Monday, 16 December 2013

Great times. More to Come. News Blog

Can you believe it?   Two months have passed since the last Blog!  Yikes……….  And so much has happened.  

Where to start to catch up with myself?

Let’s start with Live at The Trades.   The Autumn / Winter programme has gone from strength to strength, with amazing support from the music lovers of Rotherham, whom have bought tickets to see some of the best Regional Bands around.  Good news for the Live at The Trades project is that we have averaged well over the targeted audience numbers demanded by the Club Management.

Week nights are not good though, our two arm twisted experiments on a Friday night with well-known and established Club acts were not rousing successes and Internationally acclaimed Billy Walton Band drew very few people on what was a wet Tuesday night. 

RAE have promoted under the Live at The Trades an amazing range of music, from the Staying Alive Bee Gees tribute to the hard rock of Hellbent Forever’s tribute to Judas Priest.   We’ve promoted commercial covers rock with Lovehunter’s tribute to Whitesnake, through to an evening of local bands Headlined by Goat Leaf.   All with equal success.

Of course we have been hindered by the fact that we have been unable to publicise our events affectively as the Club had consistently refused until very recently to allow adverts in The Advertiser, broadly recognised as the place to be seen.

Our evaluations of the evenings show that there is a hard core of around 15 – 20 who will come to most of our events, but that in the main, unlike the normal Club audience, we bring in a majority of new people depending upon the music or act appearing.   Another strange thing is the number of people coming who thought that The Trades was closed!!   It shows that we need to double our efforts to get our message across. 

We are mindful that our evenings have to be of the highest quality as we are the only venue where the public is being asked to buy tickets – we do not have the luxury that other promoters have of bar revenue to subsidise any mistakes we might make.   However, when we have put on a free event on, and there have been several throughout the year to meet our commitment to the venue’s Management they have fallen flat on their face in terms of audience numbers. 

We finish our Autumn / Winter programme on Saturday 21st when we host the second of our Parties, an extravagant 80’s night with fantastic Tribute Band, The Neurythmics and former Adam and Eve (a legendary Rotherham venue of yesteryear) DJ creating a great Christmas atmosphere.  Tickets available from The Trades, The Drop In Centre and Online – but book quick because the tickets are going fast.  I am holding only a limited number for on the door sales.  And there’s a raffle – top prize a Season Ticket to our Winter Spring Programme, worth £60 (£75 without season purchase discount) , and there are some top nights coming.

After the Neurythmics we’re taking a short break for the Christmas and New Year festivities but we’re back in mid-January with “1MASSIVE  An evening of epic enjoyment”.  Once again RAE is at the cutting edge of music with this fund raiser as it falls outside of our normal demographic and genre expectation.    Tickets are £3 and will be available from the Drop In and Trades just before Christmas or Online HERE from next week.  

And then we’re into our Winter / Spring Programme – wow.  We kick off with arguably the best Queen Tribute Band on the European circuit; tickets have been priced at “bargain” levels to celebrate the start of the Live at The Trades new season.   We have some of the best local Bands, only amazing tribute Bands, and some vintage class in the form of a return visit from Chris Slade’s Time Line and Lena Lovich making a Rotherham debut.   The full programme can be seen HERE and some tickets are already available from the Drop In / The Trades and Online HERE

In fact on Saturday nights the transfer of audiences between The Bridge and The Trades and visa versa has been great to see.  

While I’ve been away from the key board it’s worth noting that SNAFU has closed and then relocated and opened again.   A visit from me looks a little unlikely, in fact any disabled person is going to have the devil’s own job to get in (unless they have a muscular friend who can carry them up numerous flights of stairs)  I feel sorry for Bands who have to get their kit up to the new venue.  But it’s great that Rotherham has not lost a venue. 

In fact we’ve gained one, as the Mail Coach is to feature Bands on Friday nights – and by all accounts when The Cutlers re-opens that too will be featuring live music. 

And well done Tony Gooder’s Goodwin, whom has successfully launched the Pitman Poets Open Mic Night at the Mexborough Concertina Club.  The next time that the Club will be coming to the surface is  16th January.               Full details HERE

Acoustic music – yes acoustic music.    Those  who have been with me long enough will remember those days when this Blog was full of nothing but Acoustic news as I travelled around terrifying the Open Mics and Folk Clubs of South Yorkshire.   Well I have news.   Touch wood, but someone has volunteered to take over the organisation of Acoustic Rotherham – more news about that soon.  The other good news is that the monthly Acoustic Warm Down at the Titans Club, featuring the brilliant Swansong Acoustic as hosts is gaining in popularity every month.  December 29th the Club will be functioning as usual with the Special Guest being Jake Sharpe. 

