26 June 2010

Party on the Lawn 2010 Review

What a fantastic weekend we all had at Party on the Lawn.

To those of you who missed out on tickets, we're so sorry you couldn't share in what turned out to be a day of world class music, lovely weather and a fantastic atmosphere, we could really do with persuading Jo and Rob to knock down a wall or two and extend their beautiful lawn to seat 1000 instead of 600!!

The line-up was, as I said, fantastic with the Carrivick Sisters opening the day with a beautiful set and blowing everyone away with their superb musicianship, especially for ones so young. They were followed by singer-songwriter Steve Tilston; great songs and lovely banter with the audience. He was joined on stage by David Bowie, the Double Bass player in Helen Watson's trio and the musical chemistry between them was magical.

We decided this year to put in some 'Fill-in' slots between acts while the stage was being set. Two of these slots were filled by our host, Jo Selbourne with her guitar accompanist Ian Thompson who proved beyond doubt that they deserve a set in their own right next time around as they not only played a blinder but also went down a storm with the audience. Top marks guys.

Next up was Helen's trio featuring Mark Cresswell along with the aforementioned Mr Bowie. I've seen these guys so many times before but could listen to them all day, they are simply the best and lying in the sun with their music washing over me and Helen wrapping her velvety vocals around Peggy Lee, Bruce Springsteen and Aretha Franklin songs, to name but a few was about as perfect a way to spend an afternoon as I can imagine.

To finish the afternoon session we had Joe Broughton's latest band; Urban Folk Quartet. On the last POtL, Joe introduced us to 'The Folk Ensemble' and I couldn't imagine him topping that particular line-up but boy are UFQ the business. I started this piece by saying the music was world class, well these guys are the epitome of that; incredible musicians, tons of youthful energy and not too bad on the eye either! A really exciting end to the afternoon.

The evening kicked off with another 3 songs from Jo and Ian, maintaining their local heroes status once again and easing us all nicely back in and ready for the next act, Jim Crawford. It was a great delight for Chris and I to bring Jim to POtL and introduce him and his music to so many new fans, he blew us all away with a fantastic set and sold out of CDs within minutes of finishing his spot. To those of you disappointed you couldn't take a CD of his home with you, you can order through his website, as you can all the artists through theirs, follow their links through our POtL website.

Next up were our lovely friends James Fagan and Nancy Kerr who I have to say had to pull out a brilliant set to avoid being upstaged by their baby boy Hamish who we were meeting for the first time. He is truly gorgeous but I have to concede, so are they! Great to have Nancy back playing again after her maternity leave!

The 3rd 'fill-in' slot was very ably filled by Tom Euesden, a young up and coming singer songwriter from York who made a great first impression on the audience. I've known Tom all his life and it's so great to see him confidently taking to the stage and doing his stuff with such energy and originality.

And so then it was our turn! Chris and I have been in the studio for the last 6 weeks making our latest album and we were so lucky at POtL to be joined by the same dream band that had been in the studio with us. On Drums, Bryan Hargreaves has brought a new and exciting vibe to our music and it's been a joy welcoming him into the 'While and Matthews musical family' (you ain't getting away now Bry!). On Bass, Neil Fairclough is a gem both on and off stage, he's the bedrock on which our music sits so comfortably and we can't imagine a band without him in it now. On guitars and all things stringy, our old friend and musician extraordinaire Howard Lees. He has the ability to take your breath away one moment with an exquisite acoustic guitar solo and then in the next song, rip the place apart with a sizzling electric. Although Kellie While escaped the studio this time around there was no escape for her for joining us for the live set and as always she was an invaluable addition to the band on backing vocals. We were also lucky to be joined by Joe Broughton and Paloma Trigas from the UFQ who both played on our new album and set the stage alight when they joined us for half a dozen songs.

We had an absolute ball couldn't believe our eyes when suddenly it was midnight and the whole thing came to a very anthemic end with lots of guests joining us for the last song of the night - 'Freedom Song'.

Can't finish all of this without saying a few thank yous;  first of all to our stage manager, John Benns who always keeps the whole thing running smoothly and calmly. Huge thanks to Richard Harrison who along with M's and Chris put in an amazing sound system and produced the best sound at POtL yet. Thanks too to Tony on Lights and as always Simon our soundman, Jil, our artist liaison, all the volunteers, Dan for being the best right hand man a farmer could wish for.

And finally, huge thanks to Jo and Rob for once again being impeccable hosts and opening their home and grounds to so many happy and grateful people. They put so much into this with such enthusiasm and care, we couldn't ask for better friends and festival partners,

Until the next one, thanks y'all, Julie and Chris