Monday, 19 January 2015

News - Foundation Records / Slamfest + / outings and Exciting week ahead.

There’s a lot of news to bring you in this Blog, so let’s get down to business.

Foundation Records, our Community Record label, and collaboration with Myplace, Rotherham, has announced the first three audition events. They are:-

7th February
21st February
7th March. 

All starting at 2:00pm and finishing around 5:00pm at Myplace, St Ann’s Road, Rotherham.

Priority will be given to performers between the ages of 14 and 24 from all genres of performance Arts, music and spoken word.  Bands, Solo artists, poets, story tellers.  We will also be giving some priority to artists from the ethnic Communities. 

These audition sessions will not be conducted like X Factor.  We just want to get an idea of the young talent out in the Rotherham Community before planning the Recording
sessions for real.

At the sessions we hope to have experienced musicians and poets on hand to help by providing advise that may help development.  We also hope that those participating will network and even collaborate with each other to create new material.  

Everyone is welcome to the sessions but to be sure of a slot you will need to Email HERE or Tom HERE

Over the next few months every performer will have the opportunity of studio recording at least one track. 

All tracks will be added to a Sound of Rotherham compilation digital Album – initially on line but when funding is secured hard copies in the latest format. 

Plus –
We will be offering the chance to join in Workshops about Sound Engineering; Graphic Design; Marketing; Performance; Lighting; Song Writing and Poetry Writing. 

One could say that we are seeking to create a Performing Arts Youth Club which we hope will be long lasting.

And initially, thanks to an agreement between RAE and MyPlace there is NO CHARGE.  Come along and discover how you might benefit from joining in on this great project. 

Other details can be HERE

SLAMFEST News.   SLAMFEST is RAE’s annual flagship event.  2015 see’s our fourth event and we have been learning with each Festival. 

The Festival weekend is stressful for all those on the organisation team which is very small, much of it self-inflicted because we try to do so much and offer as many Bands as possible the opportunity to take part in the event.  This year there are several major changes.  

First the positives.   There will be two opportunities to take part as we have decided to split the event, enabling AC/DC ticket holders to not miss out.  
July 4th – 5th will see our two day Festival THE CHANTRY BREWERY SLAMFEST, with the main stage at The Cutlers; Acoustic / Spoken Word stage at the New York Tavern; and a Youth Stage at MyPlace.   

August 22nd will see the BRISTOL STREET MOTORS ROTHERHAM TOWN CENTRE SLAMFEST running from 12pm – 6:00pm., with a flow over into a session at The Cutlers starting from around 6:30pm and running until late.   Acoustic Stages and Youth Stage will depend upon demand. 

The negative.   We will not be attempting to involve any other venues.  I’ll tell you why.  Over the three years we have run we have transported kit, attempted to arrange kit etc for all the participating venues.  Not only is this time consuming but when we are let down by suppliers and in some cases Bands failing to turn up it has cost RAE money, not to mention our reputation.  Mick, Dan and I (the Masher) can no longer afford to subsidise the event.  This is especially the case when venues that have benefited with increased bar sales on the day of the event have made minimal contributions towards the cost of the Festival.  The final straw being a £100 donation for £1.8K show that put over £5K over the bar! 

I’m going to be frank with you, if it had not been for the intervention of Chantry Brewery the 2014 event would not have happened and been the massive success it eventually turned out to be.

If other venues wish to participate they will be welcome to join in the Festivities, by piggy backing the event.  If they wish to be included in the publicity for the event then they will need to get details to us by 25th May 2015 for which there is a £50 charge which includes avert, and where requested Bands.   BACK LINE AND SOUND will be the responsibility of the venue.

We will be producing the usual Brochures and Sponsors are most welcome to partner event. More Information HERE

And here’s another opportunity to play.  MATTFEST GOES GLOBAL.   We will be joining close on 200 other venues around the World to raise cash for the “Justice for Matt” campaign.   Saturday 11th July.

Matthew Cryer was a young lad who went off his first holiday abroad and never returned having died of brain injuries following being thrown out of night cub in Greece.  Witnesses have said that Matthew was the subject of an unwarranted attach by the bouncers, who so far have escaped justice due to the complexities of Greek Law.  

The family of Matthew have so far spent over £20K on lawyer fees in their attempt to get justice for their son and Mattfest is just one means by which funds have so far been raised to date.   This will be the fifth Mattfest and due to it’s Global reach the biggest so far. 

We will be hosting stages at The Cutlers, and an Acoustic Stage if there is enough interest. 

If you would like to take part in this Charity event then Email us HERE

More information:   HERE  and   HERE  

A few outings to report on.  

I had a lovely afternoon out with The Masher Road Crew, Sue and Barrie for a bit of folk dancing and music.  Great to see some old chums at the event, although there were dancing steps to be spotted at the bottom of my legs.  

