Saturday 13 June 2015

The Mill Hill Music Festival - Day 1 - Rog T's Festival Diary

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Pic courtesy of Richard Logue
So it is here. A year after we started planning it, the 11th Mill Hill Music Festival has finally arrived. As one of the festival organising committee, we've had an average of one meeting a month since last September. The first thing was to secure venues for the events, then we booked the bands, drew up the publicity material.We've stood in the rain dishing out leaflets, written press releases for the local papers and plastered Mill Hill with banners. We've organised insurance, ordered the drinks for events, ordered staging etc, booked PA systems, done planning visits to venues and worked out artist requirements. We've ordered buffets for the artists, posted leaflets and tickets, set up a website, facebook page and twitter account. And now after all this planning, last night it all started.

And after all that, it is finally here. The festival kicked off with The Hendon Band of the Salvation Army at Hartley Hall. As we had two events and I was running the show at The Adam and Eve, I missed the opening concert. My involvement was limited to dropping off two stage risers. My wife, who is festival treasurer (it may not surprise regular readers to learn she's the one who is "good with money") was on the door at the Hartley Hall. The reports back were fantastic. The band were on top form. We had 125 tickets sold, which is a good total. If ever you get the chance to see the band, they are absolutely brilliant musicians and the set is varied and highly enjoyable.

I however missed all that. At 2pm I arrived at Mill Hill Music Complex, my studio business. We were supplying the PA system for the event at the Adam and Eve, so I had to load it up into my Ford Galaxy. Well I say that, actually I drank tea and manned the phones, whilst two of my excellent staff, Tom and Jack did all the work. Being the boss does have the odd benefit. We then loaded the risers onto the BALLS Motorcycle club van, which they kindly loaned the festival. The BALLS motorcycle club are the group of bikers who drink in the Railway Pub in Mill Hill. I think its fair to say that many people see them and think they are a fearsome bunch, but they are the nicest group of people you could meet. They have regular events and raise lots of money for charity and are always willing to help if there is a good cause locally. Loaning the van for the festival events saves us a small fortune and means that there is more money in the pot for promotion and staging events. Such local support makes the festival possible. Another noteworthy supporter are Mill Hill Wines, who act as our ticket office. They don't take any commission on tickets. I hope that festival goers buy the odd bottle to support the shop as they take no commission. It is really important to support these local businesses.

At 3pm, with the stages loaded, Jack jumped in the van with me and we drove to Hartley Hall to drop off the stage. This was a quick lift and drop. We then drove to the Adam and Eve and dropped off the stage. With this we drove back and dropped off the BALLS van and picked up the Galaxy. We returned to the Adam and Eve and started to assemble the PA. I've done this thousands of times in my career, but no two gigs are ever the same. The original plan for the Adam and Eve was to have the gig outside, weather permitting. Sadly the weather did not permit, so inside we were. By 5.30pm, the PA was assembled, the lighting rig was set up and we were ready for the band to arrive for soundcheck.

The band turned up at 6.30pm and we spent about 45 minutes getting the soundcheck sorted out. I am pleased to report that I was rather pleased with the sound and the band seemed happy as well. Having concluded the soundcheck, I tucked into a tasty burger and had a refreshing pint of shandy. One of the down sides of such gigs is the fact you have to stay sober and have your wits about you, not least as you have to do a lot of driving.

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JJ and the Ukettes at the Adam & Eve (Pic Richard Logue)

At 8.30pm sharp (well as sharp as it ever is with musicians in Mill Hill), the band started. JJ and the Ukettes are a four piece, I like to think of them as Mill Hills answer to ABBA ( a bit better looking and a bit more talented though!). They play an eclectic mix of music, includingh ABBA, The Kinks, Eddie Grant, Buddy Holly and The Everley Brothers. They even threw in a rousing version of The Wild Rover.

The band performed two sets, and got a great reception. They ended with two storming encores. Being a talented band and being experienced of playing live at the venue, it was an easy night for me on the desk. My festival co-organiser Jenni Bond turned up and ran a very successful raffle. These help the festival cover its admin costs, of which there are many (for example we spent over £600 on stamps for mailouts).  At around 9.45 the rest of the team turned up from Hartley Hall for a well earned pint and a chat.

All  too soon the gig was over and it was down to the graft of breaking down the PA and getting everything on the van for the next day. At 12.30, we all departed, a job well done. I managed to acquire a bevvy of friends, who jumped in my car and came home with me. When I got home, Mrs T informed me she hadn't eaten and was hungry. All we had was a few eggs, so I made her a fried egg sarnie with brown sauce. Perfect post gig nutrition. We'll have a few more such meals this week!
We ended up having a couple of glasses of wine in my garden and an early night, hitting the sack at 2.30am. 

I awoke at 6.45am, head spinning with all the things I have to do today. Onwards and upwards to the Hartley Hall for the BBC Elstree Concert Band. Mrs T has a night off organising tonight. She plays clarinet with the band. As for me, I am just the gofer tonight. Onwards and upwards

A quick note  -  Mill Hill Village Youth FC are holding a fun day at their ground in Burtonhole Lane on Sunday at noon - - There will be a barbeque and plenty of fun events. Mill Hill is the place to be!

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