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, 29 October 2009

And finally....

View from the North Sea Stage - almost worth going just for that...
Right, highlights & lowlights time....

My highlights were:
Jim Moray
The Bisserov Sisters
The Musicport Collective Jam
The Tibetan Monks

My lowlights were
Misty In Roots

I was disappointed in Misty in Roots - I could accept the bass even though it ripped your eardrums, but they haven't moved on an inch, and are now steady old fellers working their way through their set with little passion. and that's not good. Especially compared to artists on my highlights list.

Fernhill's set was cold, remote and apparently made up their set list on the spot. They may have been better in the more intimate setting of the Theatre, but they had a mighty build-up in the programme only to disappoint.

But with such a great choice, there are bound to be a few people who don't cut it on the day, and some who do.

A few observations:
  • Sound in the Main Hall was generally better this year
  • I've commented elsewhere on the improved food - clearly I mean Baghdad Johnny's. Value, taste, service, even though he was positioned at the end of a wind tunnel.
  • The actual programme booklet is fantastic - well worth the dosh, a credit to whoever produces it. I would LOVE to be able to buy it in advance so I could have a think about who I'm going to see.
  • I'd like to know if attendance is up or down on last year - looked about the same.
Can't resist one last pic of the Yellow Hat Tibetan Monks.

And a picture of a typical punter?
Yeah, right - THERE IS NO TYPICAL PUNTER AT MUSICPORT. That's one of the reasons it's great....

Musicport report - Sunday

First of all, a big thank you to the man above. Not only did he and the team organise a fantastic festival, he even found the time to entertain us on Sunday morning with some self-penned songs.

Other good news - the food was good this year, and there was even a mystic cloakroom on the Ground Floor - sometimes it was there. Sometimes it wasn't.

Who was the mystery sax player in the Sunday morning music collective?

she was joined on stage by the stage manager, the sound man, and various others which proved what a multi-talented lot they all are.
Andy Cutting was one of the stars of that session though with a perfectly judged piece.

It's difficult to capture the spirit of the Tibetan Monks - but what a fascinating experience, against all expectations. McGrooger describes them as 'rum gadgers'. He may be right.

I don't know what the collective noun for a load of frozen Urban Gypsies is...but they certainly livened up the place, looked great, and did a bit of dancing.

One of tbe busiest sessions on Sunday was in the Theatre for Samay. I'm sure they thought it was wonderful to have a full house, and the music was good. However there was a bit of a scheduling glitch (or maybe it was a plan?) which meant there was nothing else on...anyway they were great.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

2 Days and I'll be in Brid!

Nine years ago, about this time to the day in fact, I was asked to help out at a music festival that was happening at the Spa in Whitby. I was 16. I think the technical term for my role was dogsbody.

Nine years later and I'm one of the stage managers and Musicport is a date on my calendar that I'd hate to miss. I rarely get a chance to see an artist's entire set - I catch moments here and there - but I love that a single day can can take you on a whirlwind tour or worldwide musical genres and leave you falling asleep, sat on a massive speaker, with the sound guys pointing and laughing. I think it's safe to say that Musicport is a hidden gem. If you don't believe me or think I'm biased, come along and see for yourself

See you all soon and Enjoy the festival!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Musicport Memories

So the tenth festival is nearly upon us and I am drinking coffee and thinking vaguely about packing which seems as good a time as any to reflect on some of the amazing things I've been lucky enough to see and hear at Musicport over the last ten years.

I think the one moment that stands above everything for me in terms of intensity and significance was introducing 'Ustad Mahwash and Ensemble Kaboul' in 2003. The journey Mahwash and her musicians had taken from conservative Afghanistan, via poisoning, exile and asylum to our stage was inconcievable to most of us and a mere 'ladies and gentlemen please welcome...' was always going to be inadequate.