Unfortunately nothing outstanding to report from being marched to Rawmarsh T & L Clubs offerings these past two weekends.   Let’s just say there was noise.  It does make me laugh though when what are average Bands in the main churning out them rock classics are at first met with wide spread indifference by the audience yet by 11:15pm are hailed as “rock Gods”.  I think the six or seven pints sunk during the evening might have something to do with it…………………..  

This last Sunday I managed to make my first afternoon session at The Cutlers with those fine examples of Rotherham beef, The Thurmanators.  I noted another new drummer – they seem to wear them out with a little too much regularity.  It was great to see the Pub so full for the event; it seems as if the afternoon chill out and a couple of pints fits with the working patterns of most people.    Next up for The Cutlers Sunday session is the amazing Systems of Hate, who are promising some new material during their set. 

LIVE AT THE TRADES News.   Unfortunately the Simple Minds Tribute, Alive and Kicking has had to be re-arranged, this means that our first event of 2015 will  be The Jammed making a welcome return to Live at The Trades on February 21st.   Watch this space for more details of the 2015 programme.  

The Web Site redevelopment continues, we have now added a Resource Page to the RAE site, replacing the one which used to be found on the Acoustic Rotherham site.   We’ve updated the links to many useful sites of use to musicians and spoken word performers and activists.   GO HERE to check it out.  

A top weekend of live music in Rotherham is kicked off on Friday night at The Cutlers with Ian Huddleston’s Be The Revolution taking centre stage again, making a welcome return after last month’s successful Gig.   On Saturday, it’s again all down The Cutlers for some not so predictable classic rock from Crimson Moon, well worth the outing if you’ve not seen them before.  Then on Sunday afternoon if you’ve not been real aled enough it’s System of Hate.  WOW.  A busy weekend there then. 

Wednesday 28th January a stand out folk event at Firbeck Village Hall with Steve Knightly of Show of Hands fame is making an appearance.  Links to details can be found HERE

Also on Wednesday 28th it’s ROAR’S 10th Anniversary AGM from 6:00pm.  Besides the usual dry stuff of AGM’s there’s a lot of Arty type activities taking place.  The evening comes complete with refreshments and is open to everyone with an interest in the Arts in Rotherham.   There are a number of very exciting projects in the mix for 2015,   so well worth the trouble to pop along and find out what they are. 

All the normal listings along with the specials can be found HERE             

Finally.  Oh dear, so Chris Bryant, Shadow Arts Minister, wants a more level playing field when it comes to the Arts.   Would this be the same Labour Party that chooses Arts Projects as the first thing to cut when asked to find savings by the Coalition?   I think Ministers who live glass houses should stop throwing stones that make them look completely stupid and of touch with the reality of the situation in the Arts. 

So my friends, whatever you’re doing this week, have a great time, support your local venues  - and KEEP IT LIVE.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Just a Bit of Catch up and a Happy New Year

And so Christmas is over and we’re into 2015, and I hope you’ve all had one of the best of Festive season's.  

Mick and I wish you all a very Happy and musical New Year.

Those Facebookers on my list will know that I had a bit of a wobble running into and over the Festive season which meant that I was mainly confined to barracks for most of the time.   However, the bout seems to have passed and hopefully will leave me alone for a bit.   Thanks to all those who sent good wishes, always appreciated,

I have managed during my confinement to get all the Web Sites updated and looking different, so there was something positive was achieved, other than sleeping, eating and drinking.  As with all new sites links will have to be checked etc., so if you have problems let me know by Emailing HERE
Rotherham Art Events        Live At The Trades             Acoustic Rotherham               Slamfest

Word Pit 8 was published just in time for Christmas.  You can find it HERE You’ll find some fantastic work from our local Poets and a short story from Tair Rafiq.   Incidently, watch out for news of Tair’s latest project, The History of Cake which has Arts Council support, heading for Community Theatres around Easter.  The new Home page for the Word Pit is HERE.

The Live at The Trades Season came to end on a high.  The Christmas 80’s Party was a great success with around 150 dancing the night away on a night when live music was king in Rotherham.   The ultimate event was one of our experimental nights with Sigue Sigue Sputnik headlining.  This also proved to be successful with around 100 celebrating the Saturday before Christmas with a great line up of Electronic Music, including My Peirriot Dolls from Rotherham, and slightly out of sync for the night The Thurmanators bashing out a set of cover + original Punk music.   

Sigue Sigue Sputnik, were brilliant.   Not my type of music normally but besides thumping out some great synthesised sounds and harsh lyrics, produced a great stage performance, aided and abetted by some excellent laser lights we found.  

