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Monday, 4 August 2014

NOT JUST ECLECTIC, ARCADECLECTIC @ RHYTHMS OF THE WORLD 2014

2014 and after a year's break Rhythms of the World Festival was back at the Priory in Hitchin, a fantastic setting for what really is a 'Family Friendly' Festival of World and Local music, you could say it's the best of all worlds!

This year I was absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to co-host what is, in many peoples view, one of the most interesting stages of the festival, The Arcadeclectic Stage, so named from the days when the Festival used to take place in and around Hitchin Town and the 'Eclectic' Stage was located in the Arcade, hence Arcade Eclectic, hence Arcadeclectic, simple!

Anyway, my long association with Rhythms has been mainly as a performance poet and those years I did not perform I was usually always there as a punter, or a do whatever I can do to help the Arcadeclectic stage manager, Chris Ripple who does such a fabulous job of putting together the line up for his stage and of course everything that goes along with that.

We were so lucky, blessed with fantastic weather all weekend (Only one short shower of rain on the Saturday), graced with THE best sound crew of the festival who did such a fantastic job coping with the very diverse range of acts and instruments, absolutely solid safety & welfare, brilliant film crew and of course my co-host 'Purple Dread' (Poetess extraordinaire Joy T Chance).

Absolutely everyone who performed on the Arcadeclectic Stage gave us their very very best and I really urge you to look them up on line and check them out, they all deserve it.

OK, so the main stage had a slightly bigger budget than Chris's

SATURDAY 2nd August 2014

The entrance 

And the stage is almost ready to rock & roll

Bob Mardon ROTW Musical Director checks with Chris Ripple if we're ready to go

And we are and we're up and running with:-

The Twirling Canes, beautifully dark haunting songs

Beau Jangles - Folky, a little bit proggy, damn fine all round

Fishwife's Broadside, it was fun getting all 8 of them on, splendid punky folky mayhem

Our 'Spoken Word' artist, the lovely JS Watts and she captivated the crowd with her tales

The ever popular Finger Choppers and their 'dirty' distorted blues

All the way from Scotland, the excellent rock of Jamie Flett and the Flaming Jets

From Preston, the hilarious and very dry humour of Ric Birtill

Almost Trailer Trash, the amazing Los Chicos Muertos

And to close the show on Saturday, The Ryddim Kings featuring Kareem, proper reggae, blimey did we dance!
So, that was Saturday and of course after we had finished and the crows had gone off to catch the festival headliners on the Main stage or the BBC Introducing stage, or gone home to bed we had the usual clear up and make safe for the night things to do before clearing of to the artists and volunteers hospitality area for some well earned 'hot nosh' before retiring off to our beds to get ready to do it all over again on Sunday!

SUNDAY 3rd August 2014
Saturday had gone so smoothly, everything just about spot on, we ran to time perfectly, closed spot on when we should, every act had given their all and so well, despite the late arrival of a couple of the artists due to our wonderful UK road network! Could we do it again today?
I don't think any of us got a good night's sleep, whether it was on site like our sound crew, hotels or guest houses or home in bed, still buzzing from Saturday, catching up with Facebook and the like and somewhat excited about today, oh well, it's only once a year!

Sunday was all quiet before the festival opened, even the Moorhens came to check us out!

The Arcadeclectic Crew start to assemble

And, here we are, day two, the sun is shining, the big service in St. Mary's Stage has finished, the Samba Drummers have (Thankfully) finished their set, it was good but it was very close by and we we kicked Sundays entertainment off with a couple of the finest acoustic acts:- 

Making real waves in the UK Folk Scene today, the very talented Kelly Oliver (She was dashing off afterwards to perform at the Cambridge Folk Festival.

It was great to have the lovely Laura Victoria (Cello) back with us  again accompanied by Jo
So, Sunday had started off beautifully, sublimely, sedately and it was time to up the tempo somewhat, no finer way to do this than:-

Traitors rocked the place to its foundations with their melodic power rock and managed to blast their way through a 3/4 set in 29 minutes so I just had to get them back for an encore didn't I? I did!

OK, so I don't think anyone had ever heard anything quite like this, the very excellent Maharajah Blues all the way from Wales, yes indeed, real blues and rock and roll with an Indian rhythm section, this is what it's all about.

Mark Astronaut may not have been too pleased that his Restricted Hours set with Alan Cowley clashed with Arthur Brown on the main stage but that really must have helped his angst because this was a consummate set from them proving once again that rock and roll, or even punk n roll is indeed for all ages, bloody fantastic!

It was my real pleasure and privilege to introduce the amazing Matt Stevens here at his very first ROTW performance, it's fair to say he wowed the crowd, again great that he could be here hot foot from his solo performance and with the band The Fierce and the Dead, at Resonance Rock Festival in London. 

What a way to close the proceedings on the Arcadeclectic Stage, authentic rock and roll from the very talented Chevy Heaven, there was indeed a fair bit of dancing going on during their set!

A panoramic view of the crown during Sunday's festivities.

So, we did it, we really did it, Sunday was easily as good as Saturday which meant we'd got through the whole weekend without a hitch, once again I must say that absolutely everyone who performed was absolutely fabulous and did us and themselves proud and I'd also like to say a huge thanks to all our crew, the ROTW organisers, the sponsors and above all the music loving punters who came and watched and sang along and danced to what we had to offer (I hear the rest of the festival was pretty damn good too) so I'll leave you with this gem, well it wouldn't be the Arcadeclectic without something like this would it, this year, for the first time ever, we had our own stage loo!

So, until the next time, have fun, stay safe, enjoy the summer.

Cheers m' dears.

All photographs above, Copyright Grant Meaby,  All rights reserved. 2014

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