Acoustic Gathering 2007

published: Wed 19th Sep 2007

Sunday 16th September 2007
Peasholm Park, North Bay, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 7TS, England MAP
last updated: Tue 17th Jul 2007

Just as the Summer is coming to an end, and the last outdoor festivals are packing up tent, there is still time for one more grasp of music in the sunshine with the Acoustic Gathering. Now in it’s second year, the one day event brings the best of many local acts plus some well known headliners in the folk genre to play at Scarborough’s Peasholm Park, home to many a duck. All organised by one guy, and all free.

And the weather is looking good. The setting is beautiful; each act is ferried across the park lake in a rowing boat to perform to the crowded park benches from the band stand. Behind it is the towering Pagoda, a Chinese-influenced building aloft a running waterfall.

There are a few stalls, one selling organic food,the other t-shirts and CDs of the artists. There is also a bar in the park café, and if you would like to try rowing for yourself boats are available for hire for thirty minutes a pop. Or if you like to relax a bit you can always hire a dragon shaped pedlo!

The day starts near midday with many local acts such as Phil Latham, The Pieces and The Producers. We arrive at 2pm to the smooth vocals of York’s Jess Gardham, singing mellow and funky songs from her new album ‘Beyond Belief’.

Next up is young Amaya Huntly, who returns after a performance at last year's event. Her classical piano skills go down great with the crowd, who are also lapping up the sunshine (a rarity this summer season).

John Watton’s guitar pluckings are amazing to hear, as he is joined on stage by flute player Rob Mackay, and also dedicates a song to his wife in the audience. His blues tune 'Gamblin' Man' is well worth a listen. Ollie Banks also has some help on stage from John's son Tom on the bongos and a cello player David Taylor, giving him a full sound, compared to many act’s solo strummings.

Another Acoustic Gathering regular, Carl Woodford, shows off his virtuoso skills, and brilliant songwriting skills with tracks like ‘Bridge Song’. A crowd of bobbing dragons and the occasional boat have moored themselves in front of the stage, trying to get a close up glimpse of Woodford's handiwork. His voice has an old medieval sound to it, strong and well-pronounced.

Carl Woodford

The first of the Hutchinson clan on stage today is Jesse Hutchinson, returning after last year's slot. He comments that he doesn't like to follow Woodford, but plays a blinder anyway. A duo are up next, in the form of Richard Adams And David Greaves, formally of Stoney and The Stops respectively. They play a couple of extra songs, including original 'Frank' about a man they knew and a cover of Johnny Cash's 'I Still Miss Someone', due to the next artist being delayed.

This gives a chance for the Mayor of Scarborough, Councillor Janet Jefferson, to make a speech about the event (though it is a little pointless, telling us what we already know).

Due to a busy A64 Vijay Kishore finally makes it to the bandstand. His high pitched vocals have a tint of Thom Yorke to them; haunting but forceful. Travelling from Birmingham, he is one of the performers that has travelled the furthest today.

The rain that has been threatening to happen for an hour starts lashing it down for Victoria Wright's set. Joined by a pianist, she belts out operatic tunes like 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' and the appropriate 'Time To Say Goodbye' by Pavarotti. She hits a few bum notes, but the sight of a crowd running for cover must be off putting.

Jesse's sister Hayley Hutchinson is getting quite a name for herself, appearing at Glastonbury and a favourite on Radio 2. With a gorgeous voice and good songs, she even has a sense of humour, joking that she is nervous about sitting in a boat with the threat of lightning. The rain has stopped now, so the more settled Hutchinson can relax and encourage the dampened crowd. “Anywhere where ducks are part of the audience is cool with me, even if they do stick their arses up at me!”

Hayley Hutchinson

A rare appearance by Tasmin Archer follows, as the sun has disappeared and the lake is surrounded by fairy lights. Even the Pagoda has lights beneath its waterfall. The song everyone knows her for, 'Sleeping Satellite', gains a huge cheer from the crowd. Joined by long term collaborator John Hughes and Elliot Randall of Steely Dan on guitar, there are many thought provoking songs like 'Violence', about the situation on Darfur, showing that Archer has just been resting and is back with new album 'On'.

Tasmin Archer

Tom Hingley of Inspiral Carpets fame is the penultimate act of the day. Some have only had fifteen minutes of showtime, but the headliners impress us with over thirty minutes of songs. Having been busy in the reformed Inspiral Carpets tour and in The Lovers with ex-Fall drummer Paul Hanley, Hingley shows that he can still be as powerful as a solo artist.

Headliner Chris Helme of The Seahorses and The Yards brings an end to the gathering today. Apart from the little bit of rain, the event is a success and will hopefully return for many years to come. With around 2,000 in the audience, 22 acts and nearly 11 hours of music, it really is a grand gathering and well worth the free entry! I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday.
review by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

Sunday 16th September 2007
Peasholm Park, North Bay, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 7TS, England MAP
last updated: Tue 17th Jul 2007

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