If you would like to be considered to play at the Acoustic Rotherham 26th January, then please contact us HERE.  According to my fingers we have around three places left.

There’s been another influx of fresh blood into the RAE general organisation, the result, changes galore. 

The Drop In Centre, 25 Wellgate is now open SIX days a week.  Hours remain 11 – 3, although on Tuesday and Wednesday it will open and close a little earlier, and on Saturdays, it may close at 2:00pm on Live at The Trades nights. 

Besides our now established Craft Workshops, we now offer budget Guitar Lessons and other Workshops.  We also have a serious Amateur Photographic Club, “Snappers” who will meet on occasional Saturdays.  

The look of the Drop In will be changing quite a bit over the Christmas / New Year period.  We hope to have Phil Padfield’s excellent  spray painting work created during the Rotherham Street Arts Festival up onto a wall where everyone will be able to admire it.   Who knows we might even have a bit of a Party when it is done.

And that’s not the only thing that will be changing.   Our network of Web Sites will be undergoing major surgery and a facelift.  While the look of the sites have changed from time to time I’ve not weeded the sites very much nor organised information into a more obvious home.  Don’t worry you’ll be introduced to the changes as they happen –  if you have a favourite or useful page that you would like us to keep then please Email us HERE

In the meantime, for those searching out that perfect stocking filler for the “folkie” in your life are bound to find something to tickle the old ear buds amongst David Kidman’s bumper Christmas Review Collection which you can find HERE

Our association with the wordsmiths of Rotherham continues and you’ll find a magnificent Christmas Word Pit HERE – we even have contributions from the USA…………….   Word Pit goes International

Slamfest planning is well underway.   Our detailed guide to advertising at the event can be found HERE or if you would like to become a sponsor of the Event you can find out about the packages available HERE

We have already announced the headline acts for the Clifton Park stages.    Ed Tenpole Tudor Pole and Eddie and The Hotrods and I can promise that our line up for the Saturday is just as exciting, but you have to wait for our Mick to make the announcement.   These folks are supported by one of the best line ups of local Bands that we one can imagine; in fact we have been so inundated with requests to play that it has been hard fitting everyone in.   Mick tells me that he’ll be finding a stage for those not on the main stages though so never fear, any Rotherham Band wanting to play at the Festival will get the chance.

We need volunteers though to help with the Management of the event so contact us HERE if you want to be part of this great weekend.

We have a full Volunteer Training Programme under development, which we hope will cover all the major events with which RAE will be involved in during 2014.  Amanda’s Blinds will be Sponsoring Volunteers in 2014.

The Rotherham Culture Group has undergone some changes following it’s AGM.   Chair for 2011/13 Sameer has run away to Manchester, and will be greatly missed amongst the Arts community in Rotherham; Dad Hamid has a new time consuming project at work and so has surrendered the Web Site duties; and Nameer had resigned his Treasurers role earlier in the year.  All had done a super job in moving the Culture Group forward. 

ROMPs Sharon has taken up the financial role, Sylwia (RAE / Diamond Velocity) has taken on the Secretaries job and I’ve taken the Chair until the Group has settled down again.

This transition period for the Rotherham Culture Group is going to be crucial to it’s future viability and also in defining through the dissemination of services to the multi-cultural art Communities in Rotherham. 

The next meeting of The Rotherham Culture Group is on Monday 6th January (2014) at 4:30pm at MyPlace on St.Annes.  It’s open to all and the Agenda is already looking towards The Diversity Festival at The Rotherham Show in September. 

If you think that you would like to be involved in a multi-cultural Group forging artistic links across the Communities in Rotherham then we want to hear from you then Email HERE for more information. 

As suggested above, RAE are launching a Season Ticket for the 2014 Live at The Trades Winter / Spring Programme.  The £60 price tag represents a 20% saving on ticket face values – so a worthwhile investment.   Available from the Drop In Centre. Or Email HERE

Everything that I know of pre and post-Christmas can be found on the December listing page HERE, including a link to the excellent Rotherham Civic Pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, ticket Office.  Tickets appear to be selling very fast so I’d get my booking in now.  

