FRIDAY 26th May
18th Black Horse Music Festival got off to a wonderful start at Telham on
Friday on time on the 26th of in spite of a week's torrential rain. The huge
crowd were snug in a dry marquee listening to some great music. They were
packed in and were enthralled by the master of the wailing blues guitar, Rob
Tognoni. This was not a time to miss the first support act. He was magnificent
and had the crowd cheering and yelling for more but this was a night packed
with good music and no time for encores no matter how much the demanding throng
yelled and whistled for more.
Nelson King and his band overcame their disappointment and soon
they tuned into his brand of blues. The fact he sold many CDs to new fans
speaks volumes. Following a short break, legends of a British Rock n Roll era
entered the evening's evolving memories with a formidable 90 minute set of
rapidly performed songs delivered with a minimum of fuss and a maximum amount
of outrageous impact. Exactly what you would expect from The Wilko Johnson
band. The trio were tight and confident with wonderfully justifiable arrogance.
The moves, shuffle and strummed licks were still in Wilko's armoury. Norman
Watt Roy on bass writhed out the beat and sweated gallons, nobody puts more
into a performance. Monti on drums smiled, at the back, as together they
enthralled the large crowd. He smiled as much as the other two grimaced, but
then, like the paying customers he could see every move of the pair of
musicians with him. They have been performing together for 18 years; plenty of
time for Wilko to develop his shuffle and Norman to refine his eel-like
writhing. All three were once " Blockheads". It is no wonder they are so tight.
Almost five hours of music came to an end and we went home on
the "free" bus to Battle Station and then on via British Rail's late trains
anticipating an exciting day of folk and Glenn Tilbrook & The Fluffers on
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SATURDAY 27th May
second day at "the biggest little festival in Britain" saw ten acts on the main
stage and half a dozen acts elsewhere plus numerous acts of consideration due
to some appalling weather. Thanks to every one. No cars at any time were stuck
in the mud, as they were at nearby events. At times the festival's surrounding
area was a scene from the opening of a Charles Dickens's novel, all murky mist
and gloomy shadows. However Pip and Ian and Jo were in the bright lights of the
stage as the festival got off on time with an afternoon of varied folk music.
Great Escape, Paul & Jo then Hettie Dengate played to the crowd, dry if not
warm, in the marquee. They had the audience "warmed up" by the time Ron Trueman
Border sang his powerful self- penned songs. Emma Heath has a powerful
evocative voice and with dramatic percussive embellishments from her partner,
Mark Davies, the Shropshire based duo wowed new fans. Meanwhile others in the
pub enjoyed The Acoustic Astronauts (who were not literally acoustic) , The
Flying Chaucers, a balalaika band and other musicians.
kids enjoyed Punch and Judy, some amazing stories delivered dramatically by Ben
Fairlight and balloons, hundreds of balloons, face painting and juggling.
Mountain Firework Company filled the main stage and with double bass, banjo,
mandolin, guitars, fiddle, harmonica and drums, the six piece outfit brought
back-porch, down home, gentle country folk to an audience who were not aware of
the cloud that had descended outside.
Willy Barrett and Sleeping Dogz closed the afternoon with great skill and
humour, I saw people crying with laughter. The four CD's he brought to sell
were quickly snapped up as a souvenir of an afternoon of over four hours of
music. Meanwhile the music continued with a great session in the bar of the
Black Horse. They were still playing as bands sound checked in the huge marquee
for an evening that was to be a delight.
singer songwriter, Tim Hoyte in the centre of the big stage held the audience.
Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies played a fine set. His songs are heard in folk
clubs every week in every town in Britain. It was good to hear them from the
man who created them.
Tilbrook & The Fluffers sang some "Squeeze" songs and some new songs and
performed some acrobatics that brought their "show" to a climax in a crescendo
of applause with the crowd still wanting more. They had seen Glen Tilbrook
'swilling lager from a can' having as much fun as festival goers - all singing
favourites "Pulling Muscles from a Shell", and "Up the Junction". The band
formed a human pyramid while still performing as they played the obligatory and
expected encore. As the band left the stage laughing, one of their crew said to
Glenn "You're making it up as you go along". It had been a spontaneous set of
outrageous fun. It had not actually rained all day and the forecast for
tomorrow is "Sunshine" Hooray!!
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SUNDAY 28th May
prayers have been answered - it is not raining. In fact the sun is shining.
Today festival goers enjoyed an afternoon of world music. Trevor
Watts, a saxophonist and one of the pioneers of progressive jazz teamed up with
percussionist Jamie Harris for their last performance before returning to
Mexico for more dates. Their set had influences from around the globe. Their
music was jazz based and as more rhythmic overtones were introduced the
audience swayed then danced to Jamie's beat.
Meanwhile, Hohoza from Zimbabwe should have been holding a
workshop but were stuck in traffic on the M25. They arrived in time to take to
the stage in keeping with the festival's schedule and the marquee throbbed to
the beat of their songs. The dancing queens danced as did the audience who
laughed with them at some of the band's antics, performed to a song regarding
the mating of the birds in the trees at spring time.
