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