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
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
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
- 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.
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
- 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.
And thanks again for all the hard work that went into this.
Monday, 20 October 2008
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
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.
THANKS MUSICPORT FOR THE BEST WEEKEND IN YEARS!!!!!!!!
Sunday, 19 October 2008
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
Friday, 17 October 2008
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.
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
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
Interview - Part 1 (Download)
Interview - Part 2 (Download)
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
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!
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
Thursday, 9 October 2008
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!..........
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
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
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
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!