And that just about wraps it all up, except to push you towards shopping local for those Christmas gifts, remember it’s FREE PARKING in Rotherham up to Christmas.  Why not also pop in to Drop In, we’ve got CDs for sale from local Bands, and Poetry Books and some great Art, + NEW in the Old Town Hall building many of the crafters associated with RAE are selling their work in Something Special, along with some other fine craft gifts. 

That’s it for this one. 

Whatever you are doing, have fun, support your local artists, and KEEP IT LIVE

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Ups, Downs, Joys and Knocks and Plenty of Good stuff to Come


So much seems to have happened since I last got my fingers working on the keyboard, some of it good, some of it bad.

It had to happen, didn’t it?   No sooner had the ink dried on my last Blog and the “rant” about the local Band issue brought to a head by The Trades Management than everything was again thrown into the mixing pot by a fantastic show put on by Ian Huddleston, Live at The Trades which attracted a paying audience of well over 130 (inc. guest lists) and also helped us prove the market for a mixed genre show involving music and the spoken word.  

Credit to Ian for being brave enough to mix up the music with Ben Renwick representing the acoustic scene; Polybius provide an amazing set of high class electonicana  music; while Be The Revolution produced an amazing set launching their new EP which is now available on Amazon HERE  Rarer still there were people dancing.  

Spoken word was provided by Wayne Dyson, the Northern Poet, was making his debut as a performing poet.  Judging by the response to his offerings it will not be his last.  A really polished reading of some super writing.    And I hope it will not be long before son of Rotherham The Buddhist Punk is back in Rotherham to provide us with another reading of his great material. 

An unusual evening, a great success and five very different Rotherham acts demonstrating the depth of talent we have.    

So why the extra interest in this show of local talent to previous attempts to mount shows with local talent?   Answer –  each of the acts worked hard to promote the event along with RAE.   And why do tickets have to be sold?  Because the bands want paying and the infrastructure from sound to posters have to be paid for – of which sound is by far the biggest expense.  

And of course last Saturday we were treated to another amazing show from our local Metal legends ODS Saxon.    It was a great night with The Monte Carlo Safe Crackers coming out of retirement for a one off special, all more than ably supported by the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonigan – all the way from Barnsley.  

BSSVD have played Rotherham many times, and did comment that they had not realised that so many people lived in Rotherham.  A couple of cold lonely nights in The Bridge spring to mind. 

Our final Live at The Trades for October had us rocking to the music of the “Boss” through Rotherham’s very own Bruce Springsteen, Steve and the East Street Band, making their second visit.   There was a super turn out for the Band with people coming in from as far away as Mansfield to be part of the night.   The East Street Band is an established act travelling the Region performing their numbers. 

I’ve a lot of respect for Steve who is Department Head at our local College, as he is always looking for ways to provide students with real performance experience, and three of the Band members are either current or former students. 

Thanks to all the Bands above and all those who came out to support them. 

Not all good though.  

So tell me please – when was the last time that you went shopping in Tesco and discovered to your delight that they were advertising in their main window goods from Sainsbury and Aldi?  Never?  Well I think that would be a close approximate.

RAE prides itself upon being open to all organisations and we’ll post posters for most events, even those that are publicising dates that clash with our own. 

All we ask in return is that people should help us promote our events to their client base and co-operate by avoiding the promotion of similar genres upon dates we have already published.

You can imagine my surprise when this week Mick and I have had to take a heap of abuse from a Promoter and his cohorts for 1) Agreeing to put his event posters up – yes you read correctly, AGREEING, that in addition to the listing of his events on our Web Sites.  2). Simply requesting that we should avoid putting similar events on the same date, given that the venues were only 20 meters apart, in the interest of strengthening audiences for both venues.  

I also made reference to the complete “co-incidental” / “accidental” booking of events to Christmas which sees this Promoter’s events clashing with Live at The Trades nights, including a Friday which is not a normal date for LATT.   Strangely this Promoter apparently had not seen our published Autumn / Winter programme that we had published in June well before he decided to enter the Promotions arena again. 

However, his reply to my quite reasonable request was to throw his toys out of the pram. 

Respect and co-operation has to work both ways. 

We are not into a “mine is bigger than yours” argument at RAE, as our programme for Winter / Spring already demonstrates RAE has it’s own agenda for Live at The Trades and Slamfest where in addition to promoting some of the very best Bands playing out of Rotherham / South Yorkshire and providing the music lovers of Rotherham with some top class Nationally recognised Bands bringing the best of their genre to the Town. 

