Musicport Festival 2011

Musicport Festival November 4th – 6th 2011 Review

On arriving to Bridlington there was a little difficulty in parking nearby as Bridlington Spa is situated in a restricted /controlled parking area. However, there were pay and display parking nearby and some free spaces easily accessible some five to ten minutes walk away (although you did need to search for these!)

Lots of small bed & breakfasts line the seafront and some small hotels. Costs of these can vary and suit most type of budgets, depending on what you want to spend.

With no queuing at the doors (unusual at festivals) it was a very ‘civilised’ entrance. There is nothing remarkable about the outside of the building or anything to indicate what superb facilities lie within. The Spa itself is set on the South Shore which is a delightful setting with a beautiful backdrop of the waves lapping gently onto the beach.

Programmes were on sale at £3(or 2 for a fiver) each outlining when and where each artist was performing. This was something that was a definite advantage to have, as different acts played at different times, in different parts of the venue. Although there were schedules listed outside each stage area.

The first thing we did was take a walk around the venue to see what facilities there were and what was happening in various parts of the Spa. There were four stages including one main stage, one small theatre, and two  spacious side rooms where different artists performed.

What was surprising was the variety of different workshops/activities that were taking place during the weekend from circus skills, cookery ukulele workshop, African drumming, origami boat making and dance workshops just to name a few!

The artists/acts/bands were also unbelievably varied. Friday night saw some amazing acts that had the festival goers talking about well after Sunday night. These included Asere, a collection of artists whose inspiration is drawn from Cuban music,  Geoff Brenner, Klezmer music from Vancouver and the sensational 12lve (Goldie’s band).

Friday was hailed by some ‘as the best Friday night in a long time’ and praise continued for the groups/ artists over the duration of the festival. Even now, after the event we are hearing some excellent feedback from artists and festival goers alike!

Saturday, was again, a jam packed day, with a variety of different workshops/bands/activities. Question and Answer type interviews were done with Andy Kershaw, DJ/Journalist/Author (The Old Grey Whistle Test) and Hugh Masekela, one of the ‘iconic figures of African music and an important figure in South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.

Something that you notice about the festival is that the age range of people is from 0 to 90 which probably is one of the reasons it is so ‘civilised’. Artists mingled with the festival goers without being mobbed, toilets were clean with no long queues, young children could freely ‘be let loose’ without fear of any harm or getting lost. The festival had a very warm and friendly, family feel to it.

We also noted that there were disabled wheelchair users at the venue including a couple of the stewards!, so we took the opportunity to ask them about their experience in relation to accessibility and being disabled friendly. Access did not appear to be a problem for wheelchair users given the size of the venue and the availability of lifts. The venue was big enough to have plenty of space to move around it and there were no muddy fields to cross!

Saturday had something for everybody and everyone’s highlights all appeared to be different and varied, which is one of the reasons that makes this such a great festival as there appeared to be something for everyone. On the main stage were some wonderful artists/ performers and its difficult to single out particular acts as all of them brought something wonderful to the festival.

Personal Highlights

Andy Kershaw’s Question and Answer session was honest, frank and entertaining. The audience appeared to really enjoy it and talked very positively about the experience after the session had ended. Andy was there talking about his new book ‘No Off Switch’ and enthusiastically chatted to people during the book signings, sharing some of his experiences and reminiscing about his life.

Fran Smith, amazingly talented, sang some lovely poetic compositions whilst playing the piano. The spell binding performance of Claudia Aurora took my breath away with her haunting melodies of Portuguese Fado songs. It was a real pleasure for me to hear these ladies perform.

Chris Wood gave an ‘uplifting’ performance whilst Changing Horses gave a humorous and lively performance, both entertaining the audience in different ways and with totally different styles.

Asere appeared to be a hit at the event, with some amazing feedback as the young talented musicians entertained the audience and brought something traditionally Cuban to the event.

The performance of Mercedes Peon was nothing short of sensational. Multi talented incorporating different instruments into her performance, the lady was nothing short of remarkable as a solo performer. Despite the fact that Mercedes Peon did not know any English, the audience were captivated and appeared to love every minute she was on stage.

The dance workshops and activities, were both interesting and catered to all different age groups/ abilities. I particularly liked the African song and dance workshop which seemed to be a great success, in that, it managed to get a lot of people both young and old involved.

Food. The choice of food was varied, reasonably priced and appeared to suit every taste. From traditional chips to less traditional Tibetan curries.The festival stayed true to its theme of Cultural Diversity!

Atmosphere - The atmosphere felt very warm and inviting. There was a feeling of being a part of the event as though everyone had come to celebrate World Music' The atmosphere was for me, personally uplifting and inspiring.

Final Words...

Musicport Festival is an amazing World Music Event promoting Cultural Diversity, bringing together artists together from all around the world to what can only be described as an INCREDIBLE festival and live event.
I would recommend it to families of any age. It is indoors and is disabled friendly. The festival encourages participation and laugher. Musicport Festival for me, was a life changing event. Its unique, friendly & fun!