Good to hear from Adam Dempsey, organiser of many events at Bromham’s Social Club, and neighbouring bar,The Owl, which tragically caught fire last year, to tell me about a Coffee Morning and Family Fun Fete, to be geld on Saturday 6th August, from 10:30 – 1:30pm.
“I couldn’t decide wether to call it a Family Fun Day or a Fete,” he laughed, “I like alliteration so come up with Family Fun Fete!” Works for me.
Said “Family Fun Fete” will be held in the Clubhouse, a temporary building in lieu of The Owl/Social Centre rebuild.
There will be tea, coffee, cakes, etc, and outside will be a selection of fun activities and games, a bouncy castle, Giant snakes & ladders, bottle tombola, Mini Golf and more!
“These are the latest 2 ‘Things’ in my ’20 Years for 20 Things,” Adam explained, “to mark the 20th Anniversary of being diagnosed with Leukaemia, raising money for Young Lives vs Cancer (formally CLIC Sargent) and Ronald McDonald House in Bristol.” The total of “things” is building now, and included a and 100 mile walk over June and July.
Throughout August Adam will be virtually cycling the distance from Bromham to Land’s End (234 miles) on an exercise bike.
He’s planning various other events and challenges, culminating in a final shebang in November; The Big Ball, will be a black tie event in Melksham, where he hopes to announce rough totals raised for the two brilliant charities.
“I’ve also not been wearing any comedy/slogan/funny t-shirts at all,” he tells, “which doesn’t sound like much of a challenge I know but anyone who knows me will understand it is!”
But not all his challenges have been so strenuous as the walk or bike ride. Adam adds a little humour too. It started with a beard/head shave, and followed with an abstinence of crisps, his favourite snack!
Funny t-shirts was a passion of Adam’s I did note, way back when BromFest’s beer & cider festival was an annual must do. Always with a fantastic community spirit and great music lineup, it’s good to hear village life there is returning to normal since the tragic fire. We wish Adam all the best with this anazing fundraising effort. You can find out more about 20 Years for 20 Things, on his website HERE.
In a press release dated 24th September 2020, MP Danny Kruger claimed Boris Johnson had called upon him to report for government calls for a new era of ‘community power.’ This included “proposals to sustain the community spirit we saw during the lockdown.” He christened his paper, “Levelling up our communities,” a vision for “a more local, more human, less bureaucratic, less centralised society in which people are supported and empowered to play an active role in their neighbourhoods.”
As shpil it sounds a-okay, a far cry from a Conservative Party of yore set against the people it’s supposed to serve, a Conservative Party which, on 1st June 1985, ordered police to viciously attack a Peace Convoy, setting up the 1985 Stonehenge Free Festival. History recalls it “The Battle of the Beanfields,” any witness could better perceive it as a politicide massacre. Its aim, to eliminate categories of people who either chose to live their life on the road, happened to stumble across this way of life by unpreventable circumstance, or grew up nurtured in such an environment, for political advantages. As a blanket term we call them travellers.
But that’s all it is, a blanket term, there is no organised grouping anymore than people who own a home are assembled, therefore there is no reason to presume any individual classed as such is part of a joint ethos, a collective philosophy or tenet. Attitudes and opinions of such a grouping differ as vastly as those who live in a house, or a bungalow, or a flat. To note someone who lives in a flat breaking the law, is ludicrous for bungalow dwellers to make a sweeping generalisation that, ergo everyone who lives in a flat is therefore a law-breaker. Yet prejudge typecasting seems to be systematically accepted, ingrained and encouraged when focussed on travellers.
Hard to define exactly as an ethnic group, as while Romany Gypsies are bound into the stereotype, not all are such, so, calling the racist card is unwarranted, but it is a definite form of prejudice, which aimed at other groupings would be frowned upon. Yet how does Danny Kruger remember the Battle of the Beanfields on its anniversary this week? His office, fronted by, I might add, Rebecca Hudson, the journalist who first broke the news of the Salisbury poisonings and therefore a far more articulate professional than the mere meanderings of a milkman, put out a Facebook post condemning the actions of a traveller site in Bromham. Despite Bromham isn’t his jurisdiction, it is in the division of Wiltshire councillor Laura Mayes, though.
