Friday, 19 August 2011

Takeoff imminent at Kemble airfield!

Thanks to John Wirtz for the latest news on this year's Didmarton Bluegrass Festival (1-4 Sept. 2011) in England:

Not long before the bluegrass event of the year lifts off at Kemble airfield! With another superb lineup and a top-notch show in prospect, there is a real sense of anticipation within the organising team and we are looking forward to helping everybody have a great time at this year’s festival.

The final details are being sorted out, and we’ve had our last planning meeting, and just about everything is set, and we’ve placed our call with those above us to order some friendly weather too! Anyway, just to whet your appetite, here’s a few items of late news.

Bristol-based luthier Phil Davidson has again sponsored the festival and donated a beautiful mandolin which will be offered as a first prize in the annual raffle. Phil has also been involved in the design of a new range of exclusive banjos produced by the Fairfield Banjo Company, a joint venture between Phil, Leon Hunt, and Johnny Whelan of well known band the Buffalo Gals. Hopefully, there will be a demonstration of this fabulous instrument at the festival.

In recognition of Phil’s generosity, the main stage is now called the 'Davidson Stage' and we are all grateful to Phil for his kindness and support. Do call and see his range of instruments in the traders area, he always welcomes folk with a smile!

The OGRI stage has been improved with a wider marquee and a bigger stage to improve the spectacle – better PA and stage lights – and provide the bands with a better performing experience. We hope you like the new setup.

The programmed concert featuring the Scoville Units and Matthew and the Atlas: this concert is separately ticketed and you can buy tickets on the day.

The programme will continue on both stages from Friday lunchtime until Sunday afternoon, with afternoon and evening concerts on both stages. With around thirty-eight bands playing, there will be music for everyone and all tastes! You can check the running order and the band biogs on the bands page of this site.

The British Bluegrass Music Association (BBMA) is dedicated to promoting bluegrass music in the UK and is also active in encouraging people to play the music. The BBMA tuition tent will be in attendance and will be running one-to-one lessons on Friday and Saturday afternoons from their base in the traders area. You can book a lesson at the merchandising tent; and as you will see from the lineup of specially selected musicians below, there are some real good teachers at your disposal. Many of them are regular teachers in their home towns or have taught at Sore Fingers Week, so you are in good hands. And if you don’t yet own an instrument, I understand there is a facility to borrow one! I call that a 'win/win' situation; but don’t hang around, we sold out of lessons at Orwell and we were pretty close to selling out here last year!

BBMA members can book lessons at a discounted rate and here is a list of tutors:
Leon Hunt (banjo); Rex Preston (mandolin); Dan Norton (mandolin/guitar); Gary Payne (guitar/singing); Eleanor Cross (fiddle/double bass); Joe Hymas (mandolin); Laura Carrivick (dobro/fiddle); Charlotte Carrivick (mandolin/guitar); Howard Burton (banjo); Richard Holland (banjo); John Breese (banjo); Keiran Towers (fiddle). Brilliant lineup - almost puts Sore Fingers to shame…

And finally, a few practical notes. The site is open to the public on Wednesday afternoon and the bar will be officially open from Thursday afternoon but may be open earlier. Catering will be open from Thursday night and then throughout. Showers and toilets will be operational from Wednesday and we have also increased the number of chemical disposal tanks for caravaners.

Can’t think of anything else; don’t forget your banjos and fiddles, and see you at Kemble. It’s going to be a blast!