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Thursday, 25 June 2015

RHYTHMS OF THE WORLD ARCADECLECTIC STAGE 2015

The first thing that I'd like to say is a huge and public thank you to Chris Ripple for inviting me to co-host the Arcadeclectic Stage at this year's Rhythms of the World Festival, it was quite amazing.


Once again I had the pleasure of co-hosting the Arcadeclectic Stage at Rhythms of the World Festival in Hitchin on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June 2015.
Set in the beautiful grounds of The Priory in Hitchin, Hertfordshire Rhythms of the World brings us together for a celebration of music and culture from around the world and around the corner and plays host to over 30,000 visitors over the weekend to enjoy the music, dance, poetry, culture, food and a host of family friendly activities.

The Arcadeclectic started life as the old Arcade Stage back in the days when the festival was centred in Hitchin Town, strangely enough, in the arcade! Organised and run by Chris Ripple Arcadeclectic has achieved somewhat of a cult following in its own right irrespective of who may be appearing and has, and continues to be, somewhat anarchic, edgy, non-commercial, sometimes controversial but always different and all the better for it.
Almost anything goes, punk, folk, rock, jazz, blues, poetry, classical, opera, soul, bluegrass, country and Chris has the uncanny ability of booking artists who really could or should be gracing stages much bigger than ours, but that my friends is what it’s all about and what makes it so good to be part of.

I cannot speak for the other stages but on the Arcadeclectic team, apart from Chris’s amazing management, we have one of the best sound and lighting crews around, a great stage and front of house manager, an excellent recording and photographic crew and of course hosts who are 100% behind the ethos of this stage and ROTW in general, in short, we had a blast!

Located in our shady picturesque riverside setting beneath the trees, on Saturday morning after the final tweaks and checks that are always needed and of course the full safety checks we were up and ready to go spot on time.



Saturday 20th June.

Standing in for the injured Alan Cowley (Get well soon Alan) we kicked off with last minute replacement act, St. Clair who did us and himself proud I must say, an excellent performance that attracted our first crowd of the day and had us well and truly ‘open’ for business.

St. Clair
Next up was yours truly, yes me, first poet of the day and that my friends is one of the most difficult slots to fill but I had been promised by several people that they would come on down for my set and bless them, they did.
I was happy with my set and my delivery and judging by the feedback I had on the day and afterwards + several requests for copies of some of the poems I read, they were happy too.

Grant Meaby - Photo Colin Ridgway
Moving swiftly on, Enemies of Promise, from the Black Country, punk with fist in the air anthems with a political sting, they had us leaping about alright.

Enemies of Promise
Next up were Dover Tales, salty nautical stories narrated to a haunting musical backing, different, very entertaining and just the sort of thing the Arcadeclectic is famous for.

Dover Tales
Closer to home, next to grace our stage were Los Astronautas Muertos, led of course by the legendary Mark Astronaut this was a line up featuring Astronauts old and new, past and present that had never played together before and wow, was it good or what!

Los Astronautas Meurtos
What happens when you take a bunch of well established old school political punks and form an acoustic band, you get Steve White and the Protest Family, I love folk/punk especially when it’s done so well and carries some astute observations on life, politics and the state of the nation, which let’s face it is pretty crap, Steve & Co. were anything but, a  brilliant set despite the rain that had now started to fall as if it would never stop!

Steve White and the Protest Family
My fellow presenter, Joy T Chance in her Purple Dread persona was next up with her poignant and moving poems, she deserved a much better crowd than she got, bloody weather, anyway those of us who were there very much enjoyed her set.

Purple Dread
 Along with a bit of a break in the weather we came back after a short break with Smige, now if you’ve never seem Smige before you’ve missed a treat, this guy is amazing, funny, poignant (Yes I know I’ve used that term before and probably will again), ably assisted by Callum on additional guitar Smige treated us to a very entertaining set and started drawing in a reasonable crowd again.

Smige
The evening was drawing in and so were the crowd, no surprise that many came along to see our next act, the ever popular Fishwife’s Broadside, there’s so many of them in this band it’s a wonder we get them all on stage! Sing along rocking folky punk celebrating the triumph of the amateur, the muddy dancing began.

Fishwife's Broadside
All too soon it was time for our headline act, the ever popular Scum of Toytown, back again 20 years on from their debut album ‘Strike’ which established them as one of the UK’s best tuneful and different punk bands, with a melodic mix including elements of reggae and dub they attracted a huge crowd  to our stage and a lot of dancing was done, turning the front stage area into a sort of muddy soup, yeah, we were  a real festival now.

