Top contemporary folk band Faustus at Henshaws during feva

One of Britain’s folk ‘super groups’, Faustus, is the headline act on the first night of feva at Henshaws. Its trio of members have come together after starring in some of the best known contemporary folk groups in the country.

Formed by Saul Rose, formerly of Waterson, Carthy, Whapweazel, and War Horse, Benji Kirkpatrick, previously a member of the Seth Lakeman Band and Bellowhead, and Paul Sartin, also of Bellowhead and also a past member of Belshazzar’s Feast, Fautus represents the best in the current vibrant English folk scene.

Faustus has been nominated for the Best Group Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and in the wake of the latest album Broken Down Gentlemen, Faustus members have a wealth of experience, brought together for the concert at Henshaws in a virtuosic display of musicianship and testosterone representing the best in the current vibrant English folk scene.

FaustusThe Guardian newspaper described them as “A distinctive blend of subtlety and attack,” while the Independent wrote “The concept?: to rescue contemporary folk from the curse of fey-ness.”
Faustus will be supported by local duo The Paper Waits. Tickets are £12 and can be booked through the usual sources at the Tourist Information Centre or the feva website, www.feva.info.

Knaresborough’s 2016 feva Festival has Something for Everyone

Knaresborough’s annual festival of entertainment and visual arts – feva – has something for everyone in its 2016 line-up. The festival will be held over 10 days from 12 to 21 August.

“This year’s festival features 65 different mainline events, plus 16 art shows and 11 special flavours of feva menu offerings from local restaurants,” said Tony Cerexhe, chairman of the volunteer organising group. “There are plenty of free events and all prices for ticketed entertainment have been kept to the same levels as in previous years.

“This year’s Programme features the widest array ever, with something for everybody, we believe. There is lots of street entertainment and activities for the kids during the day, and in the evenings for adults there is music, theatre, literary and, making a welcome return, poetry readings.

“The festival is bookended by the Lions’ beer festival, to be held over three days at the start of feva, with Picnic in the Park being staged on the penultimate day and Henshaws’ exciting Beach Party on the final Sunday,” he added.

Music

This year’s feva features a wide choice of music ranging from classical concertos by candlelight in St John’s Church, 14 August, performed by the excellent Pro Musica, to jazz at Carriages, folk with one of the UK’s top acts in Faustus, the wonderful virtuosity of Project Jam Sandwich and the exquisite vocal harmony group Cadenza, playing at Dower House on 21 August.
To mention just a few! And this is before we get on to the fabulous tribute acts of Weetwood Mac and David Live – David Bowie. Not to be missed.

Knaresborough Silver Band will stage a free concert in the garden of Knaresborough House on the afternoon of Saturday 13 August during the Lions’ Beer Festival. St John Church Choir will join forces with Voix Celestes and friends in a varied selection of choral works while the St John’s feva Eucharist will feature Hadyn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai.

What feva does better than anything is to provide a large range of free and low cost musical performances, and there are different acts around almost every corner during the Festival. You just need to look for them on the free feva Programme.

Copies of the Programme detailing all of the 90 plus events are available from outlets in Knaresborough, the Tourist Information Office or the Library, with full details online at www.feva.info.

During the day of 13 August the feva busk stop offers opportunity to a number of local musicians in the Market Place. Local familiar faces: Two Well Worn, The Blarge, Song Birds and Sounds Like Us, are playing at pubs and in gardens and restaurants during the 10-day event.

Phil Lyons and the New Vintage Band will perform jazz and swing; Simon Mayer and Hilary James will present their wide classical-to-pop repertoire at the Frazer on 19 August.

Dynamic folk fusion quintet, Project Jam Sandwich, much acclaimed during the festival in 2015 are returning on 16 August, giving an audience-participation performance for children during the day, before putting on their stupendous storm of folk fusion from around the world in the evening. Those who saw them last year will know just how good an event to expect. In the past year they have attained national recognition through the BBC Proms and are building an international following by performing at festivals all over Europe.

Faustus, recently nominated for Radio’s 2’s best folk act award, will be playing on the first night, 12 August, at Henshaws. Knaresborough Choral Society will be a running singing workshop based around their recent hugely successful performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at COGS on 14 August. Tickets to take part in the workshop are priced at £8 or £4 for under 18s.

Four different acts will be performing at this years’ the free Picnic in the Park and three, including the top David Bowie tribute act, at Henshaws Beach Party on the last day of feva.