It’s not that we feel under pressure.  We know what went wrong with the Summer programme at The Trades and it won’t happen again and we’ll also aware of the problems we caused ourselves with a few of our promotions that failed to make the mark, this too will not happen again.   As said in the last Blog that is not to say we are deserting our local Band base, far from it as we are looking for suitable alternative venues in Rotherham  from where we can Promote the new cutting edge Bands who are seeking to build their fan base and get their music heard.

Our only interest is to build a strong vibrant live music environment across the Borough.  

Competition is good though, it keeps you on your toes and sharp and RAE Live at The Trades are in no way frightened by it, and if evidence is required RAE are in fact competing with itself on 22nd November when on the night Badness are playing Live at The Trades, we are also supporting Diamond Velocity at The Old Market Galley with their semi acoustic promotion.    

RAE does this and a lot more in Rotherham, including the Street Art Festival – Acoustic Rotherham and Slamfest mainly supported by a %  cut of Ticket sales and the Bank of Mick and Dick.  We take nothing from the Bands we Promote.  Neither do we rely upon Breweries / Landlords to subsidise or cover the cost of our Promotions unless in Free music pubs.   Of course the Free Music Pub event is always far easier to sell than a pay event, especially in South Yorkshire where because of the WMC market where Free music was and for those remaining, a stable method of selling beer. 

If it wasn’t clear before then I hope it is now. To keep in touch with everything that RAE is involved in go to our extensive Web Site HERE

When you put events on there always knockers, for some no matter what you do is wrong.   However, what upsets Mick and myself is the behind the hand stuff that goes on.  It always gets back to us.   What I say to these people is that if you have a problem with us come and talk to us, both Mick and I are always prepared to listen, doesn’t mean we’ll agree with you, but we will listen and put our side of the argument or provide proofs that you require.  

We can’t be friends with all – it’s a fact, you cannot create things without stepping on a few toes or upsetting people. 

I really hope that if the knockers have something positive to offer that they will come along to the Slamfest Open Meeting this Thursday at 8:00pm in The RAE Drop In Centre, where we will be discussing plans for 2014.   We need people to help Manage the Event, especially those with some experience. 

It was our week for it.  Another part of the Arts decided to have a go, this time we got a full public apology.   Again the allegations were based upon urban myth perpetuated by people who should know better, and we got a full apology that was accepted in wholly and we’ve even had a man hug on it.  So I will say again, and I know I cannot be loved by all, eggs have to be broken to make cakes, but if you have a problem with me or RAE or even with our main event Slamfest, come and talk to me.  Don’t let it fester or believe the rumour mill. 

But there has also been some excellent talk.  Once things were sorted I popped along to Lee’s (Bouncing Numbers) meeting at the Cornlaw Rhymer last Monday.   From the meeting it was suggested that we should start to find out what the feasibility of taking on the full lease for the Old Market Gallery might be.  RAE will be right behind this initiative and will provide help wherever we can. 

It’s interesting that in the same week that seeking finance for the Old Market Gallery was discussed Gallery Town – the people who put up the huge facsimiles’ of Master paintings and some local artists around Town, have advertised for what is essentially a fund raiser.   A coincidence?  This is full of problems for me.  I appreciate that Gallery Town has helped with the past two Busking events by adding the Urban Piano project and expanding activities this year to create a Street Arts Festival, BUT, if they have the money available to fund a full time role to raise funds then I think that it might be more usefully used to raise money for arts projects across the Borough and in full Partnership the all the other Arts organisations in Rotherham: indeed why not lead on the Old Market Gallery project? 

I have one other concern.  Gallery Town are the only organisation that has the financial clout to make this sort of appointment – and given it’s current funding source maybe has a duty to think about it’s impact upon other Arts Organisations. 

If you fancy applying for the job, go HERE  

Talking of the Old Market Gallery we are involved in helping Sylwia and Diamond Velocity mount their very special Concert at The Old Market Gallery on 22nd November.   Tickets are limited strictly to 100 for this semi acoustic Concert that will be filmed and recorded live by their Record Company.   It promises to be a feast of musical and visual rock and roll.   You can get tickets  from the Diamond Velocity site HERE  You can also reserve and place an order for tickets at the RAE Drop In Centre on Wellgate.  Tickets are only £5 and include a free download of the evening’s music.  This is going to be a great night, with Gav Roberts as host and loads of surprises. 

