The best party ever! The Radio 1 Big Weekend 2017

Imagine the best party you ever went to. Perfect venue. Great music over four stages. Excellent food. Add in some fairground rides and your favourite radio personalities to make the whole thing go with a swing. Arrange it so it’s free admission (albeit with some minor ticketing and transport expenses).

Then arrange for the sun to shine like it’s never going to stop.

Add that all together and you’ve pretty much got the Radio 1 Big Weekend which this year came to Burton Constable Hall, just outside Hull, as part of the City of Culture Celebrations, and in the opinion of many, the highlight of the whole cultural shebang.

The Peoples was lucky enough to get an invite and we were treated to fabulous performances by the likes of Little Mix, Rita Ora, Lorde, Kasabian, Imagine Dragons, Rag’n’Bone Man, Haim and of course the headliners, Kings of Leon and Katy Perry. What more could you wish for?

Well Alt-J, Biffy Clyro, Emeli Sande, Clean Bandit and Stormzy would be a start.
The line up offered something for all tastes, from synth beats to rock, from pure bubblegum to grime and hip hop, and from electro-folk to seventies disco (that last one courtesy of the extraordinary Christine and The Queens, all the way from France and absolutely brilliant).

Of course with such a line up spread over a huge field you can’t see everything and you can be sure that everyone missed at least one of their favourites, but hey that’s festivals for you, and at least at this one you could be sure that whoever you were missing them for was probably pretty great.

Of course it was all happening within the week of the Manchester attack and while no-one was going to let it dampen their spirits it was ever present, the elephant in the field. People were cautious and surprisingly well behaved. I didn’t see any trouble at all during the whole weekend and police reported no arrests. Security was tight at the perimeter but once you were in it was unobtrusive and everyone was helpful and the minutes silence was incredibly moving even to an old cynic like me. I felt really sorry for the guy near me who didn’t realise it had started and who suddenly laughed and swore loudly, only to be angrily shushed by everyone around him.

It was a day dominated by pop and all the better for it. I don’t get to shoot a lot of chart acts. I see a lot of punk and heavy metal and lo-fi and alt-country but pop just seems to pass me by so seeing the likes of Little Mix, Lorde and Clean Bandit was a big thrill.

In the end it was the women what won it. Some I’d seen before like Anne-Marie who played her own set early in the day in the Where It Begins big top and then came onto the main stage to join Clean Bandit for Rockabye. She gets better every time I see her. Some, like Dua Lipa and Charli XCX were new (or even news) to me but they were great and real ear openers.

Highlights? Well it seems a bit redundant to even talk about them because it was one highlight after another all weekend.

Best new (to most people) band: Life who I could only hear and not see from my position backstage. A great Hull band on their way to the top and with a new album out. The Amazons were good too.

Best new (to me) band: Alt-J. How did I manage to go this long without listening to Alt-J? I remember all the praise heaped on An Awesome Wave but for some reason our paths never crossed. I’m ashamed to admit that with the keyboard reference for a name I think I assumed they were another of those techno acts that play laptops and dance on tables. Anyway the good thing is I now have a new favourite band.

Best playing laptops and dancing on tables: Galantis and The Chainsmokers – joint winners. Impressive balancing skills.

Most awesome vocal: Rag’n’Bone Man. The man is a genius.

Best dancing: Lorde. I’m going to practice till I can do it too. Lorde also gets the most photogenic performance award. I could photograph Lorde all day and never get bored.

Nicest surprise: Little Mix. Little Mix pretty much sum up the kinds of bands I don’t get to see but they were great, even if they did get themselves temporarily thrown off the iPlayer. Ah, the exuberance of youth.

Best bubblegum bubble blown live on stage: Nathan Followill, drummer from Kings of Leon. Impressive size and symmetry and great breath control, blowing, bursting and retrieving all in perfect time to the music.

And the highlight of the weekend? Well that has to be Katy Perry. She brought the set from her world tour with her and just lit the evening on fire. It’s a fact that some performers don’t give it a hundred percent for festival stages, but Katy Perry gave it everything. Sensational. I can’t remember ever seeing a performance so perfect.

So thanks to Radio 1 for arranging the best party Hull has ever seen and if you could arrange to bring it back next year that would be just great.

Twins Walk Raises Funds For The Newborn Intensive Care Unit

You could have been forgiven for thinking you were seeing double when a group of local mums and dads took their babies on a sponsored walk from The Discovery Centre to the Meridian Line on Sunday 4th June.

The walk was organised the Grimsby Twins group, a social support group for parents of twins.

Leanne Raynor, mum of 21 month old twins Willow and Myla, said: “The neonatal unit is close to all our hearts. We want to help other parents, who like us, have spent time on the newborn intensive care unit with our babies. We spent nearly 10 weeks there so it feels like home.”

Ryan Harper, father of nine week old twins Pippa and Harriet, said: “You don’t know what goes on behind the doors until you need the services. The nurses are there throughout. One day, Kirsty, my wife was really poorly so was not able to see the girls so the nurses took photos and printed them out to show her at her bedside. The little things they do mean a lot.”

