Tag Archives: Springboard Festival

Turn off the TV, tune in to the sound of Springboard

Danny Landua (right), live at the Springboard Festival.

With the BBC showing the musical wilderness that is the Eurovision Song Contest and ITV seemingly trying to take over the world with the freak show that is Britain’s Got Talent the Springboard Festival provided a desperately-needed escape route.

It’s one of those lesser music events that struggles for mainstream media space against the big extravaganzas and even – it would appear round here – against bog-standard village fetes and parties in urban parks, but Springboard is growing up in its own quiet(ish) way.

From cautious beginnings at a couple of pubs in the village of Cottingham, a few miles outside Hull, Springboard now boasts eight stages in six pubs and a roster of about 170 live performances over four days and three nights.

Add the impromptu buskers and wandering minstrels and you end up with a musical feast and pubs packed with people who thankfully prefer the real thing to the mass-produced drivel on their TV screens.

If there’s a criticism it’s that the event is now becoming a tad too big for venues which don’t have the ideal stage and viewing area and for the organisational expertise of the people running the show. But that doesn’t mean Springboard needs to get bigger every year – it just needs to find its level.

That level varies depending on things like the time of day, the style of music on offer, the sun, the rain and the amount of alcohol consumed.

For families it’s perhaps unfortunate that the curfew is creeping forward a little every year. Kids used to congregate in comfort as late as seven, eight or even nine of an evening. This year they were being pushed out by increasingly wobbly grown-ups by about 6pm.

That probably had as much to do with the combination of fine weather and the prospect of a Bank Holiday lie-in. Less easy to justify was the foul-mouthed repertoire of one performer in a family pub just before 5pm on a Sunday.

“That man kept singing the F-word!” said our seven-year-old daughter as we headed for the door and the performer began his next song. About masturbation.

But it would be unfair to dwell on the negatives. We’ll go again next year and if Springboard don’t learn from their mistakes then we will. We’ll arrive earlier in the afternoon and leave earlier in the evening, but we’ll still be confident of having plenty of fun given the great variety of styles on offer.

Our seven-year-old drew the line at the comedy antics of some bloke belting out “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” to the accompaniment of a gloved fist smashing into a beer tray.

“If that man went on Britain’s Got Talent he’d get three crosses,” she commented.

Still at the quirky end of the spectrum, but more positively received, was Mark Robinson punching out his bouncy 70-s style World Cup anthem on a low-slung shoulder synthesiser.

Testtone3 from York delivered a style of glam-rock, the guitarist playing with his teeth and the whole set giving a nod of acknowledgment to Spinal Tap. Danny Landau is a singer-songwriter who deserves bigger audiences, Georgia Seddon has a unique, chirpy singing style over some very deliberate piano-playing and shared the stage with Marie Sioux, a rising singer-songwriter star from California, on their way to a gig at the legendary Hull Adelphi Club.

If you’re into live music check them all out via the usual search engines. Have a look also for Adrian Byron Burns, visiting from France and a Springboard regular of international renown. And the loud, growling sound of the James Dean Syndrome and the punky reggae ska rap rock combinations of Counting Coins, my personal highlight.

And in the middle of it all was a heavy metal band whose output made me think of something extremely heavy being dropped from a great height and very aggressively on Britain’s Got Talent. If only…

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Filed under Britain's Got Talent, By Phil Ascough, Eurovision Song Contest, Music

World Cup kicks off summer of multicultural fun

Flying the flag for Angola.

Of greater personal concern than the outcome of the general election is the fact that where I live the BNP came fourth.

They finished behind, respectively, the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour and ahead of the English Democrats and the trailing Greens.

That means 1,583 voters were of the view that neither the English Democrats nor sitting MP David Davis were sufficiently right-wing. Which in turn makes you wonder whether such individuals should be entrusted with anything so sharp as a polling station pencil.

Thankfully relief and some joy came at the weekend with the arrival, just over the border, of the first Hull World Cup.

A community organisation called the Goodwin Development Trust came up with the idea. Their aim was to assemble 16 teams; they attracted 20. Local residents represented the home nations, eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

As a mini-festival of international football, food and music it was a good start. To develop into a bigger event embracing the wider community Goodwin needs to expand the off-field activities beyond the handful of tents and food vans present on Saturday, but with a promise of 30 teams for next year the signs are encouraging. There is even talk of expanding nationally.

No one should really be surprised by the success. Hull has an image problem, but one created by a failure to balance the negative publicity with a few column inches about some of the good stuff. Many people think Hull is rough, or they don’t think about it at all.

And the city does have a decent heritage when it comes to tolerance, stretching back through its years as a major port to the beginnings of the 19th century when the locally-born William Wilberforce led the abolition of the slave trade.

There’s more to come with the Springboard music festival (www.springboardfestival.org) about to attract more than 170 performers on the weekend of 28 May to eight or nine stages in six pubs in the nearby village of Cottingham. And on 5 June back in Hull the Vista festival (www.princesavenuehull.co.uk) promises more multicultural fun with live bands and some workshops from the award-winning Hull Truck Theatre.

Meanwhile back at the football the standard was mixed, much like the real thing. England as hosts had the strongest support, DR Congo the coolest shirts with light-blue and red sleeves, Ghana the brightest hat and the most passion, singing their anthem before every game they played.

Stereotypes did kick-in to a degree. The African nations had individuals capable of brilliance but lacked depth, England had a man sent off early in their first game and Scotland caused more of a surprise when their result against Latvia was corrected to a win than when it was originally announced as a defeat. For the record the Kurdish team beat Iraq in the final.

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Filed under By Phil Ascough, Election, Football, Music, Uncategorized