I asked Laura why it’s necessary for Danny Kruger to get involved with, what seems to me, to be a simple planning permission issue. After all, planning permission disputes must be a regular occurrence in the county, and there’s never a need to involve an MP. Laura responded, “the problem is that the planning activity is illegal – there is an Enforcement Notice and an Emergency Stop Notice and the owners have ignored them.”
Danny’s post included the explanation, “deliveries of hardcore were made to the field, breaching the Enforcement Notice. The clear expectation is that an illegal Traveller encampment is being created and an influx of caravans is now expected.” Hardly an “expectation,” rather speculation; a big difference. A speculation driven by the aforementioned ingrained prejudge, is my “expectation.” Fair game by his own criteria?
In discussion with Gazette & Herald reporter Kirsten Robertson, The Ward family say the delivery of hardcore is to form a bund, an embankment to control the flow of water. Face it, evidence that it’s not a plan to expand the site or allow more travellers onto it. In a heartfelt plea for peace Bridget Ward, 21, told the Gazette, “We just want to live in peace and become part of the community.”
Yet negative, often offensive comments and name-calling slurs flood social media coverage of the simple planning dispute. It doesn’t help bridge the divide when the council “recommends the public stay away from the site.” Neither does it help when an MP lashes out, the post calculatedly shared on only one local Facebook group, known for an absence of admin regulations and therefore being a highly opinionated group.
We should note, they are not residing illegally, the land was bought in 2014, with an article 4 direction on it, which makes it unsuitable for development anyway. Any attempt to improve the site has been refused permission, the adding of fences, planting of trees and creation of an equestrian area. Constant refusal of simple improvement plans, the hostility against them verbally, constitutes the notion they’re simply not wanted there. Where in Wiltshire would they be welcome?
Wiltshire Council own and manage just three residential Gypsy and Traveller sites, with a total capacity to accommodate fifty-one families, who, in contrary to popular belief, are subject to rent charges, Council tax and service charges for site, water and electricity. Across a whole county, it’s a failure compared with Essex, with twelve sites accommodating 188 families, Somerset has eighteen sites, seven sites in Berkshire, the list continues not forgoing Wiltshire Council looks to possibly sell the three sites they do own under part of the recently concluded Regulation 18 consultation to prepare a Gypsy and Traveller Development Plan Document.
While we should respect permissions for planning need to be made, and upheld, little is done to provide a legal alternative for travellers in the county. Coupled with the ramifications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which could see travellers facing a fine or prison if they set up unauthorised encampments rather than currently being a civil offence, Danny Kruger’s “levelling up our communities,” constitutes of the eradication of a way of life which has operated for centuries. In fact, pre-Neolithic age, we were all nomadic. Chew on that fat for a moment.
One comment added, “we don’t live in a lawless country,” yet when Danny illegally posted his campaign posters around polling stations, when he ignored lockdown regulations by failing to wear a mask on the train, when he allowed his dog to attack deer on Richmond Common, we brushed them under the carpet, I even defended the latter as an accident.
What about when the High Court said government acted unlawfully by failing to publish details of more than 500 Covid contracts, or abolishing the permit-free training scheme for doctors who qualified outside the United Kingdom or the rest of the European Union without proper consultation, or the case where it departed from the UK’s longstanding policy on opposing the death penalty in all circumstances? Need I continue? Why then, can we not give a little leeway here? Is a delivery of some hardcore to create a bund somehow more damaging to society as the examples given above?
The fact Danny’s offending Facebook post had a grammatical error I’d forgive a primary school pupil to overlook, “and a influx of caravans,” suggests this was not the calculated penning of a skilled journalist, rather a knee-jerk reaction handsome-faced Danny K needs to take a chill pill from before the silver spoon launches from his mouth.
