28 venues ready for all-genre festival

Danika Holmes, who will perform at various venues around the city
Danika Holmes, who will perform at various venues around the city

Musicians from Italy, Austria, the US and Australia join bands and artists from Lancaster and the rest of the UK in the city’s third all genre music festival next month.

Funk, punk, shanty, rock, acoustic, folk, jazz, pop, indie, choral, electronica and soul will be ringing out in venues and pubs across the city over the weekend of October 14 - 16.

And thousands of people are expected to enjoy the atmosphere and vibrancy built up over the last two years.

Festival organiser Ben Ruth, who is also lead singer in Lancaster band The Convulsions, said the whole kickstart behind the festival was “the phenomenal amount of talented musicians and music lovers in Lancaster”.

Ben has plenty of experience in bringing high quality music to the shores of the UK.

While travelling and making music in the United States, he spent time in Chicago where he set up Chicago Music Explosion (CME) Artist Services, introducing contemporary musical talent to UK pubs and venues.

The agency is now called Contemporary Music Events and Artists Services, and Ben is constantly making sure live music from across the world can be accessed by town and city folk in the UK (Ben’s bringing a Brazilian Bahian band to the Penny Street Bridge in Lancaster at the end of the month, but more on that next week).

Ben said: “Many of last year’s international acts will be back, including Marina Zetl, from Vienna, Marisa Yeaman, from Melbourne, Threefifty Duo, from New York as well as Los Salvadores, from Kent, who are very popular.

“A lot of the bands from last year will be here this year but not next, meaning this will be the last opportunity to catch them in Lancaster for a while.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm here in the city.

“We’ve just finalised the schedule, and have put the finishing touches to the brochures.

“All the venues are pretty excited about it after last year, when many reported it being the busiest weekend of the year, if not the busiest they’ve ever had.

“What we’ve shown is it doesn’t matter what the economy is like, or what is happening in politics, the city can pull together and do this.”

A total of 28 venues and pubs are taking part in this year’s festival, and each will be shown on a map of the city, making navigation a bit easier.

St John’s Church in North Road is also taking part this year, with choral music on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Most of the 200 plus performances are free to see, but there will be a charge at the Park Hotel on Saturday and Sunday, where Barnbox Records have two full days of music.

A day of funk hits the Gregson Centre on the Saturday, from 2pm until late, with four bands and a funk jam in the evening, and this event is also ticketed.

The Bobbin in Cable Street has a full day of rock and metal acts on the Saturday, and there’s plenty of swashbuckling sea shanty fun down at the quayside pubs all weekend.

Music will be prevalent at the other “known and loved” pubs across the city, with plenty of surprises along the way.

It is most certainly evident that a lot of effort has gone into creating a high-quality musical environment in each of these.

The best thing I can do is point you in the direction of www.lancastermusicfestival.co.uk for a full list.

For me, a definite highlight of the weekend, and most certainly a great coup for Lancaster, will be Kirsty Almeida and The Troubadours, scheduled for the Dalton Rooms on the Sunday night.

I first heard Kirsty’s voice on a track called Pickled Spider by Manchester DJ and producer Mr Scruff at his monthly Keep It Unreal DJ residency at Band On The Wall in Manchester.

It was most certainly a spine tingling body shaker, and I later found out he’d sampled her first single Spider.

The vocalist, hailing originally from England but growing up in Gibraltar, leads seven-piece band The Troubadours on a seductive jaunt into jazz, folk and soul.

At the Dukes Theatre, Jah Wobble, founder of legendary punk outfit Public Image Ltd, gives a frank and entertaining account of life in the music business, with his insider view of the beginning of punk rock.

This event is part of the Dukes’ Pub Season, but fits neatly into the midst of the Lancaster Music Festival on Saturday October 15, from 8.30pm.

Tickets for Memoirs of a Geezer are £10/£5 standing.

There will be a brass band playing in Market Square, a mini food festival and food trail around the city, and Mitchells of Lancaster are producing a commemorative festival ale from their recently acquired brewing facilities in York.

Tickets for some of the events are available at Lancaster Visitor Information Centre, but, again, there is a wealth of information at www.lancastermusicfestival.co.uk.