News Column

IN MY VIEW ; After city life, Derek Braithwaite relocated to Looe, where he ran a bed and breakfast

October 2, 2013


CORNWALL is rich in many ways. Well, except money.

People here are pretty good at music festivals. During the summer you will find one to suit all tastes from Penzance to Saltash.

At the time of writing, we're halfway through the three-day, 60- band, threestage blitz that is now one of the biggest and possibly most diverse - the Looe Music Festival.

The main stage is on the beach, and the waves sneak in to kiss the edge of the crowd area.

It's becoming an end of summer festival of music, fancy dress, wild food (anyone for a llama burger?) and painted faces. Interestingly, more people come to the festival from outside South East Cornwall than from within.

So, we wandered from tent to tent. One of the highlights was a couple in their eighties, wearing sensible cardies, punching the air and singing along to Bon Jovi's Living On A Prayer, excellently delivered by Modern Romance.

Dizreali and the Small Gods reinforced my view that is impossible to tell good hip-hop music from bad. Just don't get it. We stayed for a couple of numbers but it was becoming hard work. Mrs B was feeling the chill off the sea and the siren call of a glass of Pinot wafted over the music.

Meanwhile there was an unbelievable performance on the main beach stage from Devon's disgustingly talented Seth Lakeman and his Celtictinged, high energy band.

Reef, Simon Townshend (yes, brother of Pete), and the always excellent Jessica Sweetman were pretty faultless and there were excellent sets from lesser-known but remarkable performers like Kola and the irrepressible Cajun band, Gumbo Flyers. See them wherever you can.

Tonight we have Sham 69, The Damned and Darkness. There will be plenty of opportunities to take snaps on mobile phones, producing dark images that will need explanation.

But as far as I could see - and this is a sign of the growing feel of the event - the most photographed performers didn't sing or dance. They walked around a bit and then stopped for a breather. And posed for more photographs.

Ringo and George are shire stallions who patiently pull a horsedrawn bus. Two walkers in front in Victorian costume help coachman Pete Woodward negotiate the narrow streets and low-hanging signs.

A quick word about Pete. He's a 48-year-old former builder who knows more than you need to know about shires. And if a film company wants to remake Oliver Twist, then Bill Sykes can be found at Lizard Stallions, near Helston. In battered top hat, coachman's black cloak and healthy stubble, he makes Oliver Reed look like a social worker. His bus is a restored 1860 model; open top deck, spiral staircase at the back. But it's the horses who are the stars. Shiny black, carved from granite with the temperament of a country vicar. Magnificent. A ride on the top and then back to the music.

I'd like to say we were rock 'n'rolling until dawn, but the truth is that by half nine it was home for a cup of tea and a biscuit.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

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