Friday, 1 May 2015


While all this has been occurring I’ve been trawling through all the acts that have applied to play at Rhythms…
It is a thankless task because there are far too many ‘Grrrrraaaaaah’ bands.
Heavy rock bands all of whom seem to think that unintelligible lyrics and fuck all talent will get them 
booked ?
Well it might, but not down our way.
But nestling away at number eighty-eight in the applications is a prime contender for anybody’s stage and not just ours.
A resonator guitarist and a tabla player who play the blues as if it came not just from the Mississippi delta but the Ganges delta as well ?
Taj Mahal would definitely love these guys.
The only problem being expense…
They’re based in Wales which I’m quite certain will necessitate a stay over ?
So contact is made…  And it will.
They’re on.
I’ve got them.
Quite why none of the other stages booked them I cannot say, all I will say is that they are the sort of artists that we thrive on.
They have their own ‘sound’ and they play it well.
They’re in keeping with the ethos of the stage and the festival and they’re what Rhythms is all about for us.
Vive La Difference !!!
Commerciality ?
Pah !!!
Who needs it when you can get acts like this ?

And then there's the band from our old mucker Dochan's stable from Glasgow.
I'd listened to their first tracks and thought they sounded a bit Richard Thompson'y, so I was definitely interested. Their later stuff was just as impressive and I really liked them, so we've got another four piece sleep-over coming off the budget.

Finally in March the big announcement is made and thankfully it all goes according to plan.
Now everybody knows what’s happening.

 The outpouring of goodwill toward the festival from all manner of people is one of the most amazing things that we all seem to deal with.
It seems to come from everybody.
All the local ‘tribes’ whether hippie, goth, punk, rocker, psychie’, soulboy, ragamuffin, folkie, country and Uncle Tom Cobley an’ all, plus it would seem, a fairly large percentage of their parents and grandparents.
They all support it.
It has it’s ‘knockers’ as well.
But they seem to number less than a hundred ?
Actually the amount doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that negligible amount have the ability in law to totally fuck it up for everybody else.
And so the meetings with Councillors begin…
And when everything is sorted to their satisfaction then we can finally announce the date.

Budgets for Rhythms are a strange beast.
Up until we re-located from the town centre to The Priory we got nothing and I had to beg.
But ever since we moved I get a small budget for the stage which mainly covers expenses.
It can be a bit difficult trying to pay expenses for about twenty acts but we do what we can.
This year my budget has gone up slightly but all stay-over expenses have to come out of it so the reality is that I’m working with the same amount I had back in 2012.

Come the end of May and I’m drained and not just physically and mentally.
Far too much time spent in answering late night e-mails and telephone calls and it’s fair to say that I don’t want to see the computer for at least a month.
Having said that, we are at least on target for the cut-off date.
This is good bearing in mind we are sharing the dates with the Cambridge Folk Festival…
So any chance of taking a rest is now taken over by artists who want to play both for us and for them wishing to change their allotted time in the programme.
I will accommodate this where it’s practical but you can’t always do it.
The annoying thing is that it usually wrecks any cohesive flow to the acts on the stage.
It’s all well and good just sticking acts down as a line-up but without any thought behind it you’ll get a lot less of an audience and that doesn’t do anybody any good.
Oh well, I managed to change two without too many problems and the programme goes to press next week so that’ll be it.
No more time changes… Just drop-outs.

Thankfully the crew had been sticking their ideas in the mix as we’d been going along.
The penultimate part of the jigsaw had been one of Joy’s recommendations.
She’d sent me a shed load of acts to check out this year.
Some were suitable but wanted far too much money and some were just ok, but all of them were interesting in their own way.
One thing I will never understand is why some artists always put their prices up for Festivals ?
Blues and Jazz bands do it on a regular basis.
They’ll play the pub gigs for a couple of hundred and then charge us a grand for a shorter set.
And then we’ll get a ‘name’ headliner for half the amount they are charging.
Don’t do it guys, you’re not doing yourselves any favours, and getting a reputation as a bunch of ‘gougers’ isn’t going to do you a lot of good because the word will get out.
The same goes for acts who are just starting out and see a festival as a place to whack the money up because it looks good on their c.v.
‘Brit’ School’ pupils try it all the time.
Sorry people, but we’re just not into it.

One of the good things about running and booking a stage like this are the other people who throw suggestions in your direction.
Once they realize what we're about then the weird and the quirky start being passed our way from those attending other festivals.
Steve, who used to be totally in charge of the whole shebang sent us a link to an absolute corker who I definitely wanted.
His humour was right up our street.
Joy had sent me a link to a full-on reggae band and I wanted them to top the bill on Saturday.
The problem of course, was money.
These guys were good and if they did play then they’d probably have to come down a bit from their usual price because I hadn’t got it to spend.
But… On the last possible day for inclusion I got the acceptance e-mail.
Pheeew !!!
Sighs of relief all round.

The last piece of the jigsaw had been one of Grant’s.
While I’m trying to get the reggae guys to confirm, he’d suggested an acoustic set on the Sunday from a rock band that he knew all the members of, in that they’d all played in bands in the area and just joined up to do something together.
The problem, if problem it was, was that it had worked like a dream and the band were now off and running, but the thing that attracted me to them was the harmonies.
A serious heavy-ish rock band with harmonies to die for ?
Sod the acoustic idea, I’ll take them as is and whack them on first thing on Sunday afternoon while everybody else is chilling out…
Because that lot will definitely wake the buggers up.
Sorted !
I can go to sleep now.
Well I can when I’m not working my tits off in the day job !!!
At least I got a nice birthday meal when Haddy took me and Mum out.

 Meanwhile, while I’m attending to all of this Haddy has been getting on with the garden, and her ‘Englishness’ tests.

Hey-yay courgette !

A couple more corny musical captions and you're done...

In the Spirit of Potatoland...

I heard it through the grapevine... As opposed to the fence...

The reading test is done and dusted and she got full marks.
The writing and comprehension test is the same.
Two down and one to go, but that will have to wait until a little later in the year as there are a few birthdays coming up, the children need money for school uniforms and food and the Cropredy tickets need paying for…
Plus she wants to go and see her daughter and family up in Glasgow.
It’s still all go around here.

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