Poetry

Poetry is playing a larger role this year. Barnsley’s bard Ian McMillan, whose distinctive Yorkshire dialect poetry has caught the imagination of the county, will be appearing at the Frazer Theatre on the first Friday of feva, 12 August. His performance will be assisted by cartoonist of the year Tony Husband and together they will craft an illustrated poem with participation from the audience.

On the following evening there is a chance for people to read their own poems or those they especially love at the ‘Poetry Yes Please’ event at the Art in the Mill, while at Henshaws Chris McCully will be reading from a selection of his eight published collections, including poems and photos from his latest highly-regarded work, Serengeti Songs, inspired by time he spent in Tanzania.

An unlikely combination of cadence and chemistry will be the source of wonderment on 17 August, when Dr Sam Illingworth presents the creative similarities between science and the performing arts. Reading from his award-winning poetry, Sam will take his audience on a journey of discovery with heartache, laughter and tears-before-bedtime as biology meets balladry.

Plays, Dances, Art Shows, Talks and Walks

Jolly Hockey Sticks, a take on girls’ education by those popular feva regulars The History Workshop, will entertain audiences with the clothes and activities of another time and age, while Freyja the Fairy will entertain children with tales of goblins, pirates and mermaids during the day on 20 August.

The tots of Studio 3 will present Beauty and the Beast, this year’s dance at the Castle. Their older Studio 3 friends will give an evening’s performance of ballet, tap and Riverdance at the Frazer. The Harrogate Society of Magicians will cast a spell or two on 13 August; Barry and Larry will take crowds to the edge of the universe on the 15th, and author Karen Lloyd will read from her latest book at the Library a night later.

Brian Forshaw is leading a walk around Knaresborough looking at the sites that inspired artist J B Fountain, while the Castle will host a medieval day on 13 August offering the chance to joust, shoot bow and arrow, and engage in arts and crafts all with a 12th century theme.

There will be 16 different art events staged during feva, some of which feature the artists at work, many of which will run each day during the festival highlighting local talent from around Yorkshire.

A special event not to be missed is the rare chance to see the work of Ray Mutimer, the original illustrator of Postman Pat, which will be open daily in Calcutt.

Street Entertainment and Workshops

Want something else to occupy children during August? Then come to the Market Place where each day during feva there will be those stalwarts of the festival such as The Great Mandavi, Bob’s Your Uncle, Mike Hancock’s Pick and Mix and Proper Punch.

The Four Shadows Theatre Group will reveal the secrets of Knaresborough in their hilarious walking tour and Frolicked Puppet Theatre will be back to stage their amazing tale of The Alchemist.

On 18 August there will be an attempt to fill the Market with Bubbles with the audience being expected to join in. On the first morning, 12 August, children can learn to make scarecrows and there is an arts workshop for children at the Castle on 17 August.

The Knaresborough Lions are again staging their three-day Beer Festival at Knaresborough House and where would we be without the popular Saturday Night Burlesque with first-timer Lady Wildflower at Henshaws. There are literary readings, walking tours and other events throughout the town during the 10 days of the festival. You can’t – and shouldn’t – miss it.

Background

“The festival is as big as ever,” says Tony Cerexhe. “But this year we have made a special effort to broaden the array of attractions to suit as many tastes as possible.

“Bookings can be made on line, by post, phone or in person at the Knaresborough Tourist Office. As in past years, we expect tickets to be snapped up so people are encouraged to move quickly to make their bookings.”

feva is an annual event organised by volunteers as a not-for-profit community festival. It was held for the first time in 2001 and has grown to become one of the best-known festivals held in the north of England during the summer school holidays in August.

Details of feva 2016, how to become a ‘friend of feva’ at just £10 a year, to become a volunteer helper, and for those wishing to contact the feva organising committee to put on their own activity are available on the website: www.feva.info

MAGIC is the new rock ‘n’ roll!

Neil Bradley-SmithIf you were thrilled by the illusions of Richard Jones – winner of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent – then the Frazer Theatre, Knaresborough is the place to head for on Saturday, August 13th.

From gravity-defying illusions to sophisticated drawing room wizardry, comedy, mind-reading, children’s magic and a little bit of ‘spooky stuff’, It’s a Kind of Magic offers something for all the family.

As one of Harrogate Society of Magicians’ youngest-ever presidents, Neil Bradley-Smith – who has entertained audiences around the country – has no doubt it will be an evening to remember.

