Welcome to the Musicport Festival Blog

As tickets go on sale for Musicport 2011 – the 12th festival, the 4th year at Bridlington and aiming to be the biggest yet - we’ll blog our way through the Musicport year, bringing you news of bookings, ideas and developments as the line-up takes shape, and a glimpse of the lives and minds of the Musicport staff and crew. We’ll be looking for thoughts and comments from you too – please join in, wherever you are!

You may have noticed that this blog was rather neglected during last year's festival. This was because we took it upon ourselves to 'live tweet' the event. Follow us @musicportfest or on #musicport you can also find us on facebook

Thursday, 6 November 2008

2009 Dates

2009 is the 10th anniversary of Musicport, so the festival promises to be extra special! Those all important dates are: 23rd, 24th and 25th October 2009... watch this space for news as it breaks!
I am still gathering photos from this year's festival and will put a lovely slideshow up here soon! Kate x

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Musicport '08 Time Lapse

Hello all,

I'm hoping that everyone is now recovered from the festival and looking forward to next year! Rather than carry my camera everywhere, and inevitably forgetting that I had it, at the festival this year, I decided to set up a static camera overlooking the main stage. So here we have it, the whole festival, 10 seconds at a time! If you're like me, you won't want to sit in silence for the whole 10 minutes (I did say it was the whole festival!). Take my advice, que up a few of your favourite tracks and press play... see you all next year, Rob


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

It's a Small World

I run an art gallery in Old Town, Bridlington (the arts quarter - Bridlington's 'hidden gem') and when I was stewarding on the door on Friday night, the owner of the next gallery up from us walked in. The same evening I saw the lady from the framers a bit further up and had a chat with her. On Saturday night I found myself sat next to the manager of another gallery in Old Town, then on Sunday the owner of that same gallery walked in for the evening session.

It was great to see all my friends and colleagues from the arty end of town at Musicport supporting the festival and enjoying the music. I have had a good chinwag with some of them about the weekend and everyone's in agreement that the festival was a roaring success. We have swapped notes as to who we liked and didn't like so much etc. We all have a cameraderie up here in the Old Town anyway, and it's a lovely feeling to think we are all pulling in the same direction and will all support, encourage and promote the festival in the coming years.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Three vehicles laden with all our gear finally made it back from Bridlington late yesterday afternoon.....I still haven't found my lost voice or my jacket... lots of sorting out to be done today
- nice review on Efestivals and Charlie Gillet's "Sound Of The World" site (by Jamie Renton) and this one that we think will be in Scarborough Evening News & Bridlington Free press

MUSICPORT, the country’s biggest indoor world-music festival, made a smooth transfer from Whitby Pavilion to Bridlington Spa at the weekend.

Australian legend Rolf Harris, Malian kora maestro Toumani Diabaté and the Levellers headlined the ninth annual event, which migrated south for a bigger venue.

The move appears to have paid off, according to co-director Sue McLaughlin, who estimated that the biggest audience of the weekend was between 1,300 and 1,400, for the Levellers. Whitby Pavilion, where the festival had been staged for the previous eight years, could hold only 1,000 people.

“It was a really positive start to build on and we are sure we will go from strength to strength in Bridlington,” said Mrs McLaughlin.

“We’ve had loads of positive comments from audience members about how the atmosphere of Musicport came with us and we are delighted with the way the venue worked.”

Most people found the new venue - which recently reopened after a £23m refurbishment - very comfortable and family-friendly.

Besides Harris, Diabaté and the Levellers, highlights included an Indian trio led by blind sitar virtuoso Baluji Shrivastav, whose dramatic soundscapes resembled a locomotive which built up steam slowly, gathering to a thundering crescendo.

Dramatic Palestinian powerhouse Reem Kelani and Portuguese fadista Liana (Reem also ran one of several workshops) one of Saturday’s biggest hits.

There was a strong Bulgarian presence on Sunday, when the 17-piece London Bulgarian Choir aroused a hung-over audience with a vigorous, spine-tingling and slightly raunchy performance. With an equally stunning rendition of a Bulgarian blessing, six choristers capped a humanist wedding service in the afternoon, in a room beautifully adorned by the Cloudbase collective.

The happy couple trouped into the main arena between two lines of guests and stewards just before Ivo Papasov and his Wedding Band started playing. They joined circle-dance leader Karen Michaelson to lead a long chain of people in a dizzying 20-minute sidestep which spiralled around the dancefloor in front of the stage.

It was a memorable weekend for all concerned.

The 10th Musicport will be at Bridlington Spa on 23-25 October 2009.

In the meantime, Musicport will run a world-music stage at Scarborough’s Coastival festival from 13-15 February.

Goodbye, Hello and Thanks

So first of all a big thank you to all the organisers and artistes for a wonderful Musicport festival. We had a great time and intend telling as many people as poss. to come next year.

