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Devon Youth Brass Band
Devon Youth Brass Band
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Dart Music Festival 2013
As ever the Dart Music Festival is promising to be the best weekend of the year! So what are the headline grabbers and who are going to be the best bands to seek out as you make your way through the unbelievably varied programme?
Well, for headliners they surely don’t come any bigger than the inimitable Ruby Turner – who, I have it on good authority, made grown men cry at her last appearance at the DMF. She appears on the bandstand on the Sunday in the ‘fast becoming legendary’ slot of 5pm-7pm. As if that weren’t enough excitement for Sunday Ms Turner will be followed by the frenetic sounds of Mad Dog McRae, longtime favourites of DMF crowds and a truly fitting way to close the festival.
Other definite highlights will be RSVP Bhangra getting even the most dour Dartmouthian up dancing. As if that weren’t enough to get the blood pumping why not check out Drum Crazy, a fabulous workshop for all budding drummers to be held in the Flavel on Saturday afternoon.
Last festival, I missed what was dubbed ‘the gig of the festival’ when I didn’t manage to catch the Moscow Drug Club, a mistake I shall certainly be rectifying this year when they appear on the bandstand on Sunday afternoon.
Lovers of classical or choral music won’t be disappointed either – the team behind the concerts at St. Saviours Church have excelled themselves again with one of their best line ups yet. This includes Duo Dorado a beautiful violin and harpsichord duo who play 17th and 18th century music and the Vocal Works Gospel Choir who have recorded with the likes of Peter Gabriel and Brian May. You will want to arrive early on Saturday evening at the church to make sure you get one of the, surely much coveted, seats for gypsy tango band Zum, favourites of Ronnie Scott’s audiences and guaranteed to be a huge hit with DMF audiences too.
One of the tougher decisions for visitors to the festival is which venue is the best place to see bands. They all have their merits but surely Bayards Cove Fort must be among the best places in the world to watch live music? I for one can’t think of anything nicer than kicking back in the beautiful old fort with the seagulls crying overhead while you watch some of the brilliant line up of folk music the DMF committee have lined up for us. This includes acoustic 4 piece Kola and beautiful solo balladeer Nuala Honan. I suspect the line up at the fort will keep quite a few people glued to their seats for hours at a time.
Now, do you know who Stephen Warbeck is? I must confess that I didn’t but now he is definitely in my ‘not to be missed’ category. He is a film score composer who won an Academy Award for his score for Shakespeare in Love and composed for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Billy Elliot among others. The opportunity to join him at the Flavel and hear him talk about this amazing career and hear some of the music played by his invited musicians seems almost too good to be true.
When I was chatting to my dad about the festival – he always come all the way from Portugal for it – he said that the best thing about the weekend is that you can stroll off around any part of the town and there is great music being played and very often the best gig you will see is one you stumble across by chance. So make sure you visit the pubs, hotels, churches, halls and other venues and just see what you can find. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the library is even hosting a gig this year? The Bookshop Band write songs about books then play them in bookshops (or in this case libraries), often in front of the authors.
Homegrown talent is out in force at the festival. Mark Ely plays at Browns Hotel, The Nauti Buoys, our very own sea shanty singers, are at Castle Tea Rooms & The Dartmouth Yacht Club, Antonia Sunyer is at Bayards Cove Inn and Jazz Trilogy (made up of Mike Jones, James Harris and Sid Davis) will be at the Royal Castle Hotel. For many people the Music Festival starts with local rockers Sax Appeal in the Market Square on Friday afternoon and this year is no exception, always the perfect way to get the party started.
I should mention here that for the first year ever every single gig at the festival is completely free of charge so don’t be stingy when you see the collecting buckets being jangled by stalwart DMF volunteers.
I have only been able to mention a very few of the bands, choirs, soloists, musicians, percussionists and general all round talented people that we can all look forward to seeing this year. One thing I can promise you though, it doesn’t matter what you plan to see or where you plan to go, there will be more than enough fantastic music to keep everyone entertained and no matter what sort of music you like the Dart Music Festival committee have got it covered!
So I wish everyone a brilliant music festival and if you happen to see me dancing......try not to laugh!
First published May/June 2013 By The Dart