‘This is the third time we’ve appeared at the Frazer Theatre,’ he tells us, ‘and, with Richard Jones giving magic such a boost in winning Britain’s Got Talent, there’s never been a better time to watch it live.’

Bobs Your UncleThe Harrogate Society itself boasts a wide range of talents. FEVA regular, Bob’s your Uncle will be on hand to entertain the children, and – in the second half – Paul Forster will have you wondering whether there really is life beyond the grave.

Also, says Neil, ‘If you missed Derren Brown’s touring show this year, it’s a great chance to catch local mind-reader, Zen – who really will have you scratching your head as to how he can possibly know what you’re thinking.’

Topped and tailed by Richard Jones’ fellow-Magic Circle members Bob McBratney and James Ward, and with magic from seasoned performers Rob Shersby, Paul Forster, David Hird and Neil Bradley-Smith this ii really going to be a night to remember for all the family.

Venue: Frazer Theatre

Date: Saturday 13th August

Doors open: 7pm

Start time: 7.30pm

Ticket price: Standard £8, Concession £6

Book online:
Book now

Beer’s Best at Knaresborough’s feva Festival

LionsBeer is best at Knaresborough House when the Knaresborough Lions Club stages its annual beer festival over the first weekend of feva from the evening of Friday 12 August, all day on the 13th and a pot-luck to see what’s left on the afternoon of Sunday 14 August. Many of the beers are getting one of their first outings at the festival.

There will be 20 different beers plus ciders, wine Pimms and soft drinks, as well as the ever-popular Indian snacks from DeeSpice of Knaresborough. Entry is free and there is music throughout from Dougie Brister and Ian Wallace, with a special outdoor concert in the afternoon on 13 August from the award-winning Knaresborough Silver Band.

The Knaresborough Lions’ beer festival is organised with feva, with advice on beers provided by Roosters Brewery. This year’s event will feature a feast of mostly new real ale and craft beers from top independent breweries around the country, including Great Newsome from Hull, St Austell, Cornwall, Bowland from Lancashire, Tyne Bank, Newcastle, and Oakham from Peterborough.

Beers to look out for include the Double Maxim brown ale from County Durham’s Maxim Brewery, liquid Sunshine from St Austell Brewery and Wild Gravity brewed at the old Dishforth Airfield by BAD Co Brewery. Knaresborough own Rooster’s Brewery will feature its Accomplice IPA, originally a collaboration with Odell Brewing Company of Colorado and containing a mixture of six varieties of hops and a blend of three malts. Square Rigger will be getting an outing from Daleside Brewery of Starbeck.

Knaresborough Lions have run the beer festival at feva since 2001 and donate proceeds to the Picnic in the Park free outdoor music event for families held on the last Saturday of feva, this year 20 August. More details are available online at www.feva.info.

Project Jam Sandwich Back Due to Popular Demand

Project Jam Sandwich 2The outstanding Project Jam Sandwich return for a second year to Knaresborough’s feva festival with a standout concert on Tuesday 16 August at Henshaws on Bond End. Tickets are £12 and can be booked at the Tourist Information centre or on line via www.feva.info.

The quintet of classically-trained musicians are back for a second year due to popular demand. The group went down a storm last year in Knaresborough with their fusion of folk music drawn from many parts of the world, improvised to provide scorching rhythms and beautiful melodies. They offer everything from Celtic reels to Afrobeat, Middle Eastern melodies to gypsy jazz.

Since last year’s feva, Project Jam Sandwich has gone on to national acclaim, appearing at the BBC Proms, following this up with a clutch of performances on Radio 3 and BBC World.

The members are artists on the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Initiative and feature violin, cello, guitar, double bass, percussion and vocals. Despite having formed only in 2013 they have appeared at many leading music festivals, including Celtic Connections, Ireby Folk Festival, Spitalfields Festival, the Cambridge Summer Music Festival, the Greenbelt, Aldeburgh and Musicport Festivals and have recently sold out Manchester’s iconic Bridgewater Hall.

Marc Mallam, festival director at Ribchester describes their appearance at the festival as “… one of the most exciting, original and inventive performance ever seen at Ribchester Festival. Their enthusiasm and energy was so infectious the audience absolutely lapped it up.”

Georgia Mann, presenter and producer of BBC Proms for Radio 3 described them as “Utterly brilliant!” While Charles Devlin, director of the Ireby Festival, said: “Their performance and musicianship was fun, magical and captivating which brought about a spontaneous, well-deserved standing ovation.”