Live at The Trades takes a little two break before coming back for a very busy November,  check out the full programme HERE   Tickets on sale at The Drop In Centre,  The Trades or On Line HERE

Just after I had published the last Blog came the sad news that “The Rock” was leaving it’s home at the Wesley Hall, Maltby, and moving to an eventual resting place at The Ukrainian Centre in Doncaster.   Apparently the Club can no longer be sustained by the poor audience levels at Maltby.  For those who don’t know, The Rock was a top quality Music Club offering the best of Folk and Roots music, but audiences of 40 – 60 even with ticket prices of £10+ meant that the Club was simply not able to continue.    

More sad news.  The Chairman of the Rotherham Culture Group (Diversity Festival) will be leaving us from the AGM at the end of November.  Sameer has been a tireless worker in many capacities on the Rotherham Arts scene and his transfer to Manchester leaves Rotherham that little bit poorer.  I’m sure that we’ll be able to twist his arm, cross his palm with silver to come and make a noise with his drums come the Rotherham Show in 2014.

Unfortunately it times with the loss of Hamid to the Group due to special projects at RCAT and Nameer who has been the Groups Treasurer for many years due to a lack of time.  So it’ll be all change at the AGM.  The date of the AGM will be publicised soon. 

Rotherham Culture Group Meetings will now start at 5:00pm normally on the first Monday of the Month.

But better News of the Braithwell Club that has found a new home at THE SHEPPY,  GRANGE LANE, MALTBY   ROTHERHAM S66  7DN   John says that he will be testing the water for a couple of months before deciding if the Club has a future.    The Club runs the first Tuesday of each month.

One of the massive draw backs of this damned condition that I have is that a). I can’t drive to get out to open mics etc and b).  not having the energy to get out let alone be able to concentrate enough play my guitar for longer than two or three minutes.   This means I’m not getting to see the emerging acoustic and folk talent out there – which means booking acts for Acoustic Rotherham etc, is getting harder and harder.    The next ACOUSTIC ROTHERHAM is due on the 27th October.  2:30 – 5:30 pm.    Anyone wanting to play? please hold your hands up and volunteer by Emailing me HERE.  Or if someone who attends a lot of Acoustic events would like to act as a scout for Acoustic Rotherham please get in touch via the Email HERE

I also have guest spot at the monthly Titans Acoustic Warm Down hosted by Swansong Acoustic, on the same date 27th October from 8:00pm going free.  Volunteer quick. 

There’s plenty going on in and around Rotherham over the next couple of weeks and you can keep up to date by book marking the listings page HERE or find the events HERE   Just to say watch out for what might be one of Rotherham’s finest playing at The Bridge next week, Tom Killner – and judging by what he has recently been saying on his Facebook timeline this could be a rare appearance as he is planning to take his Band out and about on the road.  

Get Creative our crafting partners have published their fantastic programme of Workshops running up to Christmas - you can find the full programme HERE on The Drop In Centre pages.

Stop Press :  Carnival of Thieves CD Launch + an incredible support line up  and Lena Lovich added to Live at The Trades programme for 2014.   On line Tickets will soon be available.   Watch the Facebook page for more details. 

We’ve just heard that the Son’s El Roacho gig at The Titans Club on Friday has had to be postponed because a Band member has an injury.   They have been re-booked for the 31st January. 

But time to go………. Probably said more than enough.

Whatever you are doing this week have great fun, support your local artists and venues and Keep it LIVE. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

A packed Late September News Blog

Let’s see if I can get the News Blog underway.   Yes it’s much overdue because so much has happened, both good and not so good and there is much on the blocks awaiting nods from higher authorities.   And of course it wouldn’t be the News Blog without the odd bit of controversy, would it? 


Two or three short weeks of frantic activity to get this event up and running with Lizzy at RMBC taking most of the burden rushing around chasing artists, running workshops, and cajoling organisations to present programmes.  If anyone deserved a medal it is indeed Lizzy who went well beyond the call of duty on a occasions. 

The main lesson from this is that we really need to develop ideas early and put structures in place early.  Leaving things to the last minute is not an option and with changes being made to the way that events over a certain size are to be sanctioned in Rotherham from next year requiring a minimum six week lead in period from the point of the event being approved, then we are all going to have to get our acts in order.

Also late were the run-in Workshops and unfortunately under publicised, so many people simply did not know that the event was on.   