And I say this because, the issue at hand is clearly overexposed by our prejudice, a presuppose striking fear into a family with a young child, for crying out loud, take a look at yourself! I plead you put the political matter aside for just a moment and think outside the box, would you try defend yourself given such hostilities towards you? Is it any different from Afrikaans erecting steel gates and barbed wire to protect their property in apartheid-era Johannesburg? How you can expect travellers not to be slightly anarchic when faced with such exacerbation against them?
Especially in this, quite honestly, trivial instant, far from the given stereotype, where we have a local family simply pleading to blend in and be part of a community. Bridget tells me, “I asked him [Danny Kruger] to stand up for us, against the hate and racism, and to sign the pledge card, but he has just ignored that. We just feel helpless.” This isn’t about hardcore delivery at all, is it?
What do you get out of this Danny, a permit to touch Pritti’s petticoat?! Hardly the “proposals to sustain the community spirit we saw during the lockdown,” is it, mucker?!
Whether he’s sofa slouching with his one hand down his pants the other clasping a beer, watching classic Euro finals and yelping like it’s happening now, or digging up weeds in the garden, proudly displaying his builder’s butt, don’t forget your Dad this Father’s Day…..
ON SUNDAY! I confess, I did one year, and live to regret it now he’s gone; insert sad emoji. Though it’s a man-thing for banter to ride over showing our emotion, if you’re not a dad yourself you’re excused for thinking it’s all a commercial con and your dad doesn’t want the attention, and all they did, after all, was the naughty bit. You are wrong though, I’m afraid. It does mean a lot to those dadas and father figures, believe me.
Remember we live to embarrass you in public, that’s why we have those sandals and oversized khaki shorts, but we do it because we care! So, you’ve a few more days to get it together, shops are reopening, I urge you keep it local, but what can you do to show him, through all his faults, you love and respect that balding misunderstood numpty?! Here’s some ideas….
Cards and Gifts!
Yep, easy one, innit? Top of the list though. Keeping it local, nip down the High Street, Devizes, and find Expressions Card Shop. They have reopened, and have all the cards, balloons and gifts you could ever want to shower your pops with.
Another cool place to check out, antiques and vintage shop Ele’s Emporium in Seend, they suggest some homemade beer coasters which would save your mum having to moan at him for beer rings on her bespoke coffee table; you know he’ll try to blame it on you otherwise!
Or make something yourself, the Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre have everything the creative need to construct something truly unique. The scrapstore is a wonderful, eco-friendly charity whose aim is to promote learning through creativity. And if it all fails and you’re covered head-to-toe in double-sided sticky tape, gifts can also be found in Barty’s next door at Bowden Hill, Lacock!
Buy him a Record or CD!
Nip to Vinyl Realm, even if you don’t know what music the old fellow is into; experts Pete and Jacki will be able to advise, and nab yourself a long player that’ll take your dear ol’ pops back to a far off time when he was young; just take a step back if he attempts to belt out Cracklin’ Rosie or show off his dad-dancing; it’s never a pretty sight!
Beer and Snacks!
I admit some Batman socks once got me a tad excited, but usually socks are a cliché yawn. Beer, that’s what he wants, and snacks to go with it. The Vaults in Devizes and Piggy Bank in Calne offer Father’s Day boxes of such necessities, and they’ll deliver them on Saturday or Sunday. Order on their respective websites and you can benefit from the amusement of watching Dad get sloshed.
The Southgate is also available to get take-outs, might be a plan; check with your favourite boozer to see who’s also doing take-outs; Dads are raring to get back down the pub, so you could be onto a winner with this idea. Mathematically the equation is thus: Dad + Beer = Happy Dad.
Tea for Two!
I don’t know about you, but I’m happy with any food, and I’m a dad; must be something in that notion. The Happy Food Company of Devizes have put together a special afternoon tea for Father’s Day, fresh delivered to your door on the day.
