The Unamplified Festival Review

9 Sep

If you were at the Unamplified festival at St. Margarets house, last weekend then I know you will gladly join me in congratulating Jack for putting on a very special event.

The Unamplified festival was a celebration of music and poetry, a gathering of friends and strangers alike that all engaged in one another artful offerings. It was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and a productive one too as I feel I was provided with an opportunity to meet people and make plans for the future.

Some people don’t like the word networking, But there it is. Jack has successfully crafted an event that isn’t just about listening to great music it’s also an opportunity to bring people together and unleash opportunities of collaboration and the sense of community that is too often ignored but so very important in any culture or industry. I was overjoyed to see so many people involved in one another’s work, I even heard on several occasions’ people talking about working with each other on future projects. Going by the talent on show, I for one look forward to witnessing the results.

Like any festival, not every thing was my cup of tea, but I will say that every act on the bill were outstanding in their own right. Unfortunately, I had to leave early on the Sunday which meant missing a few acts that I know I would have really enjoyed, Including Nick Mulvey and Josienne Clarke.

Personal highlights of the Saturday were Dave Gerard and The Watchmen who opened in the garden as an understated duo. Nuala Honan who’s gorgeously crafted storytelling songs, sung and played so perfectly in the chapel took me away on a personal journey that I still haven’t come back from. Theo Bard’s declaration that Richard Thompson’s ‘Beeswing’ is the most beautiful song ever (but I believe it’s not as beautiful as his rendition). Two outbursts of dancing to The Mcgowns and Feral Mouth which included an heartening choral sing-a-long to ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken’. Saturday ended with the kind of ambiance only possible with beautiful music, in the chapel with Rhys Lewis and the Relics, The Paper Shades and The Woodland Creatures who played us out and to our slumber.

Sunday went much to fast for my liking, Gorgeous George were the first act I saw, as a striped down comedic Balkan folk duo telling jaw dropping tales of very real everyday occurrences and scandal. Usually a 9 piece I feel very privileged to have seen them as a duo, No Charm or humour was lost whatsoever, just good (and a little bit dirty) Fun, like a naughty uncle. Next, moving into the Chapel we were treated to a delightfully charming performance by Samantha Whates who never fails to amaze me. Then back into the garden for an uplifting performance by Alex mills.

Before I left I was entertained by Indigo Earth who’s zealous performance reminded me of a young Fleetwood Mac meets Pentangle and finally Ellie Rumbold who really stood out for me. This kind and quietly humble girl who had been present the whole weekend assisting Jack, had waited very patently to play and when she did I sat and listened attentively. Admittedly, I think one of her songs about a girl putting a bullet in her skull along with the perhaps not so subtle Laura Marling undertones may have turned a few people off, but I got very excited by the sheer talent and massive potential. She is 17, her voice belies her years and she play guitar wonderfully. For a 17 year old Ellie’s vast musical knowledge is surprising and inspiring I wish I was as cool as her when I was 17. I don’t think it will be too long at all before she hones in on and develops a more personal style of song writing and surprises us all with something very unique and very special indeed. Definitely one to watch.

I still haven’t mentioned ‘The Chill Pill Collective’. They were the ultimate highlight of the festival for me. Over the two days the chill pill gang spoilt us with the most thought Provoking, poignant and topical poetry I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Having lived in London now for 8 years I am guilty to admit that I have never been to a poerty slam/showcase/event. The Chill Pill Collective took my poetry cherry and I loved every second of it. The Chill Pill are made up of Raymond Antrobus, Mr Gee, Deanna Rodger, Simon Mole and had special guest Adam Kammerling perform with them on the Sunday. Some of the friendliest people I have ever met, really very beautiful people and inspiring wordsmiths. I will be heading to one of there events very soon, Check out their website to find out where they will be performing next. You wont be disappointed.

I would like to close now by congratulating everyone involved in what was a truly lovely weekend. If you missed the festival, or you want more live and UNamplified action, check out the Live and UNamplified website or visit The Book Club on a Sunday evening where Jack runs a weekly showcase.

P.S. Only one bone Jack. I was really looking forward to the treasure hunt. Fortunately, I found out the treasure was growing on the tasty Mulberry tree.

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