Monday, 15 June 2015

The Mill Hill Music Festival - Day 3 - Rog T's Festival Diary - Jazz and Bhangra!

Day three of the Mill Hill Music Festival. Guess what? I started the day with a lie in! I didn't even wake up until ten past nine. I normally wake up between 6.30 and 7am, so I guess I must have been cream crackered! A slice of toast and a cup of green tea and then up to the Rising Sun for the Ron Russell Band and the Jazz lunch. As this was an open air gig, the first concern was the weather. The omens were not good. The sky was grey and the rain was falling. I'll let you in on a little secret. My Dad was raised in the outback of Australia and he always told us as kids that a witchdoctor had taught him to "make weather". For many years, there used to be an annual garden fete in May at St Josephs College on Lawrence Street. My Dad always claimed he was in charge of the weather. Over the many years this took place, it was never cancelled due to rain. As a kid, I was always impressed by this. Shortly before he died, I went for a curry with him (I was 24 at the time). For some reason the subject came up and I asked him if an Aboriginal witch doctor had really taught him to make weather. He then confided that this was indeed true and he told me the secret. He explained the process and said there were only two rules. One was that it must be for the universal good and the second was that you can't make rain go away or the sun shine, but you can defer it. If you stop the rain for the Universal good, you will at some point within a few weeks get absolutely soaked in an unexpected shower. All you've done is shifted it, so you have to pay the consequences.

As you can tell I was raised to be highly superstitious, but as a festival organiser, I had no choice but to follow the procedure. Now you may think "What has all this nonsense got to do with running a music festival?" Well quite a lot as the Weather was a fundamental prerequisite to holding the gig, as The Rising Sun has no space for an indoors gig. I arrived on site at 10.45am. The sky was still grey and the rain was coming down. I assurred all that the weather would be fine, but they all looked at me as if I was an idiot. Our first task was to build the gazebo's to protect the band. I was then asked if I could get some carpet for the band gazebo, so I had to return to the studio and pick one up. I returned at 11.30, the rain was still coming down. Although I had complete faith that it would clear, no one else had any faith at all. So Gerry was dispatched to Argos to buy two more gazebo's. We also arranged tables and umbrellas so as many people as possible were covered. At around noon, the rain stopped. We then dried down all the tables and chairs. The Rising Sun had decided to cancel their barbeque and do kitchen food and there were frantic preparations going on. The pub kindly provided a complimentary pasta dish for band and organisers.

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The Ron Russell band set up in the rain
Having been fed, put up gazebos, run power to the band gazebo and gazebos for the public, we had the opportunity to enjoy the event. The band provided their own PA system, which meant nothing for me to do. Committee member Jenni runs raffles to help cover costs and so she was busy but the rest of us could relax and have  a drink and enjoy a rather excellent band. As I'd promised all concerned, by around 1.30 the skies had cleared and the sun was now beating down, in fact it was a glourious afternoon. All too soon it was over.  As with all other events, the turnout was excellent. Itw as unticketed and free entry, so we don't know how many attended, but I counted over 100 people. Whilst the rest of the team had to break down gazebos, I had to return to the studios to prepare a PA system for the evening event.

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And then the sun came out!

At the studio, I got my boys to load up the Galaxy with Pa and lights.We arrived at the Day of the Raj for the Bangra night at 5pm and immediately set the PA system up. We have bought some new lights and Gerry was using the Raj event as a chance to learn the rig. For the event we had the amazing DHOL drummers of The DHOL Company and the amazing dancing of K from

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The DHOL drummers arrive
We set the PA and lights up and the band showed up. I've not seen DHOL drummers before and hadn't realised how loud they were. It was agreed that we'd send Dan from the committee to the studios and pick up some earplugs to distribute to anyone who might find the band too loud!

Once again it was another packed event. Romel, owner of the DOTR told us he'd had to turn away ten bookings for tables.The show was brilliant. I've never seen DHOL drummers before, but they are brilliant.

Bangra dancing from K from LOVETHEBEAT
The show started, it comprised of two sets of drumming from The DHOL Company and two sets of dancing from the amazing K. All of this accompanied by some rather tasty curry from the Raj. Once the fun was over, we were able to tuck in ourselves. A suitable way to enjoy the festival.

This was a new event and a new venue in the festival calendar. As MC I asked the audience if they'd like it at the next festival. The answer was a resounding"YES".

Once dinner had been had, we had to break down the lights and PA and that was that. Day 3 done!

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