festival period.  I’ve asked the powers that be, but so far no answer.

We also have a number other special events in the final stages of planning.

And don’t forget the Myke Barritt song writing Competition,  all the details are HERE

Sad news this week, strong rumours suggest that one of Rotherham’s live music venues might well be being sold on or worse closed at SNAFU.  It demonstrates just how difficult it is these days to make venues pay at all levels.  Yes there might be some fantastic music nights, but these alone do not keep a Venue alive, these days you need a regular cash flow. 

And I was at the very last night of opening for the Red Lion at Braithwell, where the Folk Club sent the building into it’s new life with a few well-chosen songs.   Closing pubs on their last night are very sad;  only the expensive stuff is left………

I should say that John is working hard to find an alternative venue for the Folk Club, which appears not to be having a lot of luck having already lost that pub which was in the middle of nowhere and I can’t remember the name of.

But there is some good news.  On Sundays there is a new Open Mic / Jam Session at the Park View in Swinton.  Good luck lads I wish it all the best and when able to will pay it a visit.

The same applies to the newish Thursday Night at The Haynook, Kimberworth Park Road and run by those local men of blues and Rock the two Ms – they are due a Mashering to.

There are a lot of good things coming up.

Opus Hatch, devised and written in Rotherham by Karen Mulcahey and T. Rafiq (yes he makes the exceedingly good cakes) has it’s World Premiere on the 1st September – Helmsley Art Centre – Box Office 01439 771700.

It then goes on tour with dates at
13th Spetember – Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax – Box Office 01422 349422
22nd September – Montgomery Hall, Wath – Box Office, visit
27th September – Barnsley Civic Theatre – Box Office 01226 327000
4th October – Sheffield Library Theatre – Box Office, visit
6th October – Old Market Gallery, Rotherham – Box Office, visit
10th October – Rotherham College of Arts and Technology – Box Office, visit

The later two performances making up part of the main core of the Rotherham Open Arts Festival. 

A reminder that top American Poet Buddy Wakefield will be at The Bridge on 24th August.

Which brings me to report about a changing of the guard at The Bridge.

So farewell Ben and Olivia.  It’s hard to explain just what this couple have done for Rotherham.  They came to the Bridge just after the great floods, and were welcomed by a cold damp environment and with a non-existent customer base. 

Sheer hard work painting decorating, market testing, and the rest began to have it’s rewards, yes the Mashers started to use the upstairs room every Monday for their rehearsals, in fact, so regular were we that our attendance was taken for granted and one great night Myke and I got locked in and were saved from the dogs by the skin of our teeth.   

The hard work and marketing worked well.  Soon The Bridge became the Meeting Pub of choice with Trade Unions, left groups spanning the spectrum of Trots and Marxism, domino teams, Jazz Sessions, Folk Clubs, Acoustic Open Mics, a great Saturday night live music venue, a Performance Poetry Open Mic and  Let’s face it a venue where generally  the very best brains in Rotherham meet. 

Indeed through their marketing and OK maybe by accident the Bridge has become a hub for much of the art and music community as well as special interest groups in the Rotherham, a much needed resource given the closure of so many pubs and Clubs. 

And of course, those who have been carved up on the Rotherham Roundabouts by Ben have me to thank, as I taught him to drive, or rather, how to pass the driving test. 

Thanks guys.  You may not have realised it but you have created something special at The Bridge, you’re a very hard act to follow, so I hope the selectors have got it right. 

All good wishes to you both for the future in whatever you do and thanks for all your efforts. 

This weekend we’ve the usual Summer gatherings as the Festival season continues at full throttle.  Top of the list, the start of Whitby Folk Week on Saturday, and it means that there will be few Folkies spotted around and about these parts for the next week.  Those who know the Masher will appreciate that Whitby week is not one of his most favourite venues, overcrowded, overpriced, expensive fish and chips etc, and overpriced beer.  But those that fight the masses always seem to have a good time.  So if you’re heading East have a super time.

I had to go to a meeting at the Corn Law Rhymer last Saturday afternoon, really pleased to see that a number of people had joined Chris Slater for his Oils Workshop at The Imperial Building.  Remember that they continue every Saturday until September and are FREE.  So if you’re looking for inspiration, or a few tips that might help you progress your painting then pop along.

This Saturday also sees the Dirty Dylan Concert in the Clifton Park Wall Garden.   It promises to be a fantastic night with Steve Gascoigne and Philip Sinclaire in support.  Bar – BBQ and loads more to make for a great Summer Breezes evening.   This is a RMBC Clifton Park Promotion, in Association with Rotherham Art Events as part of the Summer Breezes weekend.  Tickets available from the Town Centre Information Centre or on the door for a bit extra or why not try and win a couple via RotherFM

 All the listings can be found HERE

That’s it, so, whatever you are doing this week have great fun, support local artists and KEEP IT LIVE.