Scum of Toytown
Seriously, as soon as Saturday was done and dusted on our stage we had to start the shut down and make safe for the night activities which takes about an hour, we also reported the state of the front of stage area, not only for obvious health and safety reasons but also very much with limiting ground damage too.

Mud mud inglorious mud

Sunday 21st June

Thankfully it didn’t rain much more overnight and not at all on Sunday which brought us a bright sunny but breezy day so on Sunday morning we called for a formal inspection and were passed off as OK so were ready to rock &  roll at 12 noon on time again but today without Joy who had trapped a nerve in her back and was laid up for the day, big love Joy and wish you well soon.

Kicking us off on Sunday was the amazingly wonderful talented Stuart O’Connor who, despite some technical gremlins at the start of his set got them all sorted with the help of our brilliant sound crew and proceeded to treat us to a truly beautiful and somewhat ethereal set, Sunday was off to a great start.

Stuart O'Connor
Back by popular request we had that truly different and excellent band, Maharaja Blues, yes, true authentic blues played by Indian guys played on the finest ‘Resonator’ guitar I have ever seen and backed by real Indian percussion these guys have to be seen and heard to be believed, I’d have them back again next year too if I had my way.

Maharaja Blues
Next on was you singer Izzy Rowland, Chris and I saw Izzy at Club-85 a few months back and both came to the same conclusion, we wanted her for Arcadeclectic, she has the voice of an angel and despite being very nervous about her 1st big festival appearance she had the support from a lot of her friends and of course us and when she got up there on stage there was no stopping her, impressive or what, as soon as she was spotted by a certain G La Roche,  organiser of the Balstock Festival wanted to know how he could book her for that, we pointed him in the direction of Izzy’s mum & dad and the deal was done, Chris was able to announce it to the world when he brought Izzy off stage, one of those truly beautiful moments.

Izzy Rowland
Next it was time for something very different, Sarah and the Powerpuff Boy, the quirky and highly amusing poetry of our own Sarah Power accompanied by her son Johnathan on electric guitar pushing out some well known power riffs, not only did it work, I have not laughed so much, so long for a very long time and I was not alone, a truly remarkable set.

Sarah and the Powerpuff Boy
Talking of the remarkable, next along was the one and only G La Roche himself, now G really knows how to get a party started and that’s just what he did, we had sing along with Queen, Bob Marley, the biggest conga of the festival, a very entertaining version of Tribute with the help of Owen Stephen and all sorts of things besides, our stage may be the only one that carries a Parental Advisory warning, not without reason, bloody heck did we have fun with G.

G La Roche
Changing the theme and the whole flavour of the day we had South London Techno, Rap Rockers Ubermanouvre on next, they turned things up a notch or ten, a lot of bouncing was going on, a fine set too.

Ubermanouvre
Luke Tuchscherer was on next and not unexpectedly drew in a large but different crowd, Luke's work with his band The Whybirds may be quite well known but he is carving out a very respectable niche as a solo performer these days and he is good, very good, and he gave a truly fabulous performance.

Luke Tuchscherer
Our headliners for Sunday were that lovable bunch of noiseniks from London, The Fierce and the Dead, featuring the one and only Matt Stevens on guitar, now this is instrumental rock like you’ve never heard it before, how the hell can you have instrumental rock that ties in Matt’s looping, Kev’s amazing bass playing with elements of Rock, Prog, Metal, Jazz, Funk etc. They do, it works and that’s why TFATD are so beloved by the Prog, Classic Rock, Rock and Metal fraternity, one of the true cross over bands and we had them on our stage, oh yeah!

The Fierce and the Dead
After it was all over we were somewhat exhausted and. like other years we’ve done this, sadly saw little else of the rest of the festival but by all accounts it was great as usual which is good, so, until we go and do something like this again, it’s goodbye from me, for now, did I mention I’m now straight into running a show for the Stevenage Arts Festival?

Cheers m’ dears.
Grant

2 comments:

  1. Seems to be about right ? Well that's what I remember too so it must be pretty accurate, and YES, we did have a blast.
    Favorite moment ? Quite a lot of them, but watching Izzy 'wow' the crowd has to be up there with the best and being able to tell her that she's just been booked for Balstock. Talent will out, as they say... And we seemed to have a lot of that about over the weekend.

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  2. That indeed was a truly magic moment Chris, one of several throughout the weekend.

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