Monday, 27 August 2012

ROAF Fringe Programme grows. Diversity Web Launch. Dates ahead.

It’s busy days……………

So let’s start with the positives of the weeks.

The really good news is that, fanfare; we’ve finally made contact and met the good people behind the Diversity Festival, hopefully this will lead to firm co-operation between RAE and the Group. 

As a group the Diversity Festival are celebrating that they are all but a few pounds short of covering their budget requirements to deliver their show at The Rotherham Show (8th – 9th September).  The Diversity Web Site is up, and you can navigate your way there HERE 

Topping this year’s fantastic line up on the Diversity Stage is Nottingham Reggae Band “Ossie Gad and the Ites Band”, and dare I say, oh go on, all the usual suspects, of local Indie, Folk, Acoustic and ethnic roots music. 

There is much frantic work going on at the moment to get the publicity for the Diversity Stage out into the public domain, so if you see the links appearing on Facebook then please start sharing them, it’s only two weeks to the Show. 

Spiritual news too.  The Diversity Festival has been blessed by the Dalae Lama, which might explain how it is all coming together in such a short period of time.

And don’t forget the Folk and Jazz Tent as well.  Judy has put together another interesting programme for the Folkies on Saturday and I’ve put a special page on Acoustic Rotherham featuring the Acts HERE and a reminder that the “Singaround” Takes place on the Sunday afternoon in Park Wall Garden. (That’s the brick building close to the Museum.

The appearance of Buddy Wakefield proved beyond doubt that a quart can be poured into a pint pot; but only if one ignores fire regulations and the comfort of the audience.

Buddy Wakefield gave a super slick performance.  His work is both well observed, provocative, with a heavy dose of subtle humour, which suited my taste perfectly.   A bit like fine art, I know what I like, and Buddy Wakefield I liked very much.

It’s a real boost when one of Rotherham’s Art Groups brings one of the so called top names to the Borough, it can only enhance the reputation of Rotherham as being an active and lively Arts community.  What I object to is Genre showboating, which unfortunately we saw a bit of on Friday night.  Let’s not get carried away, only about 20% of Friday’s audience actually came from Rotherham, the rest came from home bases outside of the Borough. 

We’ll leave aside the stuff that none of the Art Groups are good at the moment, publicity!  And of course the Borough wide  problem of suitable venues……………………… there were though a few lessons to be learnt from the structure of the night in my view.  

It’s my experience that audiences investing time and money to see a specific artist rarely want to see the evening’s entertainment over decorated, especially when crushed into a room like sardines on steamy August evening. 

Our old mate from down under, whose patience was eventually pushed to the limit, might well have stayed mild tempered if the evening’s structure had simply been a local support for 30 mins or so – break for refreshments into the main performance.   It means evenings can start a little later and finish earlier before people need worry about buses and trains.

The same Australian gentleman may also have been saved from overheating if  those who were drawn from a hat to “read” actually understood the word “short”.  One such reader declared at the end of his work, “thanks for listening, that’s one of my longer poems” thus demonstrating zero respect to assembled audience and perhaps others who were denied a chance to read by his selfishness.  

For those who missed the exit from The Bridge of the Australian might have been amused to hear his rant about white middle class up their ar** hot air merchants.   I thought it best not to comment, having left my walking stick inside the building.

It’s little things like that which can spoil an evening.   Go HERE to find Buddy’s Web Site

And on to the latest from The Fringe Festival desk.

The right venue has been found…………….   This show was not an easy one to place because of the mixed nature of the content, but it’s a goodie.  So on the 30th October , at THE CHARTERS, will be John McCullagh -  John Lennon McCullagh –  Phil Sinclair – and a really special bonus Alan McGee the founder of “Creation Records” doing a special disco spot of the best in Indie.  We might also throw in a Band for good measure.    Tickets will be strictly limited so when you see that they are on sale get in quick £5 and £2.50 concessions.

On the 19th October (it’s a Friday) we’ve a Special one man Show presentation, with Tina McKivett performing the work joint written with Matt Hegarty, “A Poor Prospect: Tales From the Workhouse” providing an insight into life in the Workhouse, in words and music.  Extremely powerful, with a touch of humour.   On the same night we present Stan Skinny performing his knock out one man show “The Tesco Chain Store Massacre”.  (“Didn’t stop laughing for 50 minutes” The Masher)  An insight into Workhouse of the modern era.    Provisionally on the Diary for the Old Market Gallery.  Tickets £5 and £2.50 concessions.  Another night sure to sale out, so watch out for ticket availability information. 

We hope to make a start on putting together the Old Market Gallery Shows, with Paul Pearson on a Wednesday and David Kidman on a Saturday Brunch time very soon.

Also watch this space for more Shows coming onto the Diary very soon and some interesting visual arts news.

You can keep up to date with all the confirmed new dates HERE

Just to remind folks that the Rotherham Busking Day is 29th September.  Registration can be made up to the minute, but obviously it would also be useful for us to know if you’re intending to come and play, and your likely available times.  All you need do is Email HERE or use the online form HERE

It’s going to be a cracker of a Month.

