THANKYOU to Les & the team - but more sessions PLEEEZ!

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THANKYOU to Les & the team - but more sessions PLEEEZ!

Postby Ptarmigan » Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:20 am

On behalf of Scad the Beggars' I just wanted to say a big THANKYOU - to Les & the rest of the team for having us back to this year's MOKFest.

We hope folks enjoyed our music & dance, we certainly had a wonderful time.

It was a relief too, to see Campbeltown glowing in the sunshine, after all the bad forecasts we'd read beforehand!

We were really delighted to get the opportunity to play over there with you all again & enjoyed a grand tune in the Royal Hotel on the Saturday night, where the hospitalty could not have been warmer.
Many thanks to Brian & all his team for everything.

However, the highlight of our weekend was, as usual, the Dalriada Concert in the Heritage Centre on the Sunday afternoon.
It was an honour & a privilege to share the stage with such local talent. The age range of the local talent was amazing too & we alweays enjoy this concert, not least because is always has such a glorious mix of song & music, but also because of the wonderful setting.
Our hosts that afternoon could not have been more welcoming & friendly & we would like to thank everyone involved there for their generous hospitality ............. from the soundman to the tea lady! :D
I look forward to the Ballycastle Ferry running again & then we can invite some of this talent over to our side of the water, where I know they would be greatly appreciated.

We were also thrilled to get the chance to play in three new, very interesting, venues this year and it was encouraging to see some of the festivities being taken out & away from the usual 'hot spots' & into the community for more folks to enjoy & so feel part of.
I refer to the Village Hall at Carradale, plus the Masonic Hall & the Bowling Club.
I think this was a brilliant move & I would hope the committee would be planning to take more events out & about like these.

Is there a danger perhaps, that if this weren't done, that this festival could simply become a huge drinking event for 'young folk' & perhaps loose any 'cultural' element it may have :?:

Anyway, many thanks to Les & his excellent group of talented musicians, for letting us join them in both the Masonic Hall & the Bowling Club. We really enjoyed those sessions & your music & song. We're looking forward to the Ferry being on again & doing something similar over here.

I believe the Thursday night youngsters concert was a great success & perhaps more use should be made of this local talent. I believe the Festival Club was also well attended & great fun.
It is excellent that those who have no desire to go into pubs, and children too, are given the opportunity to see & hear most of the many talented musicians who were in Campbeltown at the weekend.

From our perspective though, we were a little disappointed that there weren't more 'session' musicians wandering around & apart from two Australian ladies with Fiddle & Flute, we only saw actual 'guest musicians' with instruments the whole weekend!
Did I miss a lot of session musicians ......... or were they just not there?

To clarify, by session musicians I mean those non-paid musicians who simply come along to the festival to enjoy the atmosphere & add to it by playing music themselves with other like minded souls.
They can be the lifeblood of a good vibrant festival!

In Ireland for example, the heart of any festival is usually 'the session' & if Campbeltown were in Ireland, every pub in the town would have been teaming with loads of musicians, while music sessions would have been springing up on the street too.
There would have been a constant tooing & froing up & down main street of a myriad of musicians carrying all manner of musical instruments.
This helps to bring the music to everyone in the community.

In many festivals over here, the trand is now for a number of first class musicians to be booked to play as hosts in all the good session pubs. This practice draws in hundreds of musicians who relish the opportunity to actually be able to play music with some of their musical heroes over the weekend & street sessions are commonplace.

I don't know, are perhaps the organisers making a concious effort to phase out that side of this event & concentrate on the concerts?
If so, I think that's a pity, because the session element of any festival brings the place alive 'through the day' ..... not just at night!

This was my fourth MOKFest & I certainly saw fewer musicians this year, than in previous years. Perhaps it was just a natural dip, rather than part of a downward trend - I hope so.

In any case, I pose these thoughts in hopefully a helpful, & constructive manner, they are not meant as any form of harsh criticism. I'm sure the committee enjoy the odd pat on the back, & rightly so, but obviously they also need to hear any negative feedback too if you are going to reach a realistic & accurate conclusion as to how the whole thing went.

I'm sure anyone who spent the whole weekend at concerts had a whale of a time, but all I'm saying is, there can & I believe should be more to a music festival, especially one which portrays a traditional image, than just the concerts.
I'm sure the committe are keen to encourage as many outsiders to attend & if a strong, vibrant session element were added to this festival, it could only help to encourage more musicians to the town.

Just my own personal opinion, for what it's worth, & obviously only coming from my own experiences over the weekend.

I hope lots of other people take advantage of this Forum, to air their own views on yet another successful MOKFest.

Well Done - Onwards & Upwards! :lol:
Last edited by Ptarmigan on Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Duke o' Ralston » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:33 pm

I would tend to agree with this posting regarding the lack of sessions in the bars etc. I remember when the festival began there was sessions happening in many different venues which did add a really friendly and exciting atmosphere to the town centre.

I don't know if there is one single reason why this has died away, maybe the "doon the green" event, although it is an excellent addition the the festival, has taken the focus away from the town centre, or maybe the musicians who used to travel here have found pastures new.

The thing with spontaneous sessions is that they are just that, they aren't actually arranged by the festival committee so it could be difficult to resurrect this part of the festival. What happened previously? Were musicians invited down or did the pubs themselves arrange for musicians to play or was it just that so many musicians arrived for the festival that playing in the bars was just a natural result.

Hopefully something could be done to revive this side of the festival cos it is a part of the weekend that, unfortunately has drifted away.
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Postby jimmy » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:01 pm

I would agree with the above postings, and would love to see a great festival become even better with a bit more emphasis on sorting out the lack of sessions.

This was the only disappointing aspect of this years festival and resulted in my opinion in a bit of a flat atmosphere in the town centre with little happening outside of the concerts. Ptarmigan seems to have some good ideas and whether they would work in Campbeltown who knows but it might be worth a try.

The festival has gone from strength to strength in terms of the big name acts it now attracts, but maybe too much concentration is placed on this aspect to the detriment of the festival as a whole. The Traditional music scene is growing all the time in Scotland and would it not be possible to book some of the smaller up and coming traditional music bands from around the country to play smaller venues pubs etc

It might seem contrary to what a session is supposed to be about but perhaps they need to be planned into the festival as ptarmigan states.

This is not a criticism of the organisers of the festival, who do a fantastic job and I'm sure are constantly tweaking and trying to improve on the format. They also have a lot of people to please and I'm just giving my opinion on what would make the festival more enjoyable for me.
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