Emma and The Professor entertained many people at their work
shop and an impromptu performance in the bar throughout the afternoon. Hohodza
gave their workshop to a packed house in one of the festival's smaller marquees
after their set. Ben Fairlight captivated the minds of children with his
performed stories during the afternoon and the sunshine warmed everyone. This
was a day any festival goer would appreciate.
evening's bands were all greeted and sound checked during the small amount of
time between sessions before Tabs Acoustic walked onto the big stage in front
of a full marquee. These fine musicians, guitarist Roger Flack, violinist Gary
Blakeley and bass player Roger Carey played a perfect set to get this diverse "
Celtic" night on its path of excellence. Gary's playing has been praised by
Peter Knight of Steeleye Span, Barry Dransfield and every other lover of fiddle
playing, with an ear for great technique, confidence and creative flair.
Qualities in abundance possessed by the two Rogers also. The tent was full at
the start of the evening because nobody wanted to miss this set of tunes and
Shooglenifty, a Scots band with members from Australia, then
played their arrangements of foot tapping tunes that had the fans cheering. The
band has evolved into a tight outfit of musicians with a huge following.
lights came up on 'Goth' looking Blue Horses and the drums were pounded as
guitar riffs worked an expectant audience nearly into a frenzy before petite
Celtic charmer and Welsh "loverrly" Liz Prendergast, sang, charmed the fans
with her Welsh accent and wowed them with some high energy fiddle and guitar
playing. How they cheered when she played a wired, electric, Celtic harp. The
stage was filled with light as they turned up the adrenalin for an audience
that had enjoyed authentic Celtic music and were now confronted by a "rock
band" who played the approved instruments for the genre, but had broken away
from any restriction of tradition and firmly slammed the door behind them. They
were free to take the music down any 'rocky' path they cared to choose. Our
audience went with them and once again a day at the festival had pleased many
of the bands won tonight - and so had the people at day three of The Black
Horse Music Festival 2006.
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MONDAY 29th May
Four - The final countdown in the final downpour!
This year's crop of young indie bands selected to perform Bank
Holiday Monday afternoon, the last afternoon with a chance of enjoying the
final throes of May, before June and summer arrive, were greeted at the
festival site by a torrential downpour on a very wet day for an area declared
to be having a "drought". The anticipation was greater than the precipitation.
This area is flooded with talented and creative musicians. To our surprise and
relief the rain stopped.
very new band, Angie's Variables, described as " a five piece pop punk band"
played their youthful set, that had that recently created, un-over-worked
quality that is fresh but not under rehearsed to an audience of hundreds that
would have been greater had only the weather been fair. They are a product of
the local RHYTHMIX project and are not the first very young band encouraged by
them to grace the Monday afternoon session of The Black Horse Music Festival.
Fleeing From Finales and Fracture followed. FFF is a formidable
band from Bexhill. If you met Sam Little in the street you would not think
"potential pop star" but see him on stage and he has charisma and talent. He is
the band's keyboard player and lead singer and his passion for what he does
shines with a warmth like the sunshine we craved. The band is a unit and they
put in a good united performance. The rain stopped before Eastbourne's Fracture
closed the first half of the afternoon with a tight set of songs with melody
and well worked arrangements. These boys are going places. That's true. They
are getting bookings galore and had to rush off to another gig this evening for
another lucky audience fifty miles away. The Red Shift played interesting,
amusing Pop that owes a lot to rude boy aggression and the resurgence of ska's
influence in a current trend.
Signed band, Noxious played out the afternoon and nobody left
the marquee even when white clouds and blue sky allowed the sun through. The
variety of weather this afternoon was as great as the variety of music played.
It was the conversation subject, stealing the attention away from some great
bands. No wonder other nations laugh at our fixation with our climate. Well
they don't have to live with it!
Tonight party goers wanting a good time filled a packed marquee. They came to
celebrate the festival's final fun filled evening at this year's farewell party
even though there is not even a hint today that this year may be our
The Rhythm Doctors played many familiar songs and rock anthems. The throng sang
and danced along. Tall, lean, Ian in his white suit towered above those
partying in front of the stage and had the attention of all as they sang with
him. The band played like it was the end of a great evening not the beginning.
Julian Dunkley then took us on a journey through the selection of a
well-stacked sixties' jukebox and only had time to give us a small sample of
the Tar Babies repertoire in the hour the next band had on stage. They
reproduced the authentic sound of an era of pop that changed the music we hear
every day from orchestras and bands to groups.
evening closed to the authentic sound of The sensational sixties Foundations.
They sang their hits Build Me Up Buttercup, In The Bad Bad Old Days and others,
including Baby, Now That I've Found You. That was their biggest British hit and
was in the charts for sixteen weeks in 1967, their only single to reach that
coveted number one spot. Build Me Up
only got to second spot over here
but has sold millions of copies worldwide. The crowd that had braved the
weather loved what the band was doing on stage and the band loved our crowd,
arms swaying, and singing along below them. The perfect combination to get the
best from musicians.
IT WAS A PARTY TO REMEMBER and a festival to cherish.
you all here at the same time, same place next year. Friday May 25th, Saturday
May 26th, Sunday May 27th and Bank Holiday Monday May 28th 2007.
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