Today is day 1 of the Mill Hill Music Festival. Over the next 8 days, Mill Hill will come alive with an amazing series of concerts at venues all around the town. As part of the festival organising committee, it will be a busy week. My role is to provide the sound systems and logistical backup for the festival. The festival takes place every two years and this is the tenth festival. For the duration of the festival, this blog will become the festival diary. I will record how the festival is going and try an give some idea as to what being part of the team is like. Lets start with a little background. The committee started planning the festival back in September 2012. The first question we always have to answer is whether we actually want the hassle of running the festival. It is a major commitment. The next question, a major problem this year, was whether there were enough suitable venues. Over the last few years, Mill Hill has lost a number of key venue including St Josephs College on Lawrence St (venue for the Irish night), Hartley Hall (Mill Hill Amatuer Dramatic Society), Holcombe House (keynote Jazz night), The Mill (Festival Party Night), The Rose & Crown (Later Events). On top of that, due to exams in the week we chose, the school venues were unavailable.
Having lost so many venues, the challenge was to find some new ones. We were lucky that two excellent venues have opened. We have the stunning, recently rebuilt Trinity Church. We are also lucky to have the new Saracens stadium at Allianz Park. So having identified the venues, we then set about trying to line up an exciting and varied program. I think we've done a great job. This weekend we see three concerts. Today we have the opening concert, featuring the Holbrooke String Quartet at St Pauls church on the Ridgway. Doors open at 7.30pm and there are a few tickets left for the event. Tickets cost £12 and this includes a complimentary glass of wine or soft drink.
At 8pm, down the road at the Adam & Eve pub, we have a great night of blues, rock, pop and soul from The Alan Warner All Stars. Alan is a founder member of the Foundations and a co writer of their mega hit Build me up buttercup. Even better, the gig is free. Weather permitting there will also be a barbeque. This was a very popular night at the last festival, so get there early !
Tomorrow we have the Vo-de-o-do Orchestra at the Rising Sun pub. They are a ten piece Jazz band, playing the hits of the 1920's and the gig is free. Mill Hill has some lovely areas and I'd recommend that the Rising Sun is best sampled after a nice walk across Totteridge Valley, taking in Darlands Lake.
The other events this week are
Tuesday 18th - Opera up Close - Trinity Church - Sold out
Weds 19th - Tina May at the Mill Hill Jazz Club at Mill Hill Golf Club - tickets £15
Thursday 20th - Stewart Curtis K-Groove - Klezmer music - Allianz Park - £10
Friday 21st - The Bateman Brothers Tribute to Louis Armstrong - Jazz - Allianz Park - £15
Saturday 22nd - The Polecats with Loaded Dice - Rock and Roll/Rockabilly - Allianz Park - £15 (£12 in advance)
Try and come along and support the festival if you can. All of the nights promise to be rather special.