It's probably unfair to mention highlights and lowlights, but I will anyway....

The highlights for us were:

  • Toumani Diabate - and his very distinguished band.
  • Baluji Shrivastav
  • Etran Finatawa & the Bridlington schoolkids - was this one of the sessions recorded for R3?
  • Bob Brozman
  • Young Coppers
  • Mitch Benn - an inspired booking, so good we went to see him twice
  • The Kathakali Theatre company
Special mentions have to go to:
  • Jim Eldon. Especially for a couple of his tracks - I will Survive (the Vampire version) and There's a Puffin in my Pint. It's a true story y'know. Oh yes, he had a real live pirate playing in the band with him
  • Also the Alleycats were great.Sadly their Myspace page is virtually unreadable due to mad flashing images. But that Polly will go a long way.
  • Laye Sow - not just another great Senegalese musician, not just Baaba Maal's cousin but someone who won the audience over from the very first song. And what a shame they weren't allowed to do an encore (yes, I know time is tight but sometimes if you want to get a good vibe going you do have to make exceptions. difficult if you are into control I guess)
  • Ivo Paposov - a pretty bad tempered set from him. A lot of the sound problems were imaginary I think.....but I wouldn't want him at any wedding of family and friends I was involved with unless it was the sort of event that was going to end up with a fight in the carpark. Thanks but no thanks Ivo.
  • There does seem to be a problem with the acoustics in the Main Hall at the Spa. We stayed with friends who tell us that this affects other people too. Bass got distorted, artistes can't hear the sound coming back from their speakers. This did seem to affect a few bands, and was certainly noticeable from the floor, but hopefully the sound crew can fix this next time...there will be a next time won't there?
  • Generally the logistics were good. Somewhere to store coats (called by many people a cloakroom) would have been really good. And what were all those stewards doing? but they were pretty helpful.
  • The food was not that special. I suspect the Spa management weren't too keen to have other people selling food and it does pose certain problems for an indoor venue. Maybe you could persuade some celebrity chefs to take over in the kitchen next time?
  • The Spa is an OK building - but it's a bit municipal. It would have been great if the lovely flags wafting about outside could somehow have been replicated somehow inside.
There is precious little of this kind of music this far up North so this festival is much appreciated.

And thanks again for all the hard work that went into this.

Monday, 20 October 2008

We Don't Like Mondays

Well, I'm home now and I hurt! But, what a fabulous weekend... Musicport was a huge success in it's new home and we're all looking forward to 2009 already.

It turns out that having a live blog run by the stage crew wasn't necessarily practical, but we have all the photos and the (publishable!) anecdotes and over the next week we will get them all up here and let you in on the goings on stage side.

Right, I'm off for a hot bath and a lie down in a darkened room... Kate x


Well I ache in places I didn't know I had places! 49 after Christmas and I danced two solid hours to the Outernationalists last night. Add to that the two previous late nights also ......


Highlight of yesterday though, Mike Waterson, Norma Waterson & Martin Carthy. Not a concert as such but a showing of their Travelling For A Living film made in the 60s with a Q&A session afterwards. As a big fan of the Waterson Carthy lot I was obviously looking forward to this, however I learned an awful lot that I didn't know before about this wonderful singing family.

This weekend has marked for me, a bit of a 'First day of the rest of your life' type of scenario. So I feel a little bit funny this morning - liberated sort of. (Recently came out of a 15 year marriage so learning to live by myself, please myself and not have to justify my likes, dislikes and decisions. It's wonderful!). Thankfully don't have to go back to work till tomorrow so can catch up with sleep and get all me washing & shopping done and stuff :-)

What a weekend it's been thoug all in all .....

I have never felt such a buzz in Bridlington, (cos they're all very 'can't be bothered' here you know.) Thank you SO much to Jim and Sue and ALL the folks who organised this fabulous event. I for one will definitely be coming again and plugging the event like crazy to everyone I know round here in the meantime, mark my words.


Sunday, 19 October 2008

Two Days Down - One To Go

Well I must have led a sheltered life these last few years ... two late nights on the trot and I'm fupped!!!!

Well what a tremendous couple of days though. Highlights for me so far? The Hut People, Mitch Ben, Reem Kelani & Liana and of course Ska Cubano - WHAT a blast they were! My 13 year old daughter's raving about them. Levellers were good too, mind, particularly the section with the Didgeridoo accompanyment.

I've got a bit of a banging head this morning though. Being used to only a healthy diet, I had chips & curry sauce on Friday night (eugh!) Fish and chips for dinner, and MACDONALDS for tea yesterday (double yeuch!!!) so I think the lack of fruit and veg is catching up with me. I haven't been drinking, so it's deffo lack of vitamins I am suffering from this morning. As I only live round the corner from the Spa I am determined to come home and eat properly today (despite my darling daughter's protestations.)