As far as the arts, crafts, music, and showmanship was concerned the event was a massive success.  Not easy pulling together so many arts organisations in Rotherham and getting commitment, ask one who knows, and Lizzy did this.   We had a number of Buskers on show, all new to the Busking event; Philip Padmore doing some brilliant spray painting in the Old Market Gallery, a piece of art that I hope will soon be installed within the Drop In Centre; Stilt walkers; a fire show; moving sculptures; and of course the theme of the day, Ferrits both live and created by Get Creative, the later proving very popular. 

On the negative side was the lack of people coming into the Town to check out the event.  There could have been many reasons, it being the Saturday before the big return to School / College etc.;  the big Hull Festival; poor local media coverage, with the exception of BBC Radio Sheffield; and poor / late publicity of the event.  I’m sure there are more. 

But I’m proud we part of this Festival and hope that it will be the first of many to come.  Let’s face it, it takes time to build Festival audiences.  

Photographs of the show can be found HERE


Well the weather held off nicely, the promised wind and rain held off nicely until the Monday following the event.

The RAE involvement centred around the “Diversity Festival”, put together by The Rotherham Culture Group. 

Get Creative fronted up providing Workshops with the Ferrets and the masks proving very popular. 

Once again though the organisation was plagued by late administration and structure.  I won’t go into details here. 

Unfortunately the acts did not get the publicity they deserved as final stage times and line-up was not fixed until late in the day, and once again I have tom ask if placing the “Headliners” at the end of the afternoon is such a good idea when the Show closes at 6:00pm – but hey what do I know.  

There were some fantastic and colourful performances to be seen, and of course I took full part in the Zomba interludes.    In more toned down mode there were some excellent poetry spots, Dwane Reads amongst them.  

Where Sameed got his energy from for the entire weekend I do not know.   So a well done to him, always good when a plan comes together.

Photographs from the show can be found HERE


Dwane Reads came to the Drop In Centre on the Saturday of the Rotherham Show to launch his new book and double CD “The Annoying Megaphone Pigeon” and dragged us all down into All Saints Square where he gave us a Master Class of an hour in Busking Poetry.  It was a simply brilliant performance, animated and demanding the attention of people.  All the RAE folks felt privileged to have witnessed the performance.

Dwane pulled quite a gathering during his outflow of words, causing people to stop and see what was going on so it was a shame that on several occasions kids were dragged away by parents unable to spend just a few moments indulging the interest of their charges.  I think it applied to one or two older males as well, the Wives wanting to get the shopping done.  If it was to avoid Dwane so they could rush off to the Rotherham Show they were to be disappointed as Dwane was to be found popping up all over the Show Ground as well as making two visits to the Diversity Festival Stage.

Dwane’s Book and Double CD can be bought from the RAE Drop In Centre for £5 each or £9:00 the two.  

You can find pictures of Dwane's visit HERE

Need to find the Drop In Centre – go HERE 


After what can only be described as a disappoint summer in terms of bums on seats for our presentations it was fantastic to set off on the Autumn and Winter program with a huge bang in the form of former AC/DC’s drummer Chris Slade, and his Timeline Band.  

This was a musical walk across very nearly five decades of music making from this innovative pro, who has worked with so many of the big names of music and rock. 

It was pleasing to see The Trades packed to the rafters with happy rockers, most of whom have paid ten quid to see the spectacle.   

With musicians on the Venue circuit it’s always difficult to know what to expect, but this guy was something else, showing patience and professionalism during the sound check which was unusual for the sound crew as they had to set up 16 drum mics.   He played a full two hours and fifteen minutes almost without a break.  He then spent two hours after the show talking, signing autographs, and having his picture taken.   What a really nice man and someone from whom many local bands could well learn a thing or two from.  Pictures HERE

The following week we put on three of South Yorkshires top indie Bands, a sure fire success at £3 a ticket one would have thought.   Unfortunately, not so.   The fifty odd who did turn out had a fantastic show to listen to, with Phil Sinclair, Searching for Sylvia, Muscat Blues Trio headlined by Dave Woodcock and the Dead Comedians.  

Following this RAE were called into The Trades for a friendly chat.   Our target had been to place an average of 100 bums on seats across all RAE promoted events at The Trades across 2013.  When there is only a turnout of thirty odd to see five of Rotherham’s finest for FREE then serious questions had to be asked of us.

We were already on it of course, there is nothing worse than staging good music shows to an audience of around fifty in a Concert Room that will hold close to 300, and with a couple of exceptions which we’ve been ordered to rectify our program for Autumn and Winter should take us close to our original target.  