As they did last year, Project Jam Sandwich will be putting on a workshop for children in the afternoon at Henshaws, this time taking children on a musical trip around the world. Organisers have alerted the audience to expect drum battles, musical tennis and a whole lot of joining in. Tickets are £5 and can be booked through the usual sources at the Tourist Information Centre or the feva website.

FEVA Launches the Programme

Knaresborough’s 2016 feva Festival has Something for Everyone

Knaresborough’s annual festival of entertainment and visual arts – feva – has something for everyone in its 2016 line-up, to be held over 10 days from 12 to 21 August. Copies of the free Programme are available from outlets in Knaresborough, the Tourist Information Office or the Library, with full details on line at www.feva.info.

“This year’s festival features 65 different mainline events, plus 16 art shows and 11 special flavours of feva menu offerings from local restaurants,” said Tony Cerexhe, chairman of the volunteer organising group. “There are plenty of free events and all prices for ticketed entertainment have been kept to the same levels as in previous years”.

“This year’s Programme features the widest array ever, with something for everybody, we believe. There is lots of street entertainment and activities for the kids during the day, and in the evenings for adults there is music, theatre, literary and poetry readings. The Lions’ beer festival graces the start of the festival, with Picnic in the Park being staged on the penultimate day and Henshaws’ exciting Beach Party on the final Sunday,” Tony added.

Poetry is playing a larger role this year with performances and readings by Ian McMillan, the enigmatically named ‘Shirley Bassey of performance poetry’, who will be appearing at the Frazer Theatre with cartoonist of the year Tony Husband. There is a chance for people to read their own poems or those they especially love at the ‘Poetry Yes Please’ event at the Art in the Mill, while at Henshaws Chris McCully will be reading from a selection of his eight published collections.

Rockers will enjoy the Fleetwood Mac tribute band, Weetwood Mac, at the Knaresborough Working Men’s Club and the ultimate tribute act for David Bowie will appear at the Beach Party.
Dynamic folk fusion quintet, Project Jam Sandwich, are returning by popular demand and will be performing at Henshaws. Faustus, recently nominated for Radio’s 2’s best folk act award, will be playing on the first night.

Classics enthusiasts will enjoy Concertos by Candlelight at St John’s Church courtesy of Knaresborough Pro Musica and the special feva Eucharist will be held on the first Sunday of the festival. Knaresborough Choral Society are offering people the chance to take part in their singing workshop at the Methodist Church, giving the chance to learn the wonderful Carmina Burana.
Jazz fans will enjoy Phil Lyons and the New Vintage Band at the Frazer and Jazz in the Garden at Carriages. Simon Mayer and Hillary James will present their wide repertoire at the Frazer and there is another chance to enjoy the beautiful singing voices of Cadenza over lunch at the Dower House.

The excellent History Wardrobe folk return to make their unique performance, which this year tells the story of girls’ education, and is called ‘Jolly Hockeysticks’ (what else!). Members of the Harrogate Society of Magicians will perform at the Frazer Theatre.

There is free street entertainment in the Market Place on each day during feva, featuring the return of such all-time favourites as the Great Mandavi who will again juggle underwater with fire, magician Mike Hancock, the Giant Bubble-Making Workshop, Bob’s Your Uncle and the Frolicked Puppet Theatre.

Last year’s successful ‘Busk Stop’, which offers a platform for local performers, will be staged in the Market Place on the first Saturday and the Folk Dance Experience reappears on the Sunday.
The Knaresborough Lions are again staging their three-day Beer Festival at Knaresborough House and where would we be without the popular Saturday Night Burlesque at Henshaws. There are literary readings, walking tours and other events being held throughout the town during feva. Turn every corner in the centre of the town and there will be another event.

“The festival is as big as ever,” says Tony Cerexhe. “But this year we have made a special effort to broaden the array of attractions to suit as many tastes as possible.

“Bookings can be made on line, by post, phone or in person at the Knaresborough Tourist Office. As in past years, we expect tickets to be snapped up so people are encouraged to move quickly to make their bookings.”

Feva is an annual event organised as a not-for-profit community festival. It was held for the first time in 2001 and has grown to become one of the best-known festivals held in the north of England during the summer school holidays in August.

