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Brighouse on a Saturday Night...and a Sunday!

Bought a copy of the local 'Brighouse Echo' today to see how they covered the Brighouse Canal, Beer and Music Festival held in the town last weekend. 

Well, I needn't have got excited. What I was hoping to see was plenty of coverage of the music, a few shots of the artists involved, maybe a concert review, probably little mention of the beer, pictures of smiling people beside the canal, plenty of colourful boats and a few shots of the market and town in general.

What we actually got was a few paragraphs which listed some of the musicians who were on(complete with spelling mistakes), no shots any of the artists, no reviews, no mention of the beer, pictures of canal boats, a little girl eating an ice-cream(to denote the sun was out), the miniature train going up and down West Park Street(possibly a library shot), a smiling girl selling loaves and a guy wielding a python.

In short, it was a one-dimensional view. If the 'Echo' had taken time to hang around at the Festival they would have seen and heard some fantastic artists which shows yet again the amazing number of quality musicians we have in this area. I missed several I would have liked to have seen again - Roger Davies(twice, although we did bump into each other in the bar), Ryan Spendlove, and Bella Gaffney, all of whose music I love but you can't be in two(or three) places at the same time. I also missed Chantel McGregor, previous winner of British Blues Guitarist of the Year(and up for it again this year), who'd popped down from Wyke to enjoy the Festival with her dad but ended up performing a half hour slot to fill in for someone who couldn't turn up.

I enjoyed everyone who I saw. Our Tom opened up on the Saturday on the main stage, more confident than last year's solo slot, then we had Drighlington's answer to George Formby, JP Totham - have banjolele will travel - whose version of 'Get Lucky' is up there with the original Daft Punk version. I was away for the afternoon but returned for the performance by Rugosa, whose brand of melodic metal is getting all the better for being performed live more often.

Up next were Blood, Sweat and Beers, Brighouse legends who kept us entertained with their steady stream of classics from the Stones, the Doors, Van Morrison and others. We'd heard them many times before but this is a band with a massive and loyal following who know how to get the feet moving. During their performance the heavens opened and it was touch and go as to whether they would be able to continue. In the end they continued, plenty of us remained and danced along in the deluge. It was fantastic, as my mate Mad Pete said it just added to the occasion. The set concluded to rapturous applause, with singer Fletch picking up his sodden lyric sheets which were next day found to be drying out on a Brighouse washing line!

Next on were the Raisers who kept us all entertained and the feet moving with a steady stream of Irish classics as the deluge continued. We headed off when they'd finished as Day 1 concluded, a fantastic if damp time had been had by all.

Sunday morning, the sun was out as the festival began to come to life. The chairs were put out, the stalls opened up. I passed an old couple walking along the canal bank with a pushchair and a fat little dog on a lead. Closer inspection revealed it was an even fatter little dog and not a child that occupied the pushchair!

First up on the day was Jake Smallbones. A crackin' start to day as Jake treated us to some great acoustic music, with some brilliant guitar playing. Think Ed Sheeran on speed. Shame more people weren't there to enjoy it as he really was on form.

I came back to see the Rainey Street Band, about whom I have written much before. As usual they were on great form and got the crowd singing and dancing along to their heady blend of bluegrass and Americana, which just gets better and better. They treated us to classics like 'Radio On', 'Whisky' and 'Rainey Street'. The set concluded with 'Wagon Wheel', and this was another brilliant gig in what was a magical weekend.

The afternoon sun brought out a large number of people and as usual it was great to bump into old friends I hadn't seen in ages. Many stuck around for the last band Bradford's Nervous 'Orse who played a good set of country rock-style songs. And then the rains came down as the festival concluded. And it rained.

We headed to the beer tent where the staff had been fantastic all weekend. They had several real ales on from the likes of Ossett, Riverhead, Fernandes and Nook breweries, and I didn't have a bad pint all weekend. They had to sell off the remaining beer, so prices were reduced to £1 a pint. So we helped out, it was the least we could do.

Some time later we drifted over to Miller's Bar where some of the guys treated us to an impromptu jam session. We just didn't want the weekend to finish....

So a great weekend organised by the Brighouse Business Initiative who work their socks off to ensure the town punches well above its weight. Credit too to Robert from Treble Clef who sorted the sound and lighting out in some challenging circumstances. And a massive thanks must go to Jason Fieldhouse for organising a superb roster of artists.

So back to the 'Echo'. If they had spent some time at the Festival and covered the full story they would have had plenty to write about. But we shouldn't really be surprised.  When I first came to the town 14 years ago the paper was produced in the town and Stephen Firth the editor and journalists like John Gray were a familiar presence in and around the town and that local view meant the paper then was able to capture much more accurately what was going on. The trouble is, with no local presence with the paper being produced in Halifax, Brighouse now has no real local view or feet on the ground.

Shame, because a lot of wonderful musicians and local heroes deserve more....

And here's a view of the festival which gives a good overall summary of the  weekend, from Steven Lord of the BBI....


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