Cake selection, Coffee and walnut cake, Guinness and chocolate cake, large pork sausage roll, scone, jam and cream, loose tea from teainc and at £20 for 2. Mum will love it too, even if it’s not her special day!
A Takeaway Roast Dinner!
Who’s got one of those Dads who is always in the kitchen? Yeah, thought not! Still, might benefit him if mum’s in a good mood; get a takeaway roast dinner from the Pelican in Devizes; wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Best way to a man’s heart. Roast pork, chicken or stuffed Portabello mushroom with blue cheese sauce and lovely home made desserts. Vouchers can be redeemed for up to one year, and they have Take Away Mid Week Specials from around the World!
While we’re on grub, Dads love ‘em, simple as. Savannah’s Sweets in Devizes have reopened, and still do takeaway orders for home delivery. It’s an idea, save him nicking your Haribo, after all.
Every Dad is, in some way, like Yogi Bear, and love a pic-a-nic. Over at Lower Farm, home to Rowdey Cows and Spotty Dogs, they’re having a socially distancing picnic; the shop has everything you need to make it as swanky as you like, and the café is open for teas, coffees, and of course, it goes without saying; ice cream! The Spotty Dog also has a male grooming gift sets as a secondary idea. So, if your dad has adopted the Planet of the Apes look over the lockdown, this might be the very idea.
Have a BBQ!
Dad and barbeque, like horse and carriage. Butchers HF Stiles in Bromham have a mixed grill pack especially for Father’s Day
Avebury’s Gourmet Goat Farmer have some gift bags for a delicious goat-based barbeque. Complete with a goat-themed greetings card, and goat burgers, brioche rolls, goats’ cheese, and a selection of locally sourced salad items, the first 10 orders get a FREE bottle of Ramsbury Brewery beer thrown in too!
Amelia-Rose Creations in Trowbridge has lots of nice ideas, including some brilliant framed worded pieces with Lego superheroes on, get in faster than a speeding brick train though.
Sugar & Spice Bows is another great online crafter with some idea for Father’s Day, their keyrings might not get to you on time, but would be make a great belated gift!
And never forget our Naz at Cositas Bonitas, crazy little craft shop in Sidmouth Street, Devizes. While I cannot see they’ve anything specific for Dads, they’ll guaranteed to have endless ideas in there.
Get a book from a local author!
No point in doing this article without a shameless slice of self-promotion! Buy a paperback or Kindle version of the five-star rated sci-fi comedy, White Space Van Man by yours truly; it’s right up his street, lots of rude words, and it’ll keep him quiet for weeks, save for a perpetual bout of belly-laughs!
Let him eat CAKE!
Devizes-based TrayCake will deliver a Father’s Day treat box to a five-mile radius and, mate, I’ve checked their website, only browsed the photos, but I’ll be dribbling for the foreseeable future.
Secretly though I know what I’m getting, thus is the plight of being father, the invoice was emailed to me! I wasn’t going to mention it, because within half-hour of going online they were sold out. The good news is though, The Gourmet Brownie Kitchen at Poulshot Lodge has a new batch of Father’s Day Treat boxes. OMG and other such exclamation abbreviations, had some of these at the Devizes Food Festival; see, my kids know how to push my buttons. Although I’ll probably have lock myself in the downstairs loo if I think I’ve any chance of stuffing them all!
My work here is done. For the good of all Dad’s out there, the ones who deserve more than a Lynx deodorant set, but probably need one, have a great day! See you down the pub soon, alright?!
Had a nice chat with Sheer Music’s Kieran about acts, live streaming, future plans, and gardening this week… what am I on about? It’s always nice to chat with Mr Moore….
If the beginnings of Devizine was a learning curve in which I realised I’d bitten off more than I could chew, one might be mistaken to think now we must’ve covered every musical talent in Devizes, if not Wiltshire. Not so, as a post from Kieran J Moore of Sheer Music incited me to shudder. Why have I not heard the name Joe Edwards before?