The group is calling on other parents whose children have been cared for by the unit to get involved and help raise money.

The twins group meets every Wednesday at the Riverside Surestart Centre, Sorrel Road, Grimsby between 11.30am and 1pm. Anyone wanting further information about the group can call Leanne on 07710 619456.

Money from the event will be donated to The Health Tree Foundation (HTF). Its Little Lives fund gives money to the newborn intensive care unit to help make a difference to local parents and their babies by granting wishes. If you would like to organise your own fundraising event please contact Lauren Alexander on 03033 304514 or lauren.alexander@nhs.net

Afternoon tea raises money for Rear Into Gear

There was lashings of lovely tea and of course some superb homemade cakes at The Pelham Suite on Sunday June 4th when the venue hosted an afternoon tea to raise money for the Rear Into Gear appeal in aid of bowel patients.

Everybody had a splendid afternoon and plenty of funds were raised at the event which was organised by Teresa Jackson, Louise Salt and Anne Appleton (photo above right).
The Health Tree Foundation, the official charity of Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals, has launched the appeal aimed at raising money for new keyhole surgery equipment.

The money will be used to buy two new state of the art laparoscopic theatre stacks for Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital and Scunthorpe General Hospital enabling surgeons to perform the latest and most complex keyhole procedures for patients undergoing bowel cancer and bowel related illnesses. The camera systems on the new equipment will deliver extremely high quality images for surgeons.

Louise Salt, colorectal specialist nurse, said: “This will be the first of many events we have planned to raise money for this appeal. We are also hoping local people will back us and hold their own fundraising events to support us.”

There are lots more events on the way in aid of the Rear Into Gear campaign but you can also donate through their Just Giving page which is at www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/nlagcharitablefunds/rearintogear

WARD THOMAS: THE ENGINE SHED, LINCOLN – LIVE REVIEW

Credible British country music artists tend to be somewhat thin on the ground but with the arrival on the scene of Hampshire based duo Ward Thomas, (made up of sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas) it certainly looks as though UK fans might have some top drawer home grown talent to cheer about for once. Call it the Nashville effect or the C2C effect, call it the Whispering Bob effect, but British country music is on the up.

Ward Thomas have two excellent albums to their names including Cartwheels, a UK number one album earlier this year, (and not the UK country charts either, the real proper chart), recorded in Nashville with Bobby Blazier and Chris Rodriguez, who have worked with Wynonna Judd and Shania Twain respectively and they have a deal with Sony who appear to be prepared to invest some serious effort in them. It’s pretty clear where Ward Thomas see their trajectory and it’s right up there where Taylor Swift is leading the way.

They certainly write terrific country pop songs, not those huge lumbering epics that some country artists prefer but sweet little songs about love and aspiration and their voices are superb, with just the right amount of heartache and Southern twang without it getting silly. So for my part their show at Lincoln Engine Shed on Thursday 25th May is about finding out whether they can carry it off live and the answer is that they can do it in style.

Extra security checks mean that we only get to see the last couple of songs from openers Wildwood Kin which is a shame because from what little we heard their harmonies were terrific, particularly on their cover of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Helplessly Hoping. They’ve got a packed schedule of summer festivals on the way and if you get the chance to see them you should definitely take it.

Whatever the little bit of magic is that turns country music into gold Ward Thomas have oodles of it and then some. They take turns at lead vocal and their four piece band are as sharp as you could wish and they switch between the Roadhouse style bluesy swingers and the softer ballad style numbers easily, performing an acoustic section mid show by way of variety.

Highlights include Town Called Ugley which recalls The Mamas & The Papas Creeque Alley, Cartwheels and the new single Material and they round the show off with Push For The Stride, the opening track from 2014’s From Where We Stand, probably the first Ward Thomas song that many of the crowd tonight heard and just about the perfect way to finish. It’s a song full of platitudes, I’ll give you that, but it’s a song that gets even the most curmudgeonly of us, (that would be me), tapping their toes and as we leave we’re all smiling and singing as we scour the pavement for an authentic looking stalk of corn to chew on.

Dirty Dusting At The Caxtons

There’s an evening full of laughter for theatregoers this week as Dirty Dusting, from the pens of Geordie comedy writing team Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood and directed by John Solley, comes to the Caxton Theatre.

The play concerns the exploits of three office cleaners; the apparently worldly Elsie, (played with lashings of sauce by Geraldine Godwin), former girl guide leader Olive (whose secret sadnesses are subtly revealed by Christine Cornthwaite) and Diane Grimshaw’s leek widow Gladys, outwardly shy and naive but capable of some serious wardrobe climbing when the mood takes her (which it does with increasing vigour as the play progresses).

When their boss, the loathsome Dave, (played with hissable villainy by Jack Scott), announces that they are all to lose there jobs in a few days time there’s only one course open to them and that is to start a telephone sex line using the office phones.

