- 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.