My Peirrot Dolls debuted their first new song in thirty years which had the dance floor bouncing amongst their excellent standard set.   With the central heating turned up high on a damp cold night at the venue, it was interesting watching Ivor Hillman attempt to survive on stage in a mod anorak.    How we all suffer for our art.  

Live at The Trades returns on St Valentine’s Night, Saturday 14th February with a return of the popular Simple Minds Tribute Band Alive and Kicking.  Full details will be published soon along with our general programme.  

Delta Sound who provide much of the sound at Live At The Trades and of course the main stages at Slamfest now have their own Facebook page.   In our experience Delta is one of the best organised and equipped Sound teams in the area.  They now have a wide range of experience, from summer fates to boxing events.   You can find their page HERE

I was dragged out by she who must be obeyed to a couple of Gigs over at The Club.  On Christmas Eve, Canklow based band Nice produced two fantastic sets of popular soft Rock.  No pretences or posing about this Band, simply great entertainment – and they really worked hard.   Then last Saturday we were treated to an evening of Reggae music from Reggae on The Rocks, last seen in a pub in Skegness.  I was interested to see how a Club audience would receive the Band, and a whole night of Reggae rhythm.  I’m pleased to report that it went down fantastically, the Band being called back three times.   Besides a slight sound balance problem which made the vocals difficult to pick out during the first set the show was full on reggae music with virtually every well-known number being played.    So two good nights of music there. 

I wasn’t going to talk about a meeting I went to at VAR as part of the RMBC Budget Consultation for the next three years, but feel I must.   Central Government is expecting Rotherham to cut £51m from their expenditure.   Yes, another £51 million pounds!!    £21m of which needs to be found in 2015/16!   The Meeting was led by the Labour Deputy Leader of the Council. 

I would like to be able to say that Ms Emma Hoddinott offered up some resistance, some semblance of hope, some leadership as to the way we as a Town can move forward – a vision of what Rotherham may look like in 2020  -  but I can’t, thus making the meeting as torturous as that held with then CEO of RMBC Martin Kimber earlier in 2014.    

I did learn one thing though, apparently the closing of the Community Arts Department came about as part of last year’s Budget Consultation.   I wonder just what the public defined as Community Art, was it the Department that was providing support to the Arts organisations in Rotherham and attracting money in the Borough on several levels?   Or, was it that complete waste of money that does little to help local artists Gallery Town?   Hmmmmmmmmm  

Deputy Leader Ms Emma Hoddinott had only very general ideas as to how the Borough could generate more income streams for the Borough.  Apparently another Grand Plan is to be presented in the Spring of 2015, but with the Standards Inspection still to report, a new CEO to be found by May and the unknown likely make up of the Council in the future a picture of corporate seizure was painted.

As far as using Art to spearhead a renaissance along with a Tourist Policy suggested by ROAR was concerned she was uncommitted pointing to the current Tourist Policy Consultation which of course does not have proper funding yet.

Sorry but I feel that we are being let down by our local politicians, to survive we must start to think outside of the box, with a clear vision of the sort of Town Rotherham will look like in the future; without this how are we to attract the much needed investment into the Town? 

But enough of the blues. 

The Old Market Gallery has a new Exhibition that opened on the 8th January “Eat Paint Hibernate”, I believe it will be open for viewing Wed – Sat 11 – 3pm each day.  I also believe that it runs until the end of the month, but don’t quote me.  

The “Who” Exhibition can be viewed at the ROAR Art Space 9:30 – 5pm Monday to Friday. 

All the regular sessions and Folk Clubs are slowly coming out of hibernation, filling the Rotherham air with music.  All the details can be found on the listings page HERE

No Live at The Trades until 14th February.  So this weekend at The Cutlers PSYCHIC LAMAS will be bouncing their vibes off the walls. Saturday 10th. Also on Saturday night Roy Bailey is appearing at Wath.   

Sunday see’s the popular Celtic Session at the old No7 from around 1pm. 

Monday 12th and a special treat for those able to get to the Barnsley Folk Club.   John Waterman The Fake Thackray or Jake will be the special guest for the night.   A session not to be missed. 

On Wednesday Tair takes the chair for ROAR talk at the ROAR Art Space and at The New York Tavern ROMP Too will be getting together to share some quiet poetry.  

There’s lot more being added all the time so watch the Listings page HERE

Just a heads up to the 23rd January when The Cutlers will again host Be The Revolution, with support from the 48Ks doing an acoustic spot and Northern Poet Wayne Dyson will also be performing.

Be the Revolution now have a niffy range of T Shirts to select from -  be good to see some at the Gig.  You can only get your hands on one by going HERE

Lots of news will be coming out over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned, and whatever you are doing have a great time, keep it local, and keep it LIVE