It’s packed full with more jokes than you can shake a suggestively shaped stick at, some new, (not too many), some old, (quite a lot), some moderately clean, (a minority) and some unmitigatedly vulgar (quite a lot of that). In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, (ooh er madam), it’s a smutfest, a blend of the best bits of Benny Hill, Donald McgGill, On The Buses, the Carry Ons and lots of other performers and shows in a Great British tradition that stretches from Max Miller to Chubby Brown.

There are jokes about seamen, jokes about hamsters, jokes about a cockatoo and the show builds to a huge and juddering climax involving some terrifying electro mechanical frottage, a song and dance routine and a pair of Union Jack underpants.

What more could you ask?

It’s great fun and features four performances that make the most of the humour while still allowing the more nuanced elements of the characters to shine through, but it’s not for the easily offended and it’s probably not a good idea to take your kids, although depending on the age of the kids it may be the case that they’ll be the ones who are uncomfortable about being there with their parents.

All in all an excellent night of ribald laughter and long may its feather dusters tickle.

Dirty Dusting runs from April 22nd-29th. Visit www.caxtontheatre.com for further details.

Dr Feelgood To Headline Cleethorpes Blues Festival

Promoters Solid Entertainments have announced the full line up for the 7th annual Cleethorpes Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival which will be returning for to Pleasure Island on Sunday 18th June 2017 and it looks like being quite an event!

There are eleven acts performing over two stages, including, for the first time an acoustic stage) and headliners will be Canvey Island’s favourite sons, Dr Feelgood.
Formed on Canvey Island in Essex in the early 1970s, Dr Feelgood remains one of the most popular and exciting live rhythm and blues acts in the world. They have also enjoyed global success with a string of hit singles including Roxette, Back in the Night, Milk and Alcohol, Down at the Doctors, She Does it Right, Going Back Home and See You Later Alligator – which gave the group their first gold record.

Ealing Blues Festival 2015

In addition to the Feelgoods the Main Street Stage will play host to blues guitarist Aynsley Lister, soul singer Kyla Brox and her band, Alabama singer songwriter Debbie Bond, no nonsense rockers Albany Down and Glasgow-based, contemporary blues band the Brian Rawson Band.

With this calibre of artist stepping on stage, festival goers can expect to see top class live performances and hear a range of incredible sounds with sets that incorporate a creative mix of Blues, Rock and R&B, with a sprinkling of Soul for good measure!

No need to worry about searching for food and drinks on the day either, there will be a range of alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, real ales available and a varied menu that should meet everyone’s taste!

For more information and tickets go to www.solidentertainments.com

New Sculpture Unveiled At St Martins

Fusion Creative have now been based at St Martin’s Church on Scartho Road for more than a year and as part of the Pilot Project, Lincs Inspire committed funding towards the production of an original piece of artwork to celebrate their moving into their new home.

Our picture shows the unveiling of the finished piece, created by artist Vivienne May. Titled ‘The Sharing’ it is a representation of the story of St Martin who was famous for his acts of compassion to people outside of the mainstream of ordinary society. On seeing a beggar freezing by the road, he tore his own cloak in two, keeping enough of the garment to protect himself from the bitter weather and giving the beggar protection as well.

Vivienne’s sculpture represents this gesture of sharing, compassion and concern for others’ well being.

The Fusion Creative project at St Martin’s has the principles of sharing and reaching out to the community at its heart and the sculpture is intended to reflect those values. The artwork now stands proudly in the entrance of St Martin’s and is a beautiful reminder of the compassion and care demonstrated to others and its importance to our community and wider society.

For more information about activities at St Martin’s go to www.fusioncreative.org.uk or find them on Facebook.

Cossies On For Swimathon 2017

Swimathon is the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim and swimmers across the UK are being encouraged to jump in to raise vital funds for Marie Curie, the UK’s leading charity for people living with a terminal illness and their families.

2017 is the Swimathon’s 30th anniversary. It began in 1986 as a pilot programme for swimmers in London only. Since the launch of the annual event in 1988, nearly 700,000 participants have taken part and £46 million has been raised and distributed to 36 different charities.

Gary Burr, Community Fundraiser Marie Curie, says “We’re looking for swimmers to help make this the biggest and best Swimathon yet. In 2015, 22,600 swimmers took part and helped raise a brilliant £1.9 million for Marie Curie – a fantastic achievement but one we are hoping to beat this year.”

In our area the event is taking place within Lincs Inspire pools on:
Saturday 8th April at Immingham Swimming Pool from 1:30pm to 5pm and Sunday 9th April at Grimsby Leisure Centre from 4pm to 9pm

Swimmers can challenge themselves to the 5k, 2.5k or 1.5k Individual or Team 5k or 1.5k distances and raise funds for Marie Curie.

For further information about Swimathon including how to sign up visit: www.swimathon.org

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance. Last year, Marie Curie cared for and supported over 50,000 people affected by terminal illness across the UK. If you have questions about terminal illness, need support or just want to talk, call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 090 2309. It’s for anyone affected by terminal illness, including family and friends.

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