All smiles in Thorne and Warsop..
Well there was certainly plenty to smile about this weekend for the inaugural Something To Smile About festival up in Thorne near Doncaster. Before we even contemplated that I picked up an exciting email from the BBC that they were going to play Ruby Bridges that evening too – which of course is to be released as a digital single on Monday 8th June, so get your download fingers ready from tomorrow, folks.
I’ve since managed to get the broadcast ripped courtesy of the listen again link, so hopefully the magical Soundcloud embedding wizard will have worked so that you can listen to it below if you didn’t manage to catch it live. I’m sure you’ll agree, technical wibble aside where a BBC jingle interrupts the intro, it’s a going to go down a storm when it’s released tomorrow so make sure you get it downloaded and see if we can’t get it somewhere in a chart.
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But anyway, Something To Smile About was set up by Becky and Pete to raise money for a number of excellent charities – with not only a fine array of talent to entertain the crowd we were also treated to a splendid selection of ales, ciders, meads and food – which I probably sampled a few too many of judging by the day long hangover I’ve been nursing since. It was certainly worth it though, a cracking day and a huge success – already looking forward to next year!
First order of business for me was to get to a nearby activity centre a few miles away – this was where the cycle ride to raise money for the Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund was due to finish, I was staying over there and heading to the festival with the intrepid cyclists. If you haven’t already then drop them some sponsorship for their Herculean efforts – particularly considering Kenny and Scott had a gig to play at the end of the first leg!
Once the bikers were all back and showered and changed it was a minibus to the festival and straight onto the beer tent and over to the second stage in time to see Brad Dear starting off proceedings where he did a cracking solo set. As well as musical acts there were fire artists, stilt walkers, drumming workshops – loads of stuff going off. I must admit a combination of nattering to too many people and drinking too much has rendered me a little forgetful as to exactly what I saw.
I think that’s a good thing – but certainly I recall some rip-roaringly good performances from Parson’s Lot, Funke and the Two Tone Baby, Land of the Giants, and I’m sure plenty of others. It was of course Ferocious Dog that was the main lure for me, they had a stage slot of 7pm as originally they were booked as the three piece – slightly early, but time to get pretty leathered and good for the band as they got some time post-gig for a few beers too.
Something new for me was Paul’s amazing innovation in camera use – he’d got the world’s biggest selfie-stick – or rather, an everyone-elsie-stick which was essentially a big clothesline prop with a GoPro mounted on the end. It was an intriguing concept and once I saw it hovering ominously above me a few times in the moshpit I was intrigued to see the outcome of the shots – you’ll see them dotted around this post as he’s kindly given me permission to share them.
So, Ferocious Dog hit the stage and the stage area got suitably full – there were a lot of FD fans in the crowd judging by the t-shirts, those who weren’t surely are now. Les was back in the fold on guitar, and Scott managed to get his saddle-pummeled derriere onto his drumming stool – the sound quality was great, although poor John didn’t have a monitor so was having to be pretty observant – with it not being a deep stage they had to spread out a bit around the drum kit in the middle.
Not that this impacted the performance – it was cracking. A first mosh on grass of the year which is always a bit more forgiving of tumbles, and there were plenty of those for yours truly and everyone else! I seem to have some kind of niggly shoulder injury as a result, but I’m sure it will have righted itself in time for Evesham on Thursday. Ha.
Dean took surfing duties and I must say that I’ve rarely felt more stable as surfboard – so kudos to the supporting Hell Hounds beneath me, if you’ve seen the video knocking around on Facebook of Dean’s performance it was certainly a good one! And well, what more can I say about the photos that Paul managed to capture of it with his magic pole? Hopefully we see more of the everyone-elsie-stick at gigs as it really does give an intriguing new angle!
With the set over in what seemed like the blink of an eye (either that or the ale, cider and mead I’d been quaffing all afternoon is blurring my memory a tad) the band had the chance to get out in the crowd ready to enjoy the acts that followed. I remember enjoying ’em, and very little else – it’s not easy to follow Ferocious Dog as I’ve seen before, but Funke is an energetic and engaging performer so he managed it and then the night was closed off by the excellent Land of the Giants.
A splendid and well organised day raising vital funds for some great causes – well done to Becky and Pete and all of their excellent volunteers for the day. I’m already looking forward to next year’s do. All that remained for us was to minibus back to our hostel – a few more cheeky drinks in the common room and eventually managed to clamber onto the top bunk bed which seemed like a good idea pre-drink! When I woke up my pyjamas were inside out and back to front – ha!
It could’ve been worse though – Scott managed to lock himself out the room and failed dismally to rouse us from our slumbers so ended up dragging a mattress from another room into the corridor to sleep – oops! There were plenty of sore heads in the morning, not least mine. Breakfast seemed to be of the kill rather than cure variant for me on this occasion – but at least I didn’t have to get on a bike I suppose!
The cyclists all kitted up and set off back to Warsop – leaving us to have an easier time in the car. In my case dropping Naomi off back at the festival site for her car before having a slow wimble to Warsop via a long contemplative stop at a service station for a coffee – I was pondering going home and driving back up but if I had I don’t think I’d have made it back to Warsop so I’m glad I didn’t and toughed out the day!
Karen had organised a fun day at The Gate Inn, upon arriving Brad and Pete were setting up a stage area and people were starting to arrive – all the cyclists were cheered back into the site then the music started in earnest, culminating with a set from Ken and Dan in the guise of Ferocious Dog 2 piece acoustic – putting a perfect end to a splendid weekend and giving me to get home in time to chill out before the working week commences.
Hopefully plenty of money was raised for Lee’s fund and well, I know that everyone had a good time – even through my still slightly hungover fug I had a great time nattering with folk and watching some cracking performances from the musicians who kindly donated their time and talent for the day. A beautiful weekend with far too many wonderful friends to mention individually, but a final word for Andy just because of this charming picture of him as he arrived back in Warsop on his bike.