After a year's absence because of you-know-what, the third Halifax Festival of Words took place this weekend. And it has been some weekend! Here's my reflections on what has once again been a great showcase for the town....
The Festival of Words officially opened at 1pm last Friday at The Albany Arcade in Halifax Borough Market by the Town Crier, and was followed by a short set by Todmorden-based opera singer, Nicola Mills. I had only ever seen Nicola perform on a live stream before, but her voice rang around the market and led to many passers-by stopping and joining the assembled crowd for a few minutes before resuming their shopping. People emerged from Adam's Cafe, they came clutching pies from Grosveners, and carrying carrots from Max Crossley's. A group of children ran in and stopped, big, wide smiles on their faces. It was a wonderful, uplifting start to the proceedings.
|A splendid opening: Nicola Mills hitting the right notes|
|Excellent: Julia Bardo and band|
Day 2 began early, and at 11am I was centre stage at The Grayston Unity talking about blogging and beer. It was great to see more than the one man and a dog I had expected (although Luna the dog was in the audience!), and I hope everyone present enjoyed my ramblings! Next up, I was speaking to Damian Morgan, the manager of Julia Bardo and The Orielles, who gave us all a fascinating insight into the job of managing artists, before I spoke to the Orielles themselves, who back in 2018 had launched their first album, Silver Dollar Moment, in their hometown at the Grayston. As with Damian, it was an interesting conversation with the band who have moved on impressively from that excellent debut album with its timeless indie pop having recently released a film, La Vita Holistica, the soundtrack being a new version of their 2nd album, Disco Volador. And that evening they were back, playing at the Albany Arcade where a sell-out crowd were treated to an excellent gig showcasing a dozen of their songs featuring a wide range of influences from indie pop to trippy dance to funk which was the best of theirs I have seen.
|A great gig: The Orielles at the Albany Arcade|
|Bob and Tessa talking all things Fall|
I couldn't hang around for Ben's talk, but as I headed over to the Albany Arcade, I heard the rousing tones of The Landlubbers (opening picture) wafting over the town. I tracked them down to Russell Arcade where they were in full flow and fine voice performing their ever-popular sea shanties. They had been on earlier at the recently reopened Square Chapel and were due to play the Festival out at The Grayston Unity. I stuck around for a couple more tunes, but I needed to get a move on as The Lovely Eggs were due on stage shortly, although I couldn't stay for too long as I had one more introduction to do back at The Grayston, for The Guardian's Northern music correspondent, Dave Simpson, whose talk was another one I was sorry to have to miss.
|The Lovely Eggs in full flow|