Anyway, better drag myself to the bathroom as I am stewarding again this morning. Thankfully my shift this afternoon means I have the evening free so am really looking forward to seeing Rolf Harris.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Sunrise on Musicport

It was early, we got to bed late and apparently a picture says a thousand words......

Friday, 17 October 2008

Leopard Skin Carpet!

My Bridlington B&B has very exotic carpet!

Where did Friday go?

The first night of the festival has drawn to a close on the main stage, it's been fabulous and we'll catch up with pictures of all the artists later, but as we head into the Cloudbase club room here's a shot of the Levellers from stage side...

Buses and Barriers

4pm and The Levellers and the crowd barrier arrive...

Roll On The Weekend

Well time's dragging today. Can't wait till the weekend ... till tonight!

It's quite quiet in the Gallery today, so every minute seems like an hour. Can't wait to get to my first festival in Brid. OK - I will be working some of the time, but just being able to breathe in the Festival atmosphere will do me the power of good.

I'm having my first day off work in 6 months tomorrow - just can't take time off when you're the boss :-( - so it will be sheer luxury having a Saturday off. Hoping to meet some wonderful new friends at Bridport and to get me ears round some great music.

Sand Castles!

A spot of pre festival sand castle building right outside the venue!

The Hoisting of the Logo!

2pm and the logo proudly takes centre stage!

Andy Cutting's son loves Phil Collins... Allegedly

Here is young Alfie Cutting boogieing (spelling?) to the rather disturbing soundtrack of Phil Collins currently being used to test the sound rig... we will be having words with HPSS about their taste in music before next year!

First post from the festival!

Ok, so it's not quite a festival yet, but there are people milling around and being industrious. The race is on to have everything ready in just 7 hours time.... I feel like I'm on Challenge Anika! All we need now is a blonde in a jumpsuit... See you all soon!

11am Update

Ok, so I'm not the blonde in a jumpsuit Rob was hoping for, but I am here! Here's the main hall at the moment! K x

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The Exodus Has Begun

It's a good job there isn't a toll road between Whitby and Bridlington! As Jim says below, two van loads left Whitby last night, several more have gone today and I have it on good authority that Folk Devils CD stall and the catering department are just about packed and ready to go. The juggernaut leaves Sandgate shortly! I'm not leaving until tomorrow morning so am currently surrounded by piles of clothes, shoes and various accessories trying to make those all important 'what to wear' for the stage decisions... still, I have managed to dye my roots and arrange a Guinea Pig sitter so progress is being made. Things I have to remember include display boards, ground cumin and an Ikea cheese grater... it's going to be some festival!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The calm before ...

why's the logo turned blue???

I have now put link to this blog on front page of festival website.

Well the T shirts have arrived & the programmes ... & the wristbands...........and 2 vehicles have now gone to Bridlington laden with gear & have unloaded at The Spa- our internet connections are now working again- thanks BT you really know how to reduce our stress levels!
The Antiques Roadshow should be clear of the building 9.30pm tomorrow allowing us to sttart preparations in the building 8am Friday!

Noticed a couple of typos in programme -how many times did we check it??? it now looks as though the Bulgarian Singing workshop starts at 11.30 pm and finishes at 12.30pm on Sunday (instead of 11.30am-12.30pm) & a there are couple of late cancellations- The Bad Idea Printing Press ( who lost a group of volunteers) & Hundred Man Orchestra ......

Otherwise all looking good .......and we've arranged good weather - well only 20% risk of rain on Saturday and for low tide to be at lunchtime on both days... so you can dip your feet in the warm waters of Bridlington Bay


A Sea of CDs

Well here we are at folkdevils mansions surrounded by boxes and packaging and exuding an air of mild panic but most of all looking forward to this year's festival. New town, new venue, new people in the audience and some great music. Too many good acts to pick out a particular one to recommend but Reem Kelani is a must see, especially after her stirring and emotional performance last time she was at Musicport. Back to it then, see you there.

Jim McLaughlin Speaking about Musicport '08 on BBC Radio 5

As my first post I thought I'd give those of you with an interest... I guess that's most people... Another chance to hear Jim's Interview on Radio 5's 'Up all Night' show. Enjoy!

Interview - Part 1 (Download)

Interview - Part 2 (Download)

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Breath Of Fresh Air

Hi all,

I'm Gail and I will be one of the stewards at the Musicport this weekend. It's many years since I have done stewarding, but I am really looking forward to the whole atmosphere of the festival.

In Bridlington apathy tends to rule, so it's a wonderful thing that we are getting the festval ... just hope we can hold onto it! (And maybe build on it, and maybe even have a Folk festival in the future too - you never know.) Fingers, toes, eyes and everything else crossed. Hopefully the whole of Brid will get behind the festival and make it a weekend to remember.

