As a lover of live music, living in a town with its own music festival was just wonderful, and then there were the great live music evenings at Kenn Village Hall where we saw bands like Curtis Eller, Coco and the Butterfields’ and the Model Folk. I was very sad when both came to an end and secretly hoped for their return. But it was not to be!
And then along came the Clevedon Community Bandstand Project devised by two friends Maureen Ni Fiann and Cinzia Apreda who secured Arts Council Funding to bring vibrant multicultural music to this iconic Victorian landmark.
Maureen and Cinzia launched during the Clevedon Literary Festival in 2021 with a day of brilliant music, the highlight being Bristol-based Senegalese singer Batch Gueye. https://batchgueye.com
Their latest contribution to the live music scene in Clevedon is the Spring Music Festival taking place from 12.00 pm to 7.00 pm. on Saturday 19th March where there will also be speciality food and drink stalls from Nims Thai Kitchen, gin from gin gurus Nicholas and Łukasz at the Clevedon Distillery and cider from Beard and Sabre. But more about that later!
The event kicks off at 12.00 pm with Just 3 Harmony, a professional vocal harmony featuring Michaela Fedeczko, (vocals and percussion) Sean Snook (guitar and vocals) and Lydia Cook (vocals and percussion).
I love this quote about the trio:
‘Pitch-perfect vocal harmony trio that sings glistening and passionate renditions of pop and soul numbers’
I’d heard about Just 3 Harmony before in the context of their Tea Room Tour which was an idea they devised in 2015 as a way of reaching more of a daytime audience but also a fun way of sampling the best tea and scones. They embarked on two mini-tours one in May of 2015 and one in 2016. Both were a huge success.
Lydia and Michaela met at music college (Access to Music now Access Creative) in Bristol in 2004 where they studied together and met original guitarist and vocalist Everton Hartley. when he came to do some workshops.
They formed Just 3 Harmony as an opportunity to sing sweet, soulful harmonies for all types of events but it worked particularly well for festivals and wedding ceremonies. Since then they have had a few other guest female singers when one of them isn’t available and eventually when Everton left they were joined by Sean Snook who they also both knew from their Access to Music days.
Jeremy Johnson starts at 1.15 pm When you read what is said about Jeremy Johnson, you can understand why he is quickly becoming an internationally recognised and sought-after singer-songwriter and performer.
“Johnson has a superb voice which really shines through following in the storytelling footsteps of the likes of Nick Drake, Richard Thompson, Ralph McTell and Clifford T Ward” ~ Alan Fitter | Americana UK
“Jeremy is a stunning performer with lush songs and beautiful lyrics” ~ Andrew Marston | BBC Introducing
“One of the most beautifully poised, tentative guitar progressions I’ve heard in a long time. Jeremy has sonority around his sound which spills from his passionate vocal delivery which sets him apart by a country mile. Any fans of Elliot Smith, Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake are going to be in heaven” ~ Amelia Vandergast | A&R Factory
It is little wonder then that since becoming a full-time musician in 2018 and despite choosing to remain independent and self-managed, Jeremy has been asked to provide live support for Scott Matthews, Ben Ottewell (Gomez), The Feeling and Paddy James. Strong support from BBC Introducing, including a performer slot at Hay Festival and airplay on Tom Robinson’s 6 music show has helped Jeremy settle into the UK music scene. But this perpetual nomad is never more happy than playing shows in new places, continuing to tour extensively through Holland, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal in his self-converted camper van ‘Greenie’.
Here he is with ‘Greenie’ in a clip that was shot during the Summer of 2020 at Sancreed in Cornwall, this is a live version of Jeremy’s song Riverboat man, released during 2021 as the February track from his project to write, perform, produce, mix, master and release one track every month in 2021.
Recent years have seen Jeremy successfully navigate global challenges to live music by developing his following in multi-platform Live Streaming, setting up a highly regarded music podcast and seeing significant success on media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. A skill set that will only compound his momentum as a musician and brand.
The songs Jeremy performs tell of hard-won life experience, existential philosophy and adventures of the heart, born from travels to all corners of the planet. The seeds of his songwriting stretch back to 2009, given time to grow and mature, his fully formed compositions came to light in 2016 when Jeremy began increasingly exploring music as a full-time adventure. With three albums and a live EP under his belt, it would seem Jeremy is here to stay.
This is another beauty from his album ‘Insecuriosity’, released on 10th October 2019
If you want to check Jeremy out a little more before the day, this is his website. He is also on Facebook and Tic-Toc @jeremyjohnsongs
At 2.30 pm Bristol’s Ambling Band will take to the stage, I use the word stage loosely because no stage would be big enough to contain these pink-clad, crowd-pleasers. Queen Square will experience a level of gaiety and joy previously unknown! The number one priority of these crazy pink musicians is to bring a smile to your face and a tap to your toes, so be prepared to join in the fun!
Check out the clip to see their first virtual busk.