Even the enforced change of venue of the Roger the Robot gig (a Band that has toured and supported The Artic Monkeys) to The Titans Club failed to make an impact.   Brilliant night of music with Blind Drivers in support, pity not more got to enjoy it.

However, this has meant compromise.   If we are maintain our association with The Trades we are no longer allowed to book local bands who have played for free within Rotherham in the six previous months.   Now, I can see one or two moving uneasily in their seats, “surely local bands are what RAE is about?”  they ask.  And yes indeed it is, and we are certainly not surrendering our grass roots position.  We will be using local Bands to support headliners that are of the standard required by The Trades Management.   We will also be featuring at least two celebrations of local music which will be made more potent by a strong Live at The Trades brand.   And that’s not forgetting an even stronger Slamfest for 2014 which will feature of course mainly local musicians and Bands. 

Also through 2014 you might well be surprised by the Bands and artists who may well be visiting The Trades to perform and run Workshops………….   That’s all in the Top Secret Folder for now, but can be sure that I’ll let it all slip once confirmations are in concrete.

But on the downside we’ve had to pull The Lambrettas Charity Concert at The Civic Theatre on 4th October.   There are a whole number of reasons for pulling – well there would be wouldn’t there be – but I’m not going into the nitty gritty this time.

So what’s coming up Live at The Trades.    Next Saturday 29th September, we have Ian Huddleston’s Be The Revolution launching their EP, with a full support program of poetry and music.  Tickets are only £3 Get them from the Trades - Drop In Centre or On Line HERE

On the 5th October we have ODS Saxon returning to rock The Trades, and what a support line up with The Monte Carlo Safe Crackers playing their first Gig after coming out of retirement and The Bar  Steward Sons of Val Doonigan.     Tickets are a very reasonable £6.  Get them from the Trades - Drop In Centre or On Line  HERE

The final October offering will be The East Street Band, with Steve Gasgoine bashing out his Bruce Springsteen, tickets are £5 on the door only or on line HERE 

All our program including The Night Train Burlesque Night in late November can be found HERE
Talking of Burlesque I popped along to Shelly’s Burlesque at the Trades.   Sorry to say that it was not supported in the numbers that the Promoters would have liked.  If Burlesque is to work then it needs atmosphere, and much like a few of the Live at The Trades shows, forty to fifty people in a 300 seater simply does not help.   However more work could have been done on the staging.  I know it might be nit picking but running with the House Lights up and using what is not the best House sound system simply does not help any presentation.   Good fun though, as Burlesque always is. 


Our Get Creative program of Workshops continues.  The next one is 25th September at 6:00pm where they will be working on basic knitting, if you check out the Drop In window you’ll find some examples of very smart knitted hand warmers.  The ferrets have all but disappeared, although I get that feeling that I’m being watched, so they may not all have gone. 

We have tickets for all the main Live At the Trades events available, along with some excellent local indie Band CDs from Punk to Folk and now poetry.   You’ll also get an eyeful of some excellent artwork and photographs. 

New to the Drop In  “Coolart” Workshops on a Tuesday morning at 11:00am.  A chance to learn how to draw and paint + some of the interesting theory that underpins much art. 

On 27th September we will be joining with many other Shops and Clubs by hosting a Big Coffee Morning for the McMillan Nurses Charity.   We’ll have cakes – bring your own if you so desire to sell for donations, music, workshops and I’m told surprises.  

The Drop In News can always be found HERE first.


October 27th is the date of the next Acoustic Rotherham Event.  If you would like a spot then please Email me HERE 

On 29th September, that’s next Sunday our tie in with the Titans will see the launch of a new Monthly acoustic session called “The Sunday Warm Down” hosted by Swansong Acoustic.   This is going to be based on the old Folk Club format, with a guest, in this case the wonderful Paul Pearson and Chris Treebeard, supported we hope by an army of Floor singers.    Best of all it’s a free Event.  You can find all the details HERE

The team are currently working on a series of top rated acoustic nights for Winter / Spring, so stand by your beds. 

While I have been trying to write this Blog up the good old Whitby Folk week has run it’s course.   For those who don’t know Whitby Folk Week is where every supporter of Folk Music in Yorkshire seems to head off east to the Fishing Town for an orgy of Folk music.  For obvious reasons I can no longer get to this event and so I rely upon my spies to keep me informed.  

