If you needed proof this was a city that knew how to pull together for a common cause, Lancaster Music Festival would be it.
For three days over the weekend, pubs, venues, restaurants, cafes, shops, museums and even a church came together to host more than 100 bands, singers and artists resulting in a fantastic festival atmosphere.
And the audience wasn’t half bad either.
Our weekend started with a treasure hunt with the kids at the Maritime Musuem on St George’s Quay on Saturday lunchtime.
Jolly Jack Tar shared some piratey banter with our son Will, who completed the treasure hunt and was awarded with a Spanish gold dubloon, much to his delight.
We then headed over to the funk jam at The Lord Ashton in North Road, which is quickly making a name for itself as a quality music venue.
Landlord Mark Cutter was also responsible for the gigs at St John’s Church, which went down a storm.
Australian six-piece funk, reggae and dub outfit Kindread had a large crowd dancing in the pews and the aisles, helped along I’m sure by the excellent selection of American bottled ales on sale in the church.
Mark also took the plunge with the 24 hour licence in the Robert Gillow, with impromptu performances taking place at all hours of the day and night.
Molly Warburton delighted a packed John O’Gaunt with her voice on Saturday afternoon, and the audience at Atticus Accordions in China Street was spilling out of the door for Icepops for Breakfast.
Graham Mumford and Helen Kelly pulled off some great covers at the Penny Bank later on that afternoon, while Kismet pulled out all the stops with a high energy hard rock set to bring in the evening.
Kindread really were fantastic at St John’s Church, and were probably my highlight of the weekend. This is a great venue for music.
Baksheesh at The Stonewell Tavern then rounded off Saturday night for us with a great fun and danceable set.
Shaking off Saturday night’s haze, we headed down to the Dalton Rooms on Sunday afternoon, and caught another show from Kindread, followed by a headline performance by The Lancashire Hotpots.
As always, great fun, singalong stuff with the obligatory Conga snaking its way out of the performance space at the bottom of the bar, up the steps and back in through another door.
Intent on food, we headed to Go! Burrito via the Penny Street Bridge, and were not disappointed by the detour.
The Convulsions were bringing their set to a big close, and frontman Ben Ruth, organiser of the music festival, was on top form, playing harmonica and singing from on top of the bar.
Daring and a joy to watch, and why not? It’s instances like this that turn a gig into a happening.
Flagging a bit we took a fuel stop at Go! Burrito, enjoying the atmosphere and music in the new bar upstairs, before heading down to The Bobbin to see Marble Oscar.
Idol Minds at The Merchants provided the penultimate show of the night and given their excellent previous performances, Kindread closed my Lancaster Music Festival experience at The Penny Bank.
This fourth edition of the festival was easily the best one yet, with more venues, more and better bands, brilliant atmosphere, and a real sense of pride in the achievement.
Lancaster 2012 is surely at a peak with regards its music and entertainment offering, and it’s a real pleasure to live in this district with all this going on.