TwoManTing will start their set at 3.45 pm and like many of the performers at this Festival, they come with some impressive media reviews. Check these out:
“John Peel would play something like this on his programme and the world would suddenly seem a better place” – Steve Lamacq, BBC 6 Music
“Brilliant – love this sound! If you want to get a bit of early summer, then get this in your ear-holes!” Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music
“Jon Lewis and Jah-man Aggrey play guitar and percussion respectively but sound more like a small combo due to their clever use of loops and no small amount of enthusiastic musicality and inventiveness. They mix profound lyrics with some lighter-hearted ditties and lively dance tracks.” Songlines Magazine
Sierra Leone/UK Afro-roots duo TwoManTing was formed in 2004 when Sierra Leonean drummer Jah-man Aggrey and guitarist Jon Lewis were playing together as part of a dance band, Le Cod Afrique, at venues such as Montreux Jazz Festival and WOMAD.
The duo immediately became a hit on the UK festival circuit with their brand of bouncy “Sunshine Afro-roots”. Shows have included Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Wilderness and Green Man Festivals to name but a few. Using guitar, live loops and percussion the duo creates a highly danceable full band sound and their reputation has earned them recent support slots with the likes of Tinariwen, The Oyster Band, Edward 2 and Dub Colossus. Their music is often featured on BBC Radio 3 and 6Music.
Shows feature palm-wine, acoustic dub and highlife grooves with thoughtful and thought-provoking lyrics on subjects ranging from childhood memories, political protest and er….duvets.
The latest album “Rhymes with Orange” draws on a range of sounds from 1970s Sierra Leone to 1980s UK punk through to the Soukous beats of the Congo.
The last act at 5.00 pm is the fabulous Dom Harrison Trio, joining Dominic are Clare Mactaggart on fiddle and Leon Hunt on banjo. Three very experienced musicians who on this occasion will be performing as a trio.
Dominic first appeared on the British Bluegrass scene as the ‘boy wonder’ in his parents’ band, Strange Relations. That was some years (and bands) ago.
Dominic has since gone on to play an important role in numerous musical projects including Southern Exposure, Daily Planet, Madigan and Growling Old Men. Surprisingly, this is his first time as a bandleader, steering the ship, choosing all the tunes and songs. His repertoire expands beyond bluegrass in two distinctly different directions – swing, on the one hand, Celtic on the other, but with Americana the consistent theme that brings it all together.
Claire, a versatile and accomplished musician, has been playing the violin since childhood. Classically trained, she has nearly 30 years of session playing behind her. Claire has worked with bands and artists including Portishead, Sam Brown, Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man, John Parish, Mick Harvey, and has credits on National Geographic soundtracks and most recently a David Attenborough BBC soundtrack as well as various feature films.
Leon makes his living playing alongside some of the world’s top musicians from a number of musical styles, backgrounds and disciplines. He has taken part in numerous ‘transatlantic’ projects and recordings, including Miles Apart (2004) Shuttle Diplomacy (2008) and Fishing Music (2009). These projects have included some of the biggest names in American traditional music.
Beyond proving his Bluegrass credentials, Leon has found himself in a diverse array of other musical settings; occasional live and/or recorded collaborations with Irish traditional music’s Michael McGoldrick, Lunasa, Cara Dillon, We Banjo 3 and Flook, African Kora virtuoso, Sekou Kieta, and English Folk singers, Kate Rusby and Seth Lakeman..
Leon has also enjoyed being part of several major theatre productions for The Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Rep, and The New Vic
I think these three talented musicians will create something very special for us and I can’t wait to hear them.
If you’re planning to stay for the duration, then, as previously mentioned, you’ll know that Nim’s Thai Kitchen will be in attendance. Delicious Thai food at very reasonable prices. Check out some of these fabulous reviews from their Facebook page.
“Best Thai food I’ve had in years!!! Absolutely delicious, super tasty and lots of yummy vegetables & tofu for us veggies. So pleased to have such a delicious Thai in the locality…. Thank you x” Victoria Gazzard
“Super tasty food from Nims once again. Can’t recommend them enough – each dish is so fragrant and flavoursome!” James Whitworth
“Some of if not the best Thai food I have ever eaten, the Tom Yum was well balanced and delicious, and the satay chicken was probably the best I’ve ever had. Definitely will return! “ Dom Harper
In terms of drinks, Nicholas and Łukasz of Clevedon Distillery fame will be there serving take–away gin and tonics along with the usual bottles to buy. If you’d like to know more about this business then check out my blog post Clevedon Distillery, which I created very shortly after they started out; there’s a link to their website at the end of the post.
And finally, Beard & Sabre, champions of hopped cider and well known in Queen’s Square for hosting the lovely Clevedon Twilight Market which brings together local musicians, producers and street food artisans and takes place every second Saturday of the month throughout the Summer. The first one is scheduled for Saturday 9th April and there’s an open invitation on their Facebook page inviting stall holders, musicians and performers to join them. https://www.facebook.com/ClevedonTwilightMarket
And there you have it! The Clevedon Music Festival 2021! A unique, diverse gathering of hugely talented musicians in a really relaxed, stress-free setting – no jostling crowds, no muddy fields and cold showers, no mile-long queues and no hefty prices for food and drink! Enjoy!