Musical reflection (Part 5)

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Ian Haughey, Audlem Online's music correspondent, concludes his week-long review of the music scene:

Audlem Music and Arts Festival

Audlem Music & Arts Festival 2012 did fetch people out. A fantastic event that saw its 11th year, and is still free thanks to local sponsorship, with some eighty odd acts lined up which included a Poetry Slam on the opening Thursday, along with a mix of music styles and something for everyone's taste.

It always caters for variety in the musical genres and styles, all ages, new artists and established artists. Many performers play the large festivals and stages around the world, and love coming here to play.

The magic of the event is that it reflects the village, a friendly open atmosphere for all ages, perfect for families and friends to get together for an entertaining five days last year thanks to the Queen's Jubilee.

Who can forget the performance by the Bar steward sons of Val Doonican at the Bridge, or Louis Barrabas and the bedlam six at the Lord C, Jeremiah Ferrari, Matrix Club Remix (or who ever they ended up being called!) so many great acts, over 86, over 5 days, over indulged!

Well, you can look for a repeat at the up coming Audlem Music and Arts Festival at the end of May in 2013. No wrist bands or entrance fees, just you, your family and friends.

Nantwich Jazz & Blues

Nantwich Jazz and Blues over the Easter weekend. Full of top quality artists, as well as grass roots performers, as long as you buy a ticket and a wristband to see them. I'm not adverse to paying to see the artists, and as a 'musician', I like the fact that you get paid for performing, but you cannot help drawing parallels at times.

My main day at Nantwich was the Sunday, local performers were playing, and I took the opportunity to take to the streets of Nantwich and sample the atmosphere. The weather was OK and there were people about, but it lacked any atmosphere I felt.

The music was good, a lot predictable, but hey it is the Jazz and Blues, what would you expect to hear.

Personally I feel that the Nantwich festival has, following previous years, been more about queuing up outside popular pubs, more for the 'being seen' and having a drink value, than to see the artists performing. There are pockets where it retains its original values and the music takes precedence, but not the festival it used to be.

What I did take away, were some of the cracking performances I witnessed, and reports of performances I couldn't get to, about local bands from Audlem. Heidi Browne and Jack Marshall performed a few sets over the weekend, and I listened to audiences waxing lyrical about them, and 'how they were so pleased to get to see them again', they certainly left their mark.

The Wash, rocked the Union with a very tight set, and Gambler absolutely rocked the White Horse. The Folkwits stole the audience at their gig in the Crown ballroom. I know because so many people told me, to the extent that I thought I was actually there.

However, I left early Sunday evening and wended my way back to the village and the Shroppie Fly, mainly to see Heavy Weather. Bearing in mind that this was Jim Kirkpatrick's third gig of the day, and umpteenth of the weekend, it had to be the best.

A fairly light crowd it would be fair to say, saw Jim perform with with his band. An absolute stunning set, relaxed, but tight, the 'rehearsals' earlier in the day culminated in a stunning performance at the Shroppie Fly.

It was a free performance I would gladly have paid my Jazz and Blues £6.00 wristband fee for. I left having enjoyed a good, no, a great gig, with a good group of friends less than half a mile from home.

Theatre

... it was just a matter of time... 30 years.... since Daystar Theatre took to performing live theatre along the canals and waterways and latterly Rural theatre venues, and never before in Audlem. For probably one of the best known performance acts from the Village that was extraordinary.
 
Not that Daystar don't have a local fan base, indeed they do, with many familiar faces turning up at the numerous venues across the length and breadth of the nation.

The Scout and Guide Hall did its transformation act to provide an intimate cabaret style of Rural theatre and the venue for Daystar Theatre, and their production of '... a 'matter of time', performed to a sell out audience.

Quality

The quality of bands and artists here in the Village is one thing, I have also had the good fortune to see and hear a lot of artists over the last few decades of all areas of musical styles, and 2012 just added a few more revelations.

In all though for 2012, I say that Rook and the Ravens are up there with the ones I listen too, and that includes a lot of major artists. The Travelling Band, The Dunwells, The Reads, The Folkwits, Heavy Weather etc have really shown that we don't have to rely on the music industry to put out the bands we should listen to when they want us to.

In many cases it's already out there on your doorstep, in Audlem. Why not forget the diet and add some food for your soul in 2013.