This month our music columnist, Paul Dunton is celebrating another successful Local & Live festival.
This year’s Local & Live Festival was the 10th edition of the event and having had a chance to reflect and analyse, I feel it was arguably the best one to date. This is due to many reasons, but for me personally the wonderful atmosphere at the event and the increased overall attendance certainly played a big part in arriving at this decision. Calverley Grounds really is the perfect setting for the festival, and, from a visual point of view, this year’s event really had the look and feel of a mini Glastonbury. Without getting carried away, I would like to emphasise the word ‘mini’ – as festivals go, Local & Live is just a baby in every sense!
The food and drink quarter was expanded this year offering far more choice with local traders Fuggles, The Sussex Arms, Sankeys, Raj Pavilion, Mother Bhuami, Alices Ices, Carwash Diner, The Trading Post and Sophia Fine Wines all involved. The arrival of the second stage known as The Ollie Nicholls acoustic stage also added something different. Positioned on the old bowling green, it was far enough away from the main stage so that sound cross over wasn’t an issue, but still felt very much in the hub of the main area. It also offered the opportunity for more artists to be involved and choice for festival goers.
This year’s staging and aesthetics reached new levels and I must award a huge thanks to SRD Group for their efforts in addition to brilliant sound from Joe Turner, Paul Midcalf and all the team who worked alongside. The lighting by Simon Burchell on the main stage was absolutely incredible! It is these combined elements that have played a significant role in the event developing further in 2015.
The festival is not just about Calverley Grounds; the fringe element is really taking off and this year’s festival saw record attendances packing out the 12 venues across the town. Venues that took part in the fringe for the ﬁrst time this year included Cassidy’s, Souper Juice, The Prince of Wales and Trinity Theatre alongside the Forum, The Grey Lady, Sankeys, Beau Nash, Bedford Pub, Royal Oak, Trading Post and No.9 Smokehouse. I am pleased to say all were very well attended and many ‘full house’ statuses were attained! During my time at the festival I was able to visit most of the fringe venues on the Monday, it was really wonderful to see the town alive with local music and great to see people enjoying themselves. So much work goes into running the fringe events behind the scenes and I must convey huge thanks to all the landlords and staff at all the various locations, all the volunteers, sound engineers and photographers for their endeavours.
The musicians make the festival what it is – we are spoiled in this town for musical talent. I am of the opinion that per square mile, Tunbridge Wells has the best music scene in the UK today. There were so many outstanding performances at this year’s event, but I must reserve special mention for headliners Annaca and The Standard Lamps who were both absolutely amazing and rounded off the Saturday and Sunday evenings in Calverley Grounds in true style!
Local & Live is a team effort, and without all the volunteers, sponsors, festival goers and musicians it just wouldn’t happen. It will always be free and it will always represent local original music – see you at the next one!