Details of feva 2016, how to become a ‘friend of feva’ at just £10 a year, to become a volunteer helper, and for those wishing to contact the feva organising committee to put on their own activity are available on the website: www.feva.info

Congratulations Viv

Viv Hall
Allotments Open Day

Huge congratulations to our friend Viv Hall who is the Principal of Studio 3 for being awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Community Dance and the community in Knaresborough.

Viv works tirelessly and puts on at least two performances with Studio 3 every FEVA. One is always free, the other very low cost and she shares the profit.  She also organises the Scarecrow Workshops and the Open Day at the Allotments.

Well done Viv and thank you for being such a star!

Friends of FEVA Watch Out!

Friends of FEVA watch your letterboxes carefully over the next week as our willing volunteers hand deliver your FEVA Programme. Friends from further away can expect a cheerful postie delivery towards the end of next week.

If you would like to become a Friend and get early booking for events (and a hand delivered programme if you live in Knaresborough) visit our Friends page and download a form. Its only £10.

Lovely Comments for Feva 2015

We have had some really lovely feedback this year.

300x0-10

We put a contemporary dance performance into the programme this year – which is a bit of a new choice for us. Ian said “I just wanted to drop you a line to congratulate the FEVA Committee on arranging the two girl dance act Two’s Company on Friday last week. We didn’t know what to expect, and modern dance is always going to hold surprises. We were enchanted and excited to see these two girls perform their dance with extraordinary precision and energy. It brought something of the very highest national calibre to our Knaresborough Festival, and has left us with memories that will last for a very long time. Well done to you and the Committee.”

We always knew Roger McGough would be a hit.  He sold out in quick order and despite a little excitement on the night, gave a spectacular performance.  Jane says “Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the very special feva event…. being entertained by Roger McGough….an evening to be treasured.  Henshaws was a well chosen venue, the layout and comfort level were perfect and the ‘arty’ atmosphere so lent itself to such a literary event.  The interruption was handed with style!”

Mrs Hart said “Brilliant night and excellent venue, good drinks ambiance and seating. McGough was funny, intelligent, moving and thought provoking.  There was an uproar with a man with obvious mental health issues, swiftly dealt with and he was handled with compassion though Police called in.  Organiser Michelle gave pleasant, confident welcome and acted as a genial hostess throughout. Highly recommend!”

It wasn’t just the public attending events that loved FEVA this year.  The Detours played Picnic in the Park for us and said “Congrats. to all at Knaresborough’s FEVA, another successful year.”  Thanks guys.

Jamie Bevan did a sterling job playing at the Busk Stop on the first Saturday but also played at Orb’s Extravaganza.  Jamie told us on Facebook “Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for posting the pictures of the orb event. I loved feva this year and it was great to be a part of it.”  We thought you were pretty great too, Jamie.

The committee are all taking some time off now for a few weeks and then its back into the swing in October. I can’t wait to see what FEVA 2016 looks like,

Review: Roger McGough

300x0-9“Well, that was dramatic,” Roger McGough said as he came off stage at Henshaw’s after the first half of his reading on Saturday evening. As the rain fell biblically and the lightning flashed theatrically, he’d successfully survived an over-loud mic with reverberating feedback which had annoyed him for the first three poems, followed during his seventh poem by obscene heckling from a troubled audience member who had to be forcibly restrained from joining him on stage and was eventually removed from the site by the police.

So, just a normal night for a travelling poet.

In 2017, McGough will be celebrating the half-centennial anniversary of The Scaffold, who were managed by the Beatles’ Brian Epstein along with the publication by Penguin of The Mersey Sound (with Adrian Henri and Brian Patten), one of the best-selling poetry anthologies of all time and the book that brought him to the attention of the wider public as a performance poet. Looking far younger than his 78 years, his slim, dapper, slightly diffident and bemused presence held the audience’s attention throughout the night, regardless of interruptions, and he lived up to his own words from “A good age”:

There is no cure for ageing
Because ageing isn’t an illness but a way of life.
And some are better at it than others.
The secret?
Think yourself younger than you really are.

McGough has been prolific – some would say too prolific – in those fifty years and the evening showed his approach to poetry and performance has changed little. He selected gems from his vast back-catalogue of poems, still written in a direct, vernacular voice, spiced with word-play, whimsy and stand-up gags teetering just this side of the corny (Two naughty identical dentists, Juggler). His subject matter is eclectic but with the passage of time many of his more autobiographical poems have shifted from flippant playfulness into nostalgic, bitter-sweet, almost sentimental memories of family (Great Aunt Edna’s Embroidery, Hearts and Flowers) and black-and-white and sepia vignettes of post-war Catholic Liverpool (Learning to Read and Brother Ryan), haunted by a sense of loss and sadness. Many of his later poems are underlaid with the nagging fear of ageing and dementia at which he tries, not always successfully, to cock a snoot.