In this case my old mate John has contributed and I finish this section with his tale from the Whitby Fringe

“From Your Roving Reporter...

a superb week of weather blessed the festival goers this year. The town was packed at the weekend but a little less busy from Monday, with some vacancies popping up in B&B windows. So no signs of the green shoots of recovery here, then.  On the other hand your correspondent was pleasantly surprised at being able to get a seat at some of the organised tune sessions (led by ‘proper’ musicians!) at The Dolphin, Fisherman’s Rowing Club and, gulp, Conservative club without having to queue for 20 minutes beforehand.

Singing was still well attended at The Station and Jeff Wright’s afternoon session at The Fleece but the non-stop Irish tune session at The Ship was noticeably absent much of the time – in fact the pub was totally empty one night. Up the hill The Elsinore (tunes) was also slack at times – you couldn’t get through the door last year. The Golden Lion and Black Swan had good mixed sessions going on when we called in.

The Middle Earth Tavern was a bit disappointing. As the last pub we passed on our long midnight trudge back to the flat, we would always pop in to see what was happening. Last year we usually re-emerged at 2 am after some excellent sessions. This year there were just as few seats available but many fewer musicians inside- it seemed less vibrant.  Plenty of pop/country stuff going on outside though, if that’s your cup of Lapsang Souchong.

Anyway a good time was had by all, with Whitby looking beautiful in the sun and even a German cruise ship tendering its passengers into the port. Then, as if to stop us having to return to South Yorkshire, the train broke down n Whitby station and we were stranded for 2 hours.

C’est la vie 


Oh yes indeedy!!  preparations for Slamfest 2014 have already started. 

But we need your input, and we certainly need your organisational skills in all usual Departments.   If you think that you have something to contribute well be holding a General Open Meeting to discuss Slamfest on 17th October, 8:00pm  at the Drop In Centre.  Hopefully we’ll organise a glass of wine for those who attend.


In these days when so many Working Men Clubs are closing it’s great to report that Rawmarsh Trades and Labour Club will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary on 2nd October with a special Club Concert night.   Congratulations to the Club. 

The Autumn / Winter ROAR Program was published last week I’ve linked it HERE  There’s some really interesting Workshops and briefings.

Also on the 2nd October is what looks to be a super project financed by The Co-operative called Sing Your Life.  This is an attempt to bring together all the cultural communities together to create a choir singing songs from all cultures.   The Choir will be lead by that Master of music Mr Mark Hearne.   I wish the project every success and you can find links to further details HERE

I thought he had been quiet, Rudi has emerged again to promote what looks to be a great Gala afternoon of live music at the Woodlands Club.   Looks as if virtually every established Band playing the Rotherham scene will be doing their bit for the Rotherham Hospice – everyone from Tom Killner to Blacktoad and a rare appearance of Steph Little………. It will be really good to see her out again. 

There’s a bit of an early finish, so why not pop along to the Woodlands and then head to the other side of Clifton Park for the Sunday Warm Down at The Titans Club, to play a few tunes or simply have a listen. 

Those supporters of the Monthly Club in Braithwell Folk Club will by now have discovered that yet another supportive venue has had to close – The Butchers Arms.   All a little potent for me beyond the sorrow at seeing another Pub close – The Butchers Arms saw the last performance of The Rawmarsh Mashers with Myke Masher in his customary place on my left wing.  We shared a great night with Paul Pearson, and the pubs Thursday hosts.  Strangely it was on dropping him off after that night that Myke gave me hug and thanked me, as if any thanks were necessary, for taking him out to some wonderful night of music.   We were never to speak again.  
And there we finish this Blog.   

Given the lateness of the month, I think we can take it that the Rotherham Open Arts Festival will not be taking place this year.   RAE had been planning a Fringe Festival to be fit around the ROAF, but this will not take place given that it's far too late to bid for our independent funding.  However, the fact is that I have still not been officially informed by RCC Ltd.  Perhaps it's OK for me to waste my time, but some are far to busy to pick up a phone or drop an Email to tell me something that I have been waiting at least five months to have news about, despite my asking. 

That aside it's a pity that the Festival has been rested for 2013, I hope we might be able to find some way of reactivating in 2014.   

Quick Links:    Acoustic Rotherham
                       Rotherham Art Events
                       Live At The Trades 

I hope to catch one or two of you out and about, but whatever you are doing over the next couple of weeks or whenever I can find the energy to hit the keys again, HAVE FUN, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ARTISTS AND KEEP IT LIVE

Apologies for the lack of pictures - there appears to be a problem uploading the photographs.