I remember very clearly one of the original founders of the Audlem Music and Arts Festival, Paul Moran, telling me that organising this festival was one of the best gigs ever: "You get to invite the best musicians to a great party." He wasn't wrong.
Sunday morning, with the sun beating down, was a great time for slowly getting things ready for the day ahead. As the village came awake, it just felt as though it was going to be the great day it was to become. Unless you were up early you couldn't get in either the Coffee Lounge or the Priest House for that Sunday morning breakfast. Mike Vaughan played a fantastic acoustic jazz set in the courtyard of the Coffee Lounge.
By the canalAs the sun got hotter and the morning unfolded, the Canal side proved to be the ideal setting for the Loud Mouth Women's first performance of the day as they perfomed accapella songs from around the world. Under a blazing sun that would not have been out of place in Africa, they kicked off with a Zulu song, Melize weh while their Everything's gonna be alright summed up the mood of the Festival!
A leisurely walk back in to the village to the famous Blues Alley as Dave Nettleton gave one of his powerful performances outside the Priest House cafe to an appreciative audience, many enjoying ice cream.
ClassixClassix with Alix gave a performance of well known classical pieces at the Scout Hall, whilst the first bands at the Lord Combermere's outside stage burst in to life. The internationally renowned Boat Band entertained one of the largest audiences ever at this festival. Cajun, Creole, Caribbean, Zydeco amongst their set saw the dancers in the audience get in to the festival mood.
Back to Blues Alley for the first of Jim Kirkpatrick's solo sets. I for one have never seen so many people enjoying the ambience outside St James whilst Jim played the Blues.
Loud Mouth WomenLoud Mouth Women then gave their second performance outside the Methodist which felt really special given the setting. Back at the Lord C one of Audlem's favourite bands, Big Blue House, played out the Blues, and with a twist as they were later joined by Kelly Brammer on vocals. Given the sun was really playing its part, the talent was really making it a Festival to enjoy. Jim Kirpatrick held the stage at the Bridge for the second of his performances, building on the Blues Alley earlier performance, taking the event in to the early evening.
High SocietyHow good could this get?, I kept recalling Paul Moran's words, I like soul, I like Motown. I loved the debut performance of High Society – what a pleasure to have witnessed a great 7 piece band roll out some classic tracks that got the audience to their feet. What powerful vocals fronting the wall of sound – a stunning performance. Make sure you catch this band at the Midsummer on the Park do in June!
Heidi Emma Peach Browne took the stage accompanied by Christian. The talanted singer songwriter from Market Drayton performed a fantastic final set on the outside stage and rightly received the warm appreciation of the audience.
Audlem VoicesAcross at St James Church the Audlem Voices put on another of their renowned performances.
Gambler kicked off their set at the Shroppie Fly, Dave Chesworth's vocal talents delivered a mixture of swing, ballads and set the love mood at the Bridge.
Live Karaoke!Back at the Lord C, the shackles came off as the crowd gripped the Live Band Karaoke! There was no shortage of talanted vocalists wanting to perform karaoke classics with a live band. The band formed from members of High Society played their socks off to support the singers. Even impromptu pieces as the crowd sang out for first Helen and then Steve to take to the stage in what will be their last festival at the Lord Combermere.
The Live Band Karaoke was a first at this Festival (or anywhere!?) and what a great success it was, and a finale to day 3 as Festival moved in to day 4! What a great night, what a great day, it was good!
Audlem Online says: As well as writing the daily reports for the website, Ian Haughey is one of the Festival organisers and has been hard at work at every venue throughout the weekend – and for months in the planning with all his colleagues on the Festival team.
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