On a personal note, I have had an 'eighteen months from hell' so I am almost bursting with anticipation and excitement over this weekend. It will be like a breath of fresh air for me at a time when 'if it can go wrong it DOES go wrong'. Unless I fall and break me neck of course! Hopefully I WILL still be upright on Friday !?!?!?!?!

Anyway, good luck to all concerned. This will be my first Musicport .... and I can't wait!

Catering Operation Underway!

Every year at Musicport the artists are well looked after by Sue Longmate and her hospitality team, all the food is home cooked and as you can see from the tray of piping hot blue cheese and apple rolls pictured above, Sue is already into the swing of things!

Bus Trip to see The Levellers

Any Whitby or Scarborough blog readers who can't make it to the whole festival but fancy a trip out can catch the magic bus to Bridlington to see one of the festival's headline acts – The Levellers – on Friday.

The bus leaves Langborne Road at 7.30pm and returns from Bridlington at 12.30am, stopping in Scarborough en-route.Tickets are priced £30 which includes admission to see The Levellers and return bus travel. For details or to book ring (0845) 3732760.

Friday, 10 October 2008

5 Live!

Hey, Jim's on 5 Live tonight talking about Musicport! You only have to wait up till 1.00-1.30 for him - all those of you coming away from the Pride of Whitby Awards will no doubt be tuning in ... or there's always Listen Again over the cappuccino in the morning ...

Bridlington Spa

These pictures show Bridlington Spa promenade, ballroom and theatre in it's 1930's heyday, and this Youtube animation gives you an idea of just how extensive the recent refurbishment has been and the spaces you can expect at Musicport '08: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvxiZVeZQ7I

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Lost the plot?

Mind – what mind?? Mine went several weeks ago – but you’ll all be pleased to hear (ok probably totally uninterested!) that we now have a stewards rota, well several actually and quite a juggling act that has proved to be – try placing 75 people into different time slots, in locations where you think they’ll be needed, with the people they’d like to work alongside, with not too many early shifts & not too many late shifts and all ending up with a similar number of hours…….. Ok now you know why I’ve lost the plot!
But if I’m honest I love it all and I can’t wait to get there either if only to see Kate hanging off a wall in high heels and glitter trying to get mobile signal!..........
Sue x

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

One week and counting!

And as my fellow compere is trying to put the festival out of her mind, (see below), I find I am incapable of thinking of anything else... proof reading the programme the other night made me hugely nostalgic for past festivals, but really really ready for this one! I shared a cold chip or three (oh the glamour) with Jim and Sue earlier tonight, and despite the inevitable 'one week to go' stresses and the challenges a new venue brings, the excitement and anticipation of everyone involved is now palpable.
I am very excited too about 'live blogging' the festival and am hoping it works over the weekend... though, if the mobile signal at Bridlington Spa is anything like the one in Whitby I will be regularly found standing on walls, roofs, cliff tops and any other vantage point I can find waving my phone like a mad woman and desperately trying to post here by email...
What I am looking forward to most though is having the team back together for our yearly outing. I can't wait to catch up with everyone and get started... In the meantime I shall try and concentrate on the important pre festival questions such as: Is it a good idea to try and wear the very high heels on a stage with steps? Who will feed the Guinea Pigs while I am away in Bridlington? Roses or glitter for the opening night? And, just exactly how will I concentrate on anything else for the next week? Kate x

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Inside the mind of Musicport Staff

Ah................................... sorry what mind.
Musicport, yes the highlight of the year, is about to be upon us. So what happens to me in the run up to Musicport. Firstly, Jim sends through biographies of all artists, this is so Kate and I don't sound like complete idiots when announcing people. I still manage to sound like an idiot from time to time when the brain goes dead or the mouth dries up, dress tucked into your knickers, blouse undone, unintended double entendres, intended double entendres etc . (I cried on stage once at the festival. tell you about that later) Also, this is a document which we have to have on tap because as the weekend progresses the old grey matter becomes more and more numb.
Having downloaded the biogs I then ignore Musicport for as long as I can get away with it because as soon as I start thinking about it I get this exciting feeling in the pit of my stomach, You know the type that keeps you awake at night. I can't afford that too many days in advance as sleep is not high on the agenda at Musicport.
So what goes on in my mind..........I'll let you know when I've found it.
Come and talk to us there it's lovely to meet people. Jo

What's all this about then?

We thought a blog would be a fun way to record the festival and a way to have an interactive memoir by festival staff, performers and audience... we intend (mobile and internet signals pending!) to bring you live photos and coverage of the festival as it unfolds and if you are there you are welcome to join in!

We will probably add more and post reflections after the event too and we hope that people will join us and share their photos and memories, creating a record that we can all look back on in the run up to the 2009 festival!