Name does ring a bell, must have posted about the cancelled album launch at the Wharf which would’ve happened this week. Well-travelled, Joe has been touring through Europe as a drummer for Australian band The Wishing Well, plus his debut solo album Keep on Running was mixed in Nashville and mastered in New Jersey with Grammy nominee Kim Rosen; might explain it, and if I have encountered the name I had no idea how renowned and awesome he is.
Hoisted in the help of Kieran for this then, to insure I’m bought up to date; there is a new cool in Devizes, and I’m going to prompt him about it. The initial message on any chat window these days is enquiring of wellbeing, understandably. Mr Moore is positively beaming, “[I’m] getting so much done and achieved,” he explained.
I replied with a question, “Like the gardening?!”
A boundless list of household chores followed which included, “how to programme moving head lights, learned how to live stream, learned how to record and edit videos.” Bless, that’s our Kieran, dedicated to fetching us the best live music and promoting local artists, no matter what the era brings us; you have to tip your hat to the man. Seeking permissions to release sets Sheer recorded from 2012-14 and bootleg them onto Bandcamp being the latest venture.
What of the live stream though? My Virtual Festival started with good intentions, but there’s been so much of it it’s hard to keep up, some may not be appreciative my sharing of their stream; it’s a close call. In these frustrating times, I asked Mr M if he felt “people are going to get bored with the live stream.” I often feel it doesn’t make up for the real thing and enforces my sadness that we’re missing out on live music. Yeah, I know, right; then I apologised for my despondent attitude.
It’s a close call because artists earning from a live stream is problematic. Some have found methods of a pay-per-view stream, but many rely on a PayPal donation option. While I sympathise with the artists, also I ponder if charging for a live stream is justified when Wi-Fi can drop out, be overloaded, etc. “So,” Kieran added, “live streams have become a necessary evil, in the sense that everyone is doing them, and it’s really difficult to earn from them. Let’s be clear, live streams will never replace the real thing. No need to go into detail, we all know why, it just won’t.”
He believes they have a place in the future, though, after lockdown has ended. “You’d be a dolt not to recognise it! Whilst it may be difficult and lacking for most of us, these streams have enabled many people who wouldn’t usually be present, be it social anxiety, disability, or a myriad of other reasons, be able to take part and fell part of something.”
I gave mention to a stream-festival by Swindon Shuffle, it doesn’t have to be geographically grounded, organisers said people attended as far away as Mexico, and this increases the fandom of the performers to international levels.
In these few short weeks, we’ve seen musicians getting more creative with the concept, nice to see Benji & Hibbs sitting around a fire rather than indoors,Jon Amor climbed onto his roof last night, and Phil Cooper is getting tech with green screens for a Lost Trades stream on 1st May. “A lot of people have invested in the technology,” Kieran expressed, “so why would it stop after? It’s just daft, of course it won’t. Also, the reality is that venues won’t be back and open before 2021. The possibilities are currently being peddled by MVT,” He continued, “and it’s being taken seriously.”
I felt the need to apologise for my grumpiness, it had been a long day at the diary. I would, however, like to see artists getting some releases out rather than live stream, but accept that’s not easy either, for a band, with social distancing. Talking blues though, surely some the most poignant music, particularly blues, comes from feelings of isolation, depression and disappointment; from teenage anguish or working on the chain gang! The lockdown should deliver some interesting content.
Talking local blues, though, on top of Joe Edwards, who after a listen to I’m liking to a raw George Harrison or Clapton, what else has Kieran got for me? “Jon Amor likens Joe to JJ Cale, which is nice,” he compliments. “Then we have Little Geneva, who actually do covers, but they’re so obscure, people don’t know them. I actually like that slant.” Ticked that box some time ago, Little Geneva playing the Cellar Bar was knockout, and I’ve nothing but praise for their authentic blues sound.
This said, Little Geneva have since recruited female singer Mariam Maz to add to their already talented gang, and this I have to witness.