 The new Land Lord has unlocked the doors of The Bridge, and seemingly put out a frightening Black Board declaring “Karaoke Here  on Friday 31st  Yikes.   It’s not an event you will discover within our Listings pages………………   or is that being artistically a “snob”? 

There was a rumour circulating that all live Saturday Gigs at The Bridge had been cancelled, and some Bands have been announcing that their date is now off.  WE ARE ASSURED THAT ALL GIGS GO AHEAD AS PLANNED.   However, the Land Lord says that he does not have a Diary of the Gigs booked beyond August, and would appreciate Bands popping in to confirm their date.

The sad sight of the For Sale signs going up outside of SNAFU was seen this week, so it’s no longer a strong rumour.   I’ve spotted that The Turf is again on the market; apparently both are owned by the same Chap.  Clearly another person who is finding the returns delivered by the Town Centre Pub Trade to be less than profitable.

Good to see so many people having survived the Whitby experience.  Everyone in seemingly in good singing voice. 

Been a bit of activity on Facebook to.   The main concern being something that I have mentioned in previous years, namely the lack of any meaningful information on the Whitby Festival.  In my humble view it’s the one thing that Whitby is so bad at and other Festivals so good at.  No maps of the Festival area of the Town showing the main session venues, no information concerning where the line ups at the various venues etc..  The Official reply is that Programme Sales make up 20% of the Festival’s income.  Yes that’s £5 per programme.  But then many have said that they didn’t have a clue where to buy a programme, let alone find the Official Information Centre where they had been placed. 

Yes that’s £5 a programme friends – and I was being criticised for £1.50! 

My feeling is that the cost of the programme and the lack of immediate information on line makes it very difficult for the casual tourist or a day only folkie to get involved in the Festival.   And let’s not forget, that for some of us thrown onto the State for a few coppers, £5 remains quite a lot of money for a book of adverts and few bits of information.  Perhaps a more commercial use of the Web Site might be the answer to any loss of income caused by a drop in sales if more information and detail were placed on the site.  Just my view though, but one shared.

I also noticed that post Festival, Ray Padgett is warning that you need to be booking accommodation to be sure of finding a roof and bed in 2013.  I should take heed as Ray will tell you, he is rarely wrong.

Next Saturday is Fun Fest, a Community Festival at Eastwood on the Eldon Road Playing Fields.  This is the seventh year it has been staged and seems to get more ambitious every year.  It all starts at 12:00 noon so fingers crossed for a day filled with Sunshine.  See the poster for all the details.  Who knows, the Masher might even be spotted mincing around the Park. 

This next week is always a bit like after The Lord Mayor’s Show, as we move into the back to School time, having had such an intense period of activity.  You young ones and Teachers will have that tingle of excitement as you prepare for the new academic year, if you have not already started it.  This normally means that Clubs and hobbies get put onto the back boiler for a week or so until the routines are re-established.   So good luck to you all. 

However all the usual Clubs and sessions will be out there for folks with the time to go out to play.   See the Listings Page HERE

A few dates for the Diary.  This Wednesday, 29th August Point Blank Theatre and ROAR are having an Open Evening thing at 25 Wellgate, Rotherham.   From what I understand, and I could be a million miles off target here, but Point Blank and ROAR are collaborating on the use of a currently disused Shop.  They are looking for creative ideas and everyone is invited to go along and stick their noses into Project.

ROAR are also promoting the next in their series of Personal Development Seminars for Artists.  This one on the really creative subject of Tax.   You’ll need to Register your interest with Matt HERE for this event on 13th September.

There’s couple of other ROAR events which we’ll handle nearer the time.

And it’s the last full wee where you’ll be able to see the Fabulous Sound Machines at The Old Market Gallery.  If it’s an event that you’ve missed up to now, then get yourself down to have a play with some interesting musical instrumentS.

And whatever you're doing this week, have fun, support local artists and KEEP IT LIVE.


  1. Re. Whitby. Yes, Ray is correct. Last year we tried to re-book the flat we'd been in that week on the day we got back. Booked already! This year we booked for next year while we were there.

    As for the program, it IS worth a fiver because it has a comprehensive list of all the hundreds of events and their locations plus info about the artists and the essential map. having said that, though, people are correct in that finding one can be a toil unless you are in the know.

    Now, some would say that the fact one can purchase a program via the website should prevent problems for people but ... look, I'm all for preserving the traditions and all but I don't even own a cheque book any more and there is something deep inside the 21st century me that means I just can't bring myself to send a stamped addressed envelope!

    I would suggest that, if the organisers insist on not offering more info on the website (and I fully understand and respect their reasoning behind this), then they should, at the very least, get something like a paypal account so that they can accept online payment.

  2. Good point Jack's Rake. There's the profit in one Band... lol

  3. Haha... I've crystalised my thoughs on the great Karaoke debate... and blogged them!