He read two poems inspired by an inversion of Carol Ann Duffy’s conceit about the wives of famous husbands in her volume The World’s Wife, in these cases about the husbands of famous women; but whereas Duffy uses the conceit to raise quite complex questions about male-female relationships, morality and the role of women in society, Mr Nightingale and Mr Blyton were hugely comic and highly entertaining – but that’s as far as it went.

Both halves of the reading were rounded off by audience participation as he encouraged the audience to complete rhyming couplets to his verses, some of which were obvious and we got – but others of which we got wrong as he playfully teased us for yet more laughs. A delightful night was wrapped up with a book-signing in which he charmed, cuddled and flirted with members of the audience in equal measure.

Martin Harrison

Best Dressed Premises 2015

And the winner is…

Every year businesses in Knaresborough get into the feva spirit and dress up their windows in all shades of pink. The feva committee vote for their favourite windows and the one that gets the most points is declared the winner in the Best Dressed Premises Competition.

The voting is in and here are the results from the feva committee. The runaway winner of the 2015 Best Dressed Premises Competition is Floral Decor!

Second place was &Coriander, but third place was very close with Castlegate Hardware just pipping Giraffe to the post by half a point.  Special commendations also go to Drakes who put in a tremendous effort and was only one point behind.

We asked Knaresborough Now to run a public vote and the results were included in with the committee voting. The public vote was overwhelming for &Coriander.

The committee would also like to commend 2 Castlegate, which is Chris and Rebecca’s home for their lovely window celebration of feva.

The full list of participating businesses is:

  • AC Gallery
  • Age UK
  • Alison Holmes
  • Baytree Interiors
  • Bojangles
  • Cafe Fleur
  • Cafe Hallie
  • Caffe Nero
  • Cancer Research
  • Castlegate Books
  • Castlegate Hardware
  • Chiropody by Louise
  • Claro Hairstyles
  • Coriander
  • Corinne Hide
  • Country 2 Western
  • Crystal Buddha
  • Divine
  • Dragonfly
  • Drakes
  • Floral Décor
  • Gigi’s
  • Giraffe
  • Green Dragon Crafts
  • Greenwoods Solicitor’s
  • Harriet’s Cafe
  • Hirst’s
  • Jill Long Hairdressing
  • Knaresborough Kitchens
  • Knitting Pretty
  • Lavender Rooms
  • Lloyds Pharmacy
  • McQueen’s
  • Old Glasshouse Gallery
  • Oxfam
  • Post Office
  • Printzone
  • Knaresborough Cafe
  • Sam Parker Optometrist
  • Sew n Save
  • Sheer Bliss
  • Sid Horner
  • Spice Merchant
  • Stomp
  • Sue Ryder
  • Tanacetum
  • The Brew
  • The Loft
  • The Nailery
  • Thomas the Baker
  • Wild Orchid
  • Yorkshire Eyewear

Thank you to Howdidoodi (Howard) for taking so many lovely photos of our local businesses and to Knaresborough Now for the public vote and Guess the Window competition.

And thank you to everyone who joined in and made 2015 feva the best yet.

Review: Orb Extravaganza

Yesterday, I attended Orb‘s Live Extravaganza. This includes a showcase of talent, a rear garden to view the Orb Art Group‘s work, a chance to have a go at one or two funfair type things, and places to chill out, to take part in an art happening or to listen to bands, solo artists and the cabaret in Orb’s building – all as part of Feva, which is Knaresborough’s annual festival of the arts.

I chose to stick with listening to music. What talent! The whole musical experience thrilled me, and was a great joy to listen to – and I hope other members of the audience felt the same.

A solo Orb volunteer entertained us with songs which were accompanied by his guitar. He had a gorgeous voice and handled his instrument very deftly.There were two or three excellent bands. One soloist in particular played and sang a haunting blues number, which really hit the spot with me.

We had a wonderful performance from a female rapper called Downright 4midable. Normally I detest rap, but I like her rapping style. A superb solo guitarist and singer had me spellbound as he tapped the neck and body of his guitar between playing it. This was followed by a fusion of visual images, sounds from nature and music that was the product of Orb’s evening classes: mind blowing, it appealed both to the music lover in me and the artist.