“Then we have Will Blake in Bromham, a honky-tonk 12-bar type of guy,” but I’ve recently bookmarked Will too, sharing this soul cover multi-instrumentalist’s Isolation Sessions, which see him on piano in the middle of a Bromham field giving us a marvellous rendition of Man in the Mirror et all.
And finally, Kieran aims one I don’t know at me, a “swampy and dirty” contemporary Trowbridge four-piece, Sober Son. This is hard-hitting rock and one to watch. Looking to the future, where I predict an aching aftermath for concerts and gigs, many might frivolously suggest we have the party of parties, but Kieran is a doer. Can I spill the beans on his “overall idea?” “Say it’s currently Sheer’s intention to host an event!” he informs, yeah, will do.
Hosting a “Devizes Music Festival” is said idea, when the lock down is over, and to do a multi-stage bill, across the whole venue. Kieran’s dream team would consist of Jon Amor, Sober Son, Little Geneva, Joe Edwards, Will Blake and The Lost Trades, “etc.” I’m saying no more, not to get over-excited too soon, we’ve a long way to go with the lockdown; I could be a pensioner by then and only wishing to listen to Pat Boone!
Ah bugger, back to the now; do like the Sheer Music Facebook page, currently dedicated to bringing you the best local live streams, “the necessary evil.” But most importantly is the notion I’ve said before and will no doubt say again, unless you want to pop the bubbles of musician’s aspirations and see them pushing supermarket trollies, it’s vital you check out local artists and buy their music, be it from Bandcamp, streaming sites, their sites or send Vinyl Realm a message, as they stock a selection of local music too.
A commendable effort by two Bromham girls to give fifty goodie bags to the homeless this Christmas is quickly growing worthy attention. A massive congratulations goes to these kind year 6 girls, Greg and Al, for such a wonderful thought and their determination to organise this.
Still, they need donations of many items on their homemade list, including cosmetic products like toothbrushes, deodorant and soap, to warm clothes, torches and treats such as chocolate! In fact, I think they’ve thought of a number of valid items most us probably wouldn’t have!
They’ve set up a Facebook page for their campaign, with details on how to donate. Collections are possible, but the girls have set up donation stations at St Nicholas in Bromham and at Beezes in the Ginnel, Devizes. They also sought other possible places for these stations in various local villages.
So, can we give this wonderful idea a boost? I know we can! Start by giving their Facebook page a “like,” and see what you are able to donate, please. Thank you! We wish all the best with this brilliant idea, girls and hope that you will tell us how it went after Christmas; you are both on the good list, that’s for sure! Remember though, have a great Christmas yourself too!
Taste of Wiltshire Food Fest is full, you can help empty it! Yes, applications for stalls at the Farm Cookery School at Netherstreet, Bromham is full. Sunday 8th September is the date you need to save, 10am-4pm; start fasting now! This is a FREE foodie gig, with lots going on, examples:
THE WILTSHIRE BEEKEEPER: Fred is a jolly Bee Keeper who spends his days travelling around the Wiltshire countryside looking after his bees, collecting swarms, giving talks and selling honey products.
THE LITTLE BAKEHOUSE: He’ll be bringing some of his fantastic Pork Pies as well as lots of other goodies.
GASTRO NICKS: Nick and Jane, the masterminds behind this fabulous Wiltshire Deli in Collingbourne Ducis. They are purveyors of fine foods, wines, Champagne, sparkling wines, hampers and gifts and it is all utterly delicious.
MUCK & DUNDER RUM BAR: Yes, a Bar dedicated to Rum, how exciting is that?! Shelly & Stu are the masterminds behind this fabulous business. Devizine favourites these guys, arm twisted!
TRAYCAKE: Nicola from Traycake has just told us she is setting up a MONTHLY CAKE CLUB – what an awesome idea!! She also sources ingredients from the surrounding areas wherever possible which is what we love to hear.
BROTHERHOOD BREWERY: Friday Night is Beer ‘O’clock at TW HQ! What better way to start the weekend than with the deliciousness that is the Brotherhood Brewery Beer?