I'm going to list the rest of my stand out moments below, it would be great to hear everyone elses top moments, so do add your comments!
  • Talvin Singh - not a universal choice, but right up there in my memories
  • Buena Vista Social Club and being kissed on the cheek by the sadly missed Cachaito Lopez
  • Mostar Sevdah Reunion and Ljiljana Buttler
  • Danny Thompson in the green room 'it's good 'ere innit'
  • The countless late bands ringing up 'oh, I thought it was in Whitley Bay'
  • Sansaar the definite highlight of the first festival, bhangra, duffel coats and vodka!
  • Los De Abajo taking Musicport by storm in 2002 and 2005
  • My compering from a shrubbery for the UK Chinese Ensemble
  • Sidi Goma, surely the best opening yet?
  • Norma Waterson's beautiful and moving speech in 2001
  • Nuru Kane and the Bayefall Gnawa: I think everyone was a little bit in love with him.
  • Breakfast at The Royal Hotel, Whitby with The McGarrigles and Liljiana Buttler
  • Deckchairs on the roof in Bridlington.
I could go on and on and on, so I shall stop now and wait to hear your Musicport memories and moments.

See you Friday, don't forget to book your tickets!

Kate x

Thursday, 8 October 2009

All very exciting

This will be a busy year for me as not only will I be looking after the main stage introducing the acts along with the lovely Kate Longmate but I will also be performing with my trio (Me with Jude and Neil from Chumbawamba). That's at 12 noon on Saturday and we will do a mix of my stuff along with the songs of the wonderful late great Lal Waterson. Then I finish off in the theatre on Sunday night (before dashing back to the main stage for the final round up with kate) with Maalstroom. They are a lovely Dutch band who played Musicport last year and to mark their 10th anniversary asked to do a collaboration with me. We have done one gig so far which was a festival in Holland 'Folkwoods'. We made the Dutch national press when they described us as the 'surprise highlight of the festival'.
That apart I am looking forward to listening to familar and non familiar music and spending all my money on Cds that I never knew I needed until Musicport began. Every year is like that. There are some welcome returns and some fabulous surpirses. My highlight will be different for yours but it will be full of them. Can't wait, see you there.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

How can I become an author?

If you want to join us and blog your way through Musicport, you need to to be added as an 'author' simply send an email to musicportblog@hotmail.co.uk and then follow the instructions in the email invitation you receive. It may take us a little while to respond to requests, but we will add you as soon as we can!

If you simply want to comment on pictures and stories already posted, you can do so by clicking on the word 'comments' at the bottom of each post.

It's nearly festival time!

Well, it's nearly upon us, the tenth Musicport! How can that be? I remember the first, I was living in Dublin at the time and it felt very glamorous to me back then to fly in for a festival! I'm sure it can't be ten years ago because I was 24 then and I'm only.... oh.

Since then I have travelled in from many locations, (this year I'll be coming from Edinburgh!) and in several different guises, there have been joyous triumphant festivals and festivals with difficult resonances and sadly missed friends (we haven't forgotten you Fif), festivals in beautiful Whitby, festivals against the odds and now, for the second year, festivals in Bridlington... but, (and you'll notice the ever so subtle theme here), there has always been a festival.

Musicport is a special and lovely beast and this year it will unfold again in it's own unique way. Some of the performers are old friends making a welcome tenth anniversary return and some are new to us, but the one thing that's certain is that they will suprise, delight and entertain us. Every year we are transported and moved by the stories and journeys of those that grace the stages and there are usually some stageside tears as well as lots of laughter and the odd wee drinkie!

So don't miss out, it's ten years old this festival we love and sure to be a bit of a party, tickets are still available at http://www.musicportfestival.com or by calling 0845 373 2760

Nitin Sawhney, Misty In Roots, Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara, Chumbawamba, African Jazz Allstars, The Tashi Lhunpo Monks, Rory McLeod, Jean Binta Breeze and Jim Moray are just a few of the amazing acts you can see over the weekend, right by the sea but with all the benefits of a state of the art indoor venue (no festival toilets here!) what's not to like?

See you in Brid'.... x