Sunday, 6 February 2011
792 THE SWINDON BIG ARTS DAY, Lydiard Park, Swindon, Saturday 10 July 2010
A day-long outdoor free Festival of local Music and Arts in Swindon - the first of its' kind on this scale in my memory - and I nearly missed it! Thankfully Evan had a party of his own to go to, so cried off a scheduled day visit. Thus I was able to accompany Kasey to her first ever "gig"! It appeared Radio 1's "Big Weekend", held at Lydiard last year, gave impetus for a celebration of the local Music and Arts Scene to be organised, so we drove over in baking sunshine and some welcome cooler cloud cover at 1, wandering into the far field where a smattering of performance tents, stalls and suchlike greeted us. Logan dragged Rachel to the "Dance Tent" (strange boy) and the Circus Skills tent, while I took Kasey over to the "Sugarhill Stage" (a small marquee facing the open field) to check out SLEEPING WITH GIANTS, along with a few dozen other early arrivals. A young lot, they played some pretty 80's style pop/rock, occasionally also Killers-esque when more upbeat, and created a favourable impression.
Ran into Tim who was expecting to perform next up, but ZOIDBERG took the stage instead! It appeared the stage was already running 45 minutes late, which irked Tim and crew somewhat. But hey, teething problems are to be expected, I guess, at the first attempt at this type of event. Zoidberg were Reef-like in their rawk posturing, with a clumsy Beatles "Come Together" cover; not my cup of tea, so we took a wander, running into Asa for a nice chat, and also Andy and Sam!
Back over for THE SHUDDERS at 3. They played a jolly set of their "Pirate Folk"; a combination of easy, laid-back melody, some very familiar sing-along tunes in the jaunty "River Song" and "Dog You Can Kick", plus a couple of very good newies in "Express Man", an alt-country strumalong which saw Tim don a ukulele, and "Shame On You", which had a slow-burn US Alt-Rock feel to it, more reminiscent of Tim's former charges You Are Here! A shame the set was technically beset - Danny's acoustic sounded glaring and dreadful during one early number, and "Shame On You" took 2 goes to do - as this was a fitting set for a lazy Summer vibe. Kasey and Logan both loved it, both dancing down the front for a few numbers. Chips off the old block!
Chatted with the boys afterwards whilst INTERLIGHT kicked off a competent covers set with the Arctic Monkeys "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor", then wandered around looking for Andy and Sam again, eventually finding them plus friends in the very busy main field in front of Lydiard House, via of course the Beatbullyz bouncy castle, next to the main stage, for Logan! Chilled and had impromptu hot dog tea in the late afternoon sun, while former Brunel DJ Sandy Martin (a man I'd hassled to play Adam And The Antz in the Brunel main hall some 30 years previously!) buzzed around getting vox pops on the day for BBC Wiltshire from me, Andy and Sam. It's been welcome, hope they repeat it! This sentiment was repeated by Sean of BUSWELL ("this should be an annual event, would you not agree?"), as they kicked off the evening's proceedings with their string based mood music. However languid and mellow this vibe was, however, our kids were getting tired and fractious so we had to leave. Had to go via the balloon stand, as the dog balloon Andy bought for Logan earlier had slipped off his wrist, teaching me a) a new definition of heartbreak as Logan howled as it evaded his grasp, and b) that a shoelace knot won't keep a helium balloon attached to a child! Still, Logan got a dinosaur replacement which comforted him, so the day ended a success for us - and hopefully for everyone. A few teething troubles, as one would expect, but a fun and very well attended Big Arts Day for Kasey's first gig - hopefully the first of many!