NINJO NOODLES: Ninjō Noodle Bar is a Pan-Asian, plant based mobile street food Bar and their mission is to provide freshly prepared, health conscious meals that satisfy the heart, soul and stomach. Their purpose-built prep kitchen is used to prepare their food where they carefully choose ingredients and complimentary products that are plant based, free from artificial additives and MSG.
COFFEE TO GO: You can’t have a Festival without an awesome Coffee Stall and these guys went down a storm last year.
THE OLD CHEESEHOUSE: Cheese, cheese, cheese!
FLUFFY PUFFIN: Chris Woodridge is Mr Fluffy Puffin. A Cordon Bleu Chef, he has built an impressive resume in the restaurant and catering world, including time with Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett. Luckily for us he developed a passion for Ice Cream and Sorbet and has developed the most AMAZING flavours! The luckiest people though are the ones that Chris creates a Bespoke Flavour for…… imagine that – your own Ice Cream Flavour!!
HOLLYCHOCS: Holly, Chocolatier, Chocolate Engineer and Chocolate Lover is on a journey to make delicious, ethically sourced chocolates and teach through fun science lessons and hands-on chocolate workshops. Holly has recently created her very own Chocolate Workshop in Poulshot and her chocolate concoctions are already legendary – she also just won a Great Taste Award.
I may well have missed some, apologies if so, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Breaking and brilliant news as Adam Dempsey pings over the line up for this year’s Owl Fest on Saturday May 25th in Bromham’s social club, The Owl. Chained to that kitchen sink again, I dried my hands on a tea towel quick as I could to reply what a fantastic line up, I reckon it is. He thinks it’s their best yet.
So, no more suspense, and in no particular order, it’s that five-piece classic rock covers band, Homer. Citing influences as wide as The Undertones and Buzzcocks to Thin Lizzy, Steppenwolf and Red-Hot Chili Peppers to AC/DC, Homer’s been on the local scene since 2012. Frontman Pete Pig, Danny Silvers on drums and backing vocals, guitarists Paul “Winger” Weinling and Les Vegas, with Graham the crazy bassist, are sure to rock Bromham.
Devizine favourite Jamie R Hawkins will be there, with acute and sentimental storytelling brilliance, Jamie never fails to impress.
Everyone’s favourite, Mr George Wilding will also do his stuff. With natural ability and ease, astounding originals solo and with Wilding, George is surely Wiltshire’s imminent legend.
And you must love tiny country-pop princess, Kirsty Clinch with her bountiful talent and energy.
Malmesbury’s Corky also returns with his hilariously original brand of acoustic “scrumpy and western” agricultural hip hop, had me in fits of laughter before the cider even took its natural course at last year’s.
My wild card, The Gentle Crows appear; not heard of these guys, I confess, but acclaimed rock covers they promise with great reviews online to date.
Topped off with Trusler senior’s Funked Up duo with Mark Colin Jones, with their brand of eighties funky-pop-rock, not forgetting the great selection of ciders on offer, food, I’m sure you’ll agree, The Owl is worthwhile heading towards on May 25th. See our review of last year’s here, and see you there, I hope!
The day is FREE, but if you want to use the Cider bar, you’ll need a wristband and plastic glass which sets you back a whole £8, and includes two tokens; why wouldn’t you?!
Argh, seen one Wiltshire village, seen ‘em all, so they say.
Who be “they” anyway? Course they all seem the bleedin’ same from the angle of a flippin’ Costa Coffee cup, while belting through at eighty miles per bleedin’ hour, texting about the far more important place they be pretending to be? Who do they fink they arrre? Sum kinda superstarrr?
Yous an me knows each individual village is actually quite unique really, with their own folklore, customs, and weird faces. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. Although, welcoming visitors is often accomplished with a cold stare. For the outsider it feels alienating, but it’s done in want of gossip and not malice; “ooh art be rand ere den?”
