July 11, 2008

Creative Partnership Boosts Great Entertainment Line-Up

The tenth Keynsham Music Festival took place on Sunday and was as successful as ever, with a variety of music and performances taking place on four stages.

This was the first time the Keynsham Music Festival had a substantial pre-festival programme, running from July 1 in local venues, which was made possible thanks to a creative partnership between the festival, More to Life and FairTrade.

On Thursday July 3, the classical and romantic guitar with Cephalonian guitarist Spyros Dendrinos at the Baptist Church was very popular, as was the evening with Gareth Davies Jones, where he performed an evening of acoustic songs under the banner of Faith, Folk & Fairtrade.

From the big issues to the mundane, he performs and entertains in the folk/acoustic tradition as well as using his music to support various organisations fighting for social justice such as Traidcraft, Asylum Aid and Casas Alianza.

The pre-festival programme culminated in a free gala evening in the park and, despite the horrendous weather and torrential rain, visitors still attended the event and the night was a huge success.

The main festival took place on Sunday in the Memorial Park and between 6,000 and 7,000 people attended, despite the bad weather. The sun did appear on occasions which ensured people continued to arrive throughout the day. Although wellies and umbrellas were popular attire, festival-goers continued to have a good time, taking shelter in the food arena when the heavens opened.

The huge food arena was a great success with visitors able to enjoy an array of food including Indian and Jamaican dishes, hog roast, crepes, organic farm burgers and tea, coffee and cakes.

Wherever possible, local and fair trade produce was used and the Ale Bar served only local cider and real ale from the Bath and Somerset area, to support and emphasise this year's theme of Local and Fair.

The Main Stage line-up included Bristol blues band Mean Red Spiders, the unique style and energy of Bizali, the soulful and raw delivery of FairTrade Diva Danelle Harvey, afro-beat Helele, high energy gypsy swing band the Mandibles, seven-piece blues and funk outfit and stars of television hit Skins, The Hats, and local nutty boys, One Step Below.

The FairTrade River Stage offered a selection of smooth relaxed sounds including West African musician Mac Seca, classy and sophisticated Eileen Johanna singing favourite jazz classics, beautiful acoustic pop songs with Sally Anne Langton, and the crafted melodies of one of the regions finest singer songwriters Jon Sinnott.

Visitors who like it a bit more high voltage, headed for the TimeOut Stage with a line-up including Keynsham pop punk quartet Blackchalk, soulful voodoo blues from Jamileh Lee, big songs and loud guitars from The Operation and Se Fire.

For youngsters there were workshops in pottery, stone carving, printing, willow sculpture site decoration, and a Mad Hatter's tea party with some of Bristol and Bath's best festival artists and despite the rain, all the kids had a great time.

With only three bands cancelling, and fantastic last- minute booking The Vault able to step in, performers and visitors alike had a fantastic day.

The residents came out in force to support this local event that grows in popularity every year and are no doubt looking forward to next year's event already.

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