DART MUSIC FESTIVAL – AFTER THE EVENT…
(Please note: We have some great pics on the way from our official photographer Joe Murtagh – watch this space…)
Well, it looks like we did it again! Despite the unpredictable weather, we still had crowds of happy shiny people enjoying the music throughout the town from the very start. We were so lucky to have the use of all the beautiful venues, including the Masonic Hall, the churches, the Flavel, Market Square and of course the Bandstand and Guildhall. With a range of music including Cajun, Indian, Congolese Latin, jazz, rockabilly, blues, Celtic, big band, choral, swing and much more, the town was alive with people loving the music for the whole three days.
Festival Patron Nigel Way comments: “I am a musical moron, but I will say that music is a great leveller and a great breaker down of social barriers. I have never seen so many people happy in the rain, listening to excellent music and consuming alcohol in a sensible way! But can I just say how great the people who organise the Dart Music Festival are – not because many of them are dear friends but because I don’t understand how such a small group can work so hard and be so cheerful and make so many people happy!”
The Bandstand as usual played a very large part of the whole weekend – from the schoolchildren singing their anthem on Friday, to people dancing to Mad Dog McRae last thing on Sunday night – and of course the wonderful Ruby Turner filling the late afternoon Sunday slot. Once again, she wowed the crowds and there were more than a few people – even men! – to be seen wiping away a tear after her rendition of the late Etta James’ classic ‘I would Rather Go Blind’.
This year the Guildhall proved very popular, hosting band after brilliant band throughout the whole weekend and most of the performances were full to capacity. We opened and closed the weekend with talented performances from our own local youngsters Michael Bryan-Harris (Raspberry Fish – Friday) and Ben Malley (Insonify – Sunday) which got us off to a good start and finished with a feel-good factor. It would be difficult to choose a favourite from all the many acts, but highlights were Cajun music from The Gumbo Flyers, tuneful folk from The Carrivick Sisters, wonderful barbershop harmonies from the Kingsmen and some great rock ‘n’ roll from both Lucky Guy and the Chancers and The Fabulous59ford.
The Flavel too was busy with the Friday Jazz night with the Martin Dale Quartet, and visitors tell me that the Saturday evening with composer Stephen Warbeck was ‘brilliant – and SO interesting!’ and with fantastic music to boot.
Classical Director Marilyn Bird had this to say: “There have already been e mails from the performers in St Saviours Church thanking us for inviting them to take part in the Festival. The Vocal Works Gospel Choir commented that it was the most enjoyable concert that they had done for a long time, and the amazing Gypsy Tango Band Zum finished with a standing ovation. Words like ‘amazing’, ‘fantastic’ and ‘exceptional’ just keep flowing – what more could we ask!
Dartmouth Academy hosted a Bhangra workshop from RSVP Bhangra Band for 11 – 12 year olds which the students loved and the teachers were very impressed by. The children were introduced to the background and three elements of Bhangra – singing, dance and percussion, and worked with the Band all morning, culminating in a performance on the Bandstand in the afternoon which was hugely enjoyed by all. Our thanks go to Dartmouth Rotary who gave a donation towards the funding of this workshop, and it is hoped that the band may be able to return next year.
This year we had wristbands for each day of the Festival on sale at just £5 per day – making it an average of 10p a gig – which sold faster than hot cakes and were very popular with visitors, who wore their wristbands with pride and told us it made them feel more involved. We will definitely be selling them again next year.
This year for the first time we produced a sampler CD costing just £5.00, with twenty three great tracks donated by some of the performers and all proceeds going towards the Festival. The CD is a limited edition and is designed to look like a vinyl record – what a great way to take home some lovely musical memories! If you missed your copy, you can buy a download from our website: www.dartmusicfestival.co.uk
A very big thank you as always to our generous sponsors – couldn’t do it without you and of course all our volunteer collectors who swing into action throughout the weekend. We haven’t started opening the collecting tins yet, but all the signs are that this will be another great year for the Festival – in fact, who knows? We may even be able do it again next year…
And finally, a quote from one of those sponsors:
“Oh my goodness! That was the most brilliant weekend. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. YOU ALL ROCK!”
Rather apt, we thought…
If you came to the Festival, please tell us what you enjoyed the most and/or what made the Festival for you – we’d love to hear from you.
See you again next year – Festival dates for 2014 are 16th, 17th and 18th May.