Certainly not the way I felt when I smuggled myself across the border; St Edith’s Marsh on Saturday. Despite being from a neighbouring village, and initially weary of possible gazing, I was met by Adam, the organiser of the event I’m here to participate in. The things I do for a story; “pop over and check out the Owl’s Music and Cider Fest,” it’s a dirty job….
Handed a plastic logoed cup, wristband and some tokens we briefly discussed; this was the first of its kind, previous cider festivals not being so musically based and The Owl, a section of the Bromham Sports & Social Club dedicated to bringing the village quality live music, has never combined with the cider festival.
Seems it’s a welcomed merger, with a modest but enthusiastic local crowd. In scarlet dress and spectrum shades, Jezilyn Martyn was just finishing her set as I perused the program’s sublime cider menu and decided to chronologically work my way through; when in Rome. Upon request they even supplied a pencil so I could mark the tried and tested ones, should later, it all become a bit much.
Perhaps there was a bigger local festival happening on the other side of the Vale of Vizes; no one here cared. This was cosy, friendly and typically Bromham. I asked if they expected many from the town, or other places. They hoped so, but didn’t seem particularly concerned about it, for while Bromham may be a just village, plentiful loyal supporters hung out in the garden.
Picking a face from the unknown crowd, I made a beeline for the superbly talented George Wilding. Unsure the weather would hold up till six, when he was booked to perform, or else concerned people might be more interested in the football final, George can come across shy, until he’s in the spotlight. Still, enjoyed getting to know this local legend.
Next up though was the mighty Mike Barham, who after stopping for a brief word and responding to my request for his ever-amusing cover of Danger Zone from the Top Gun soundtrack, towered over the marquee and blasted good vibes. An hour passed until, bang on cue, Tamsin, opens a mini-case containing her new CD, whips on her guitar and takes over with songs and smiles.
I’d worked my way halfway through the cider selection when George Wilding added to the line-up of indigenous aptitude, for me what a local festival should be about. With ease he continued the sound vibes, a few originals and making covers his own. House of the Rising Sun as red, but most interesting was the Ronettes “Be My Baby,” how one can acoustically convert it to a sombre ballad is nothing short of genius. He performed the set with Tamsin’s case still open to punters in front of him!
With sizzling barbecue and dependable punters propping up the bar, Owl Fest was humble, typically Bromham, and so warm and welcoming it’d be the envy of other villages. Well done to all, but for the months after this fest the music continues, as the Owl and Bromham’s social club in general dedicate themselves to sporadically bringing a wealth of talent to the village, to the point it challenges any entertainment establishments you’ll get in its nearby towns. Check out their future evenings and open mic events to see where I’m coming from.
Next up is the The Hoot on the 2nd June, their acoustic night in The Owl with Phil King from Bristol, Ian O’Regan and Frome’s Al O’Kane. But with horse racing nights, charity quizzes, a week-long carnival celebration and popular local acts such as Larkin (25th Aug), Jamie R Hawkins (7th July) booked, there’s loads going on up here, including names you may not have heard of.
Appearing after George, prime example was Corky, a singer/songwriter creating what he dubs “agricultural hip hop.” I was intrigued; how does this work? Very amusingly is the short answer, when in the able hands of this Malmesbury yokel, whose naturally hilarious adaptions of classic rap tunes are parodied for the ears of rural West Country folk, as if the Wu-Tang Clan were in an MC battle with the Wurzels. Rural poverty lined subjects apt for our area, such as escaping Devizes and using red diesel, converted from hip hop’s usual themes of bling, guns and hoes, and delivered with audience participation and heckling was nothing short of dazzling.
Gradually the event was hoisted inside, with the Surfin’ Turnips and Bilbo Baggins & The Bargain Hunters preparing to take them into the night. Unfortunately, I had to go, I’d worked my way through the ciders till the lead of the pencil snapped, and was getting wobbly. For a free event and only six pounds for the wristband and first token, this was an outstanding little do; long live the Owl – twit-ta-hooooo!