By Bernie Bell

It’s spring, the sap is rising, and the Orkney Blues Festival Committee are stirring, starting to brew up the recipe for this year’s festival.  https://en-gb.facebook.com/orkneybluesfest

An outstandingly groovy event such as the Orkney Blues Fest, might appear to just …happen…but, fact is – an awful lot of hard work behind the scenes goes into producing  the ‘happening’ which is the Orkney Blues Fest.

And so, Festival Director Marcus Cordock would like to draw attention to the Blues AGM which will take place in the Function Room at the Royal Hotel, Stromness on Thursday 20th of February at 7:30pm.  This will be a chance to discuss last year’s festival, put plans in place for 2020, and also welcome on board new committee members and volunteers.

The AGM isn’t just for current member of the Committee – all are welcome – the more, the merrier – and some of the subjects/ideas under discussion will be…..

  • What were the successes of last year’s festival?
  • What could be improved on?
  • How can the Festival involve local people, especially younger people?
  • Other than live music, are there any other events which could be hosted over the weekend?
  • Promotion, on and off the island to grow the potential audience.
  • A look at visiting artists for 2020.
  • Attention to the Blues Festival constitution, balance sheet, and any committee reshuffling that may be required?

If you can’t make the meeting but would still like to be involved – that isn’t a problem – please just get in touch, on cordock.bass@gmail.com  and also, spread the word, tell your friends –  they will be welcome, too!

Mike and I were involved with the Blues Festival Committee for a time, and then life intervened, as it does.  Various other folk have come and gone, through the Committee, which I believe to be a good thing for any organization.  A few ‘stalwarts’ are needed, to give continuity and let the organization benefit from their experience, but for any organization to remain vibrant, ‘new blood’ is needed.

So, folks, how would you like to come along to the AGM – maybe get involved in either major of minor ways – though, people just being interested, all helps to spread the word, add to the vibe – and the overall enjoyment of the events which will be planned.  And that planning, starts on Thursday 20th February , upstairs in the Royal Hotel, Stromness.

Put it in your dairy or on your calendar, or get a tattoo!

I have some great memories of previous Orkney Blues Festivals, and the characters who turn up, year after year to add to this most Northern of Grooves.

I remember our esteemed Director, Marcus, as a lad of 17/18?  – playing with Bad Taste (the name of the band – not how they played!), who have now kind-of morphed into The Andy Taylor Group.  https://www.andytaylorgroup.com/

And, who can forget Gerry Jablonski – aka Jah Blonski – My lord – blows your mind……..https://www.gerryjablonskiband.com/

The bands usually have C.D’s on offer – and here are a few, from past years……..

Blues CDs Bernie Bell

Your eyes don’t deceive you – Peter Green did play at the Orkney Blues Fest, more years ago than I care to remember.

But it all starts with the AGM, and getting organizized.

“Three cords and The Truth – Blues Music.”

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  1. There’s always a story………..

    Gathering those C.D’s together to take the picture brought back memories. I still play them, but I don’t usually get them all out at the same time.

    We had one by Keith Christmas, who played at the Orkney Blues Fest ?? years ago, but I can’t find it now. I remember him telling me that he played at the first Glastonbury – with T. Rex!!!
    Yes, I like T. Rex – a lot – it’s not all heavy blues/rock for me!

    Here’s a story, as told to my Great-nephew, the Grandson of the sister mentioned in the story………..

    “The Marc Bolan I revere, is from the very early days – ‘Prophets, Seers & Sages…’ and ‘My People Were Fair….’ – and also, the stuff which you just can’t beat, to dance to – ’Ride a White Swan’, ‘Hot Love’, ‘Jeepster’, ‘Get It On’, ‘I Love to Boogie’.

    I actually have a copy of his book of poetry ‘The Warlock of Love’, which my old mate Philip gave me. We were, and are, great admirers of Mr Bolan.

    Your Gran, Bid, met him, here’s the tale…………..

    I’m not sure about the year, it was before I left home, maybe 1972/3? Bid was working as the cloakroom attendant at a nightclub in Bradford, called The Penny Farthing. T Rex were playing at St. George’s Hall, in Bradford. I couldn’t get a ticket, so I went out that night, with my friends, as usual. Then I went home, and went to bed. Next morning, Bid told me how T Rex and crew, had come to the Penny Farthing after the concert, and she’d got talking with them. She told them that her little sister was a fan, and they signed a poster for me – Marc Bolan, Mickey Finn, and Steve (Peregrine) Took.
    This was very good of Bid, to think of me, and good of them, to sign the poster for me. The thing is – I appreciate music. I’m not so bothered about the posters and paraphernalia which accompanies ‘stardom’.
    I did like pictures of Robert Plant – had one over my bed, but that’s because I fancied the pants off him! If he’d sung like a bull–frog, I would have still liked to look at him!
    Mostly though, my interest is in the music, and, much as I like his words and sounds, Marc, to me, was a pretty-boy, and I never did, and still don’t, see the appeal of pretty men. This is a purely personal preference!
    Anyway, less of me and my fancies, and back to the story.
    There was a girl at school , who was mad about T Rex – a lot of us were – and she did go in for the paraphernalia – had her hair permed – “I ain’t no square, with my corkscrew hair” – wore the badges, had their pictures all over her school books. So, I gave the poster to her, as it mattered more to her to have it, than it did to me.
    I wonder what happened to that poster – is it still a treasured possession? Or, having ‘grown up’ was she having a clear-out, looked at it wistfully, then threw it away?
    It might turn up on the Antiques Roadshow one day!
    So, I didn’t meet Marc Bolan, but my big sister did.”

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