Monday, July 06, 2015

Festival weekend: Sizzling Saturday & Stormy Sunday

The best thing about festival is the sheer number of amazing events, and the worst is that most inevitably clash, so my best aim can only be to give a taste. Frome Open Studios offer an amazing diversity as artists combine at each venue, with pens, pots, and photographs alongside paintings like Kate Cochrane's landscapes, and coastlines by Amanda Bee neighbouring Feverleaf's 'festivalesque finery and pixy clothing' at Silk Mill studios.

Saturday's sunshine held all day and into a balmy late night at Silk Mill cantina.  Frome Street Bandits led the parade through town to the Market Yard for the ever-popular food feast in early evening, followed by on-stage sessions from the Frome Jazz Club and Three Corners. Sunday's flash storm at the end of the Independent 'Wonderland' Market didn't daunt the wandering minstrels under the awning outside Lungi Baba or Jazz in the Afternoon at the Victoria Park bandstand.  More jazz at The Cornerhouse evening jam session, after a stonking session from the amazing Captain Cactus: "Rootin'-tootin'.... sort of like hula-swamp with bits of bluegrass and acoustic country rock avec les Screaming Harlots wailing like African Queens." (That's another Griff quote, I suspect)

And there are lots of excellent word-y things, or 'Literary Events' as the brochure highlights call them. Frome Writers Collective revived the 'Writers in Residence' event, with ten writers settled in cafes pubs & shops around town, scribing throughout Saturday on a set theme. Paul Newman was at Hunting Raven talking about his book Netted in a Silver Mist, which combines his drawings from the natural environment with words from Jill Harris to bring a deeper narrative to these superb evocations of wood, water, and stone.
With similar ekphrastic intention, our Words at the Black Swan workshop, led by David Davies, explored the Home In Frome exhibition to find personal recollections evoked by Mell Day's exquisite Postcards from an Ordinary Childhood and the amazing quilt of memories. Mell calls these glimpses of a past ~ all probably enhanced, possibly misremembered ~ "clear bright little moments... where our personality becomes our version of history, not snapshots but embodiments."

Sad to miss Al O'Kane's Magical Folk Garden acoustic music evening at the Archangel, my clash this time a rehearsal for Midsummer Dusk, our Nevertheless site-specific outdoor production for this festival. Director Rosie has made the Dissenters Cemetery look fantastic and our 'Star Players' are looking & sounding terrific... only 3 sleeps now till our opening night... 

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