Lastly came Orb’s Cabaret. This was a truly awesome experience. There were superb performances from all the cast. The theme was “down with Health and Safety” – it is often too silly for words. Three performers really stood out. The first was the Cabaret Tutor, Miss Sophie Walsh-Harrington, the second was Mr. Mike Atkinson, and lastly Mr. Jon Galley.

Miss.Sophie Walsh-Harrington is a superb actress, singer and dancer. Mr. Mike Atkinson wowed us with his egotistical, bleak and slightly bitter character, and I loved his pink wig and pink feather boa. I loved Mr.Jon Galley’s portrayal of a very officious Health and Safety Officer – it was a hoot! I loved his singing accompanied by his guitar playing. His harmonica playing during part of the visual images, natural sounds and music event also took my breath away.

If you missed Orb’s Extravaganza this year, don’t miss it next year! Bye for now.

Diane Summers lives in Knaresborough and is an artist who is training to be a freelance writer. She writes a blog Creation Out of Muddle.  She says, “I always seem to be producing good work whilst surrounded by a constant muddle – hence the blog title.”  Please visit Diane’s blog at https://lineandgrey.wordpress.com

Review: Martin Carthy

300x0-8By his own reckoning, it’s 25 years since Martin Carthy last played Knaresborough, at what was then the Borough Bailiff. Accompanied only by his own guitar, Carthy, one of the guiding spirits of the 60s’ English folk revival (who influenced a young Bob Dylan, taught Paul Simon his arrangement of Scarborough Fair, played in the folk rock band Steeleye Span, married into the Watersons and is the father of the incomparable Eliza Carthy) delighted a full house at the Frazer Theatre with 17 songs and two encores from his compendious repertoire.

Starting with High Germany from his first eponymous album of 1965, he included other old favourites such as The Royal Oak.. His inventive tuning and skilled finger-picking drove the songs along and were also heard to advantage on instrumentals such as The Downfall of Paris and The Heroes of St Valery.

At 74, his voice is still excellent at delivering a gripping narrative. Whilst his repertoire is traditional, he reinterprets it to make it speak directly to a modern audience and my enjoyment was really enhanced by his informal but informative introductions. Among the best received songs was Mrs McGrath/My Son John, a traditional Irish anti-war song updated to include references to Iraq and Afghanistan. Stitch in Time, written by his brother-in-law Mike Waterson, was a seering revenge song by an abused wife.

Martin Carthy left no-one in the audience in any doubt why he won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Radio 2 Folk Awards. It’s to be hoped we can hear him here again before another 25 years have elapsed.

Martin Harrison

The Competition is On!

300x0Every year we have a Best Dressed Premises Competition with businesses around Knaresborough making a real effort to turn the town feva pink. This weekend the packs have been distributed so look out for lovely blush, fuschia and magenta window displays starting to appear. Last year Giraffe on Market Place won. They painted their spots pink and had a lovely window display. In 2013 the winner was Knitting Pretty, our only wool shop.

Let us know which windows you think should win.

If you own a business in Knaresborough and would like to take part, contact us for a pack.

The programme is launched

300x0-5Knaresborough 14 July 2015 – The free feva Programme is now available in shops, restaurants, pubs, the tourist office and Knaresborough.

This year’s Programme features more than 60 shows, concerts, plays, talks, walks, street entertainment and workshops, plus art shows and special menu options. All are detailed in the Programme along with ticket prices and booking details of how to book.

Alternatively, festival-goers can get information from www.feva.info.

About a third of the events, like all the street entertainment, are free and much else is available at tickets prices that are mostly below £15 and plays and talks are £10 or less.  Held annually, feva is being staged for the 15th year. It is a not-for-profit event held over 10 days, 14-23 August, and is organised by volunteers.

Caption: Our photo shows Astrid, left, and Caroline, right with the 2015 Knaresborough feva Programme.

Become a feva volunteer

Are you interested in helping out with this year’s feva? If so, get in touch. 

Whether you would like to be involved in the run-up to the festival, or would prefer to help out at events during the festival, we are always happy to hear from potential volunteers.

Some of the roles that we need help with are:

Small events officer: the role will involve organising the smaller events in feva, including the walks, afternoon talks and children’s story telling

Event helpers: stewards, litter pickers, helping set up stages and marquees, selling t-shirts

Door duties: collecting and selling tickets

General admin: assistance in preparing for the festival, including arranging the licensing of events, organising the Red Cross for events etc.

