Thursday, September 01, 2011

Greenbelt 2011 Diary: Sunday

DUKE SPECIALImage via WikipediaSunday started slowly, which was nice, as it usually starts with a painful alarm at about 6.50 to get me awake enough to be showered, dressed, ready and set up for 8am communion. There are advantages in being a morning person, so any tips on converting to one would be welcome!

Back to Greenbelt. First appointment was with "the Rising", a session in the big venue (Centaur) where singer/songwriters talk about and perform some songs. Martyn Joseph was host, and the line up included Duke Special, Gordon Gano, Cathy Burton and the remarkable young talent that is Luke Jackson. Duke's idiosyncratic songs always tell interesting stories, and he sang one he had written inspired by old pictures. Cathy writes both worship songs and others that convey something about her faith. Gordon strummed his violin, and led us in an old song that he had adopted/adapted.

The memorable moment, however was Luke. He has a great voice, a striking guitar style, inspired by a number of other acoustic/roots players (he even refers to Richard Thompson as an inspiration. A 17 year old who has heard of RT?) Perhaps the most remarkable thing is his own songwriting - his song about children leaving home, told from a parent's point of view is a song he shouldn't be able to write yet. He hasn't lived either side of that experience. He's hanging out with Martyn Joseph and Steve Knightley (Show of Hands), so watch out for this one. This sampler was so good, we made sure we caught his set in the Perf Cafe. His own songs, plus a couple of great mixes of others, a genuinely original cover of Blowing in the Wind and cracking version of I Need a Dollar. Covering all age groups in the audience nicely there. Luke.

The paella van was good, as was their mint lemonade.

The CD tent 'G-Music' hosts small gigs, and always provides some variety. Rodent Emporium were unforgettable, especially their final song I'm a Man. More intriguing was Andy Hunter, who equipped with Macbook, small keyboard and some more kit, provided 30 mins of dance music inspired by his faith. It wasn't really something I had experienced before, and although the genre isn't my home territory, it was fascinating to seem him at work, and also to try and understand how the sound landscape he produced was expressing his spirituality. It would have been interesting to see him at work at his Big Top gig, but I was elsewhere.

A regular feature of Greenbelt (Glastonbury and others) is the Tiny Tea Tent, a wonderful structure with rich colours, lanterns, wood-burning stove, and a constant supply of great music. This year was the first time Debbie and I had ever got a seat inside. We met up with friends who assured us they always got seats, and sure enough going with them we did. Must be a bit like Diagon Alley in Harry Potter - you need to know where to knock. Fantastic warm apple and cinnamon - the perfect drink on a cool evening.

Day was rounded off with a bit of the Idlewild gig on mainstage. Don't know much much the Scottish indie-rockers, but they seemed on good form. They said it was the nicest festival they'd been to, which was encouraging!

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