Now in it’s tenth year, Local and Live has grown up from ‘Bandstand 400’ when Paul Dunton hosted a few bands on the Pantiles bandstand to mark the town’s 400th anniversary. Two days in Calverley Grounds, this year with two stages, four nights in The Forum, and a host of fringe venues presenting various events from Saturday lunchtime to Monday night, and over 200 performers, countless volunteers, sound engineers, event managers, food concessions, and the man looking after the portaloos. So, what has the event achieved?
This year it fell during a busy time for me with the ‘day job’, but I had volunteered to look after the Merch desk in The Forum for three nights, as well as run the Local & Live twitter account. Personally, that turned out to be too much of an undertaking, when my car broke down in the rain on Monday, while on the way to work. On any normal day that would have been an evening to curl up at home for the evening, so I was just glad some of my favourite bands were in The Forum that night. Volunteering has it’s own lovely benefits, but it does alter the experience of an event.
Friday night was my night off from Merch selling, but was so tired only went to The Forum for a couple of hours, seeing old favourites Lt. Leek.
Work on Saturday meant I didn’t get out until 6pm, for a wander around Calverley Grounds, The Bedford, and have something to eat before heading to The Forum. It was an evening to stack the merchandise along the back of the table, as increasing numbers of drunk people used the table for glasses, bottles, handbags and bottoms. The joys of a free festival in the park with two bars – everyone is drunk by 8pm and has no care to donate/ buy a CD/ buy a tshirt. A riotous end to the night with The Dirty Pillows though.
Sunday was a chilled afternoon, sitting by ‘the other (Ollie Nicholls) stage’ with friends to see Chris Pope, Lui Dodds and Lily Denning. For those that don’t know, and I feel many don’t, Ollie was a friend of Paul’s who helped at early events, and died, and for those who played on the stage and knew him, I feel it was a special moment.
We then headed back to the hurly-burly of the main stage, where Local and Live photographer Sarah Pook and I were going to meet The Barn photographer and her bridal couple, Linda and Mark on their walk around the park.
The evening at The Forum included lots of friends’ bands, so a sociable event, and much the same on Monday where the audience were definitely more sober than previous evenings.
On Monday I tried to stop by as many of the fringe venues as possible to grab a photo for twitter. The rain on Monday probably helped all the venues be busy, it wasn’t the sort of day you’d have dithered between an ice-cream at the coast or a beer in the pub! Some people seemed to have settled in their favourite pub or cafe for the afternoon, while others were chasing favourite acts about, darting from one venue to the next. I guess on Spotify that would be less exhausting.
So, thinking back on the whole weekend, it seemed a success, given it’s increased size, and hopefully for 2016 will secure a headline sponsor. I leave you with these photos from Michael Houghton to help try and balance the free festival vibe with sponsorship demands
fundraising needs (the signed guitar raffle was just one more thing)
and the enjoyment of audience and performers.
In an age of Spotify, twitter, facebook, websites and apps, traditional fundraising of a table of CDs, brochures and tshirts for sale could be on the way out….