Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Mill Hill Music Festival diary - Day 2

For those of you who don't know, I am on the organising committee of the Mill Hill Music Festival, which is taking place this week. For the duration of the festival, this blog becomes my festival diary. The festival is run by a group of volunteer helpers on a not for profit basis. The purpose is to promote live music in Mill Hill.

So here we are at the end of day 2 (as far as the festival is concerned). Yesterday we had two events, the Holbrooke String Quartet at St Pauls and The Alan Warner All Stars at the Adam and Eve. Due to my inability to bi-locate, I was unable to attend the Holbrooke Quartet. My good lady (also a committee member) attended this event and said it went really well. The band were excellent and the music was well received.

My day. Well it started with my boy attending a trial for Watling Youth FC at the London Academy. My son has played for the team for the last six years. Recently new coaches have been appointed and the club is being restructured. I enjoyed the three hour session and it was great to see a group of around 20 boys being put through their paces. The facilities at the London Academy are excellent. It is great to see how one of Barnets formerly more run down schools has been transformed. After the session, I went to work at Mill Hill Music Complex, Saturday afternoon is a busy time. We have drama and singing, which brings lots of young people into the studios. It is pretty full on. I was also preparing for the week, as I'll be busy with the Music Festival. I had to pack up our lighting kit and then take it to the Adam & Eve for 6pm. I arrived to find the pub nearly empty. The management have not seen a festival night before and were a  tad apprehensive as to how the evening would go. Due to the weather, the plan for Alan Warner to play outside was dropped and space cleared indoors. I set up the lights and had a beer whilst waiting for the band - the calm before the storm.

Around 7pm Alan Warner and the boys arrived. Alan is an old friend of mine. He is perhaps the best guitarist I know. As a founder member of the Foundations, he has been around a long time, but still loves music and guitars. It is always a joy to hear him play.
By 8.30 pm when Al kicked off his first set, the pub was heaving with people. Many had driven miles to see Alan in action. His set was the usual eclectic mix of his favourite songs. For me the highlight of the first set was "Sweet Home Alabama". Many bands cover the song, but few do it justice. Alan certainly does.

At pub gigs, the pub covers the band cost. The festival hold a raffle to cover our costs. It was clear how the crowd react to the band by the monet raised. The raffle was a big success, thanks to the hard work of Jenni Bond, who takes responsibility. My job was simple, provide the lights,MC the show and make sure things ran smoothly. They did. By the end of the evening, the pub was rocking. Al blasted out all manner of hits, another highlight being Sultans of Swing, and a whole selection of excellent blues numbers. A great way to start the festival. We got home around 1am.

We had an early start today at the Rising Sun. At 10am I had to collect 10 white chairs from the studio and then help Gerry & Dan build Gazebos, ably assisted by Jenni & Clare. Due to the weather we also leant the pub a gazebo. All was built in time for the crowds. The weather started to threaten, with a very mild drizzle for the first half of the set, lightening up later. The Vo De O Do orchestra play 1920's jazz and ragtime. The band were very well received, as people munched through a tasty fathers day lunch. By the end, the crowd were up dancing. The pub was packed and thrilled with the response.

The band finished at around 4pm and we then broke down the gazebos etc, home for 5pm. A quick cuppa and now I'm off to Mass at 6pm and then out to play football at 7.30pm. We'll wrap up with a fathers day chinese at around 9pm. It will be nice to actually see the kids !

Life is never dull in Mill Hill during festival week.

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