Click on the ‘Contact’ link to send us an email and we will get back to you to chat about ways in which you can be invol

Animation workshop nearly sold out!

Do you know any teenagers interested in animation?

Master Animator Virpi Kettu, animator of Wallace and Gromit, Creature Comforts and Shaun the Sheep will lead a hands on stop-motion animation workshop for young people aged 12 and over. Design your own characters, create your animation film and take the film home. 

Places are limited to just eight lucky young people. Tickets are selling fast so be quick!300x0-2

Award Winning Acts come to feva

300x0-2Knaresborough’s feva festival is now in its 14th year and is one of the few to grace the long warm days of the summer school holidays. This has led to it becoming one of the must-do summer events for parents and grandparents in a wide area of the North of England and further afield.

Among the award winners at this year’s festival is folkie great Martin Carthy, (Frazer Theatre, Friday 14 August), who received the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Lifetime Achievement Award. Q Magazine described him as “arguably the greatest English folk singer, writer, collector and editor”.

Knaresborough’s finest, the Knaresborough Silver Band, were the winners of their section in this year’s North of England Brass Band competition and will play for attendees at the Lions Beer Festival at Knaresborough House on the afternoon of Sunday 16 August. This is a chance to see the band prior to their involvement in September at the National Championships.

Another leading light at feva is Ben Ottewell. Ben was the 1998 Mercury Music Award Prize winner when he was with the band Gomez and is making his debut at feva (Frazer Theatre Monday 17 August).

The brilliant Project Jam Sandwich will present a double bill on Thursday 20 August with a children’s workshop and performance in the Library in the afternoon, followed by an outstanding set of improvisations at Henshaws in the evening. The quintet is comprised by award winning young musicians and this is also a final chance to see them prior to their Big Day – in their case on TV in the BBC Proms on 27 August.

Knaresborough’s feva has much to offer in its most adventurous ever line-ups. Acclaimed Liverpool poet Roger McGough will present poetry on the 22nd; there will be two tribute bands: the Rozzers (Police) playing on the 19th and Take That Forever on the 21st. Swing Commanders are back on the 15th and another act returning by popular demand is the wonderful History Wardrobe, this time with two performances: Fairytale Fashion on the afternoon of 15 August and a spine tingling performance of Gothic for Girls, (19th).

There is something for all ages. Each day in the centre of town there will be free street entertainers – musicians, magicians, dance groups and children’s entertainers such as Bob’s Your Uncle, Punch and Judy, and the Great Mandavi who will appear with a new Walk of Death experience; unmissable! Knaresborough Castle is the venue for the youngsters of Studio 3 dance group in Peter Pan on the 19th , and stages its annual medieval family event on 22 August.

Each day from 17 to 21 August there are workshops in the Library and at Henshaws, including an attempt at a new world record to print thousands of pictures of bees. Another workshop will be presented by one of the animators of Wallace and Gromit and there will be a chance to learn belly dancing, make scarecrows, sew puppets and craft musical instruments.

Evenings feature special feva menu offerings from Knaresborough restaurants, the Lions have their beer festival, there are classical and popular music concerts, literary readings, walking tours and a total of 16 art shows throughout the festival, says chairman of the feva committee, Tony Cerexhe.

“For people in our neighborhood, feva is the greatest fun of the summer holidays,” he says. “It is a wonderful time and has proved enormously popular over the years. Apart from having award-winning performers at this year’s event, the festival has itself been recognised as a 2015 Aviva Community Fund Winner.

“It is truly open to everyone. What we are also very pleased about is that it gives so many local people, especially children and teenagers, a platform to display their own talents. We believe that there are between 300 and 400 local people who are directly involved in events during feva.”

The traditional highlight of feva is the free Picnic in the Park, which will be held in the grounds of Knaresborough House on Saturday 22 August. In addition, Henshaws will stage their feva Beach Party on Sunday 23rd.

About a third of the events during feva are free and most of the rest have low ticket prices in accordance with the objectives of the festival. Bookings can be made online through the www.feva.info/programme/buy-online site, by phone or in person at the Tourist Information Office, or direct from the venues.

“As we are finding, tickets get snapped up quickly so we recommend to those people who are interested in particular events that they should book early,” added Tony Cerexhe.