overview

Vibraphonic Festival 2008 reviews

published: Tue 25th Mar 2008

Misty In Roots

Friday 29th February to Sunday 16th March 2008
various venues across Exeter, Devon, EX4 3LS, England MAP
Various - free and from around £8 - £20
last updated: Mon 21st Jan 2008

Exeter's annual Vibraphonic festival has grown year on year since its birth four years ago. Most events take place at the multi-venue Exeter Phoenix and their are other showcases of musical talent also taking place across the city at various live venues around the city and the university.

The festival opened on the last day of February with Audio Bullys playing an over eighteen event at the university's student venue the Lemon Grove. I have to say over 18 events and festivals always confuse me, having gone to festivals since I was eight and having taken our daughter ever since she was a baby, I don't consider festivals with an over 18 policy a real festival.

Pama International

So it isn't until Pama International's show that we participate in the festival and have a wonderful evening where every single attendee ends up dancing. I don't know how the first few performances went down with the crowds but if they were anything like the show we saw sponsored by North Bridge Inn (who also hosted live showcases) then the festival started in style.

The next few days were school nights and festival goers enjoyed classical and jazz music from Basquiat Strings and Humphrey Lyttelton and blues from Matt Schofield, world grooves from Gilad Atzmon, theatre, DJs, and films. Before the return of Red Snapper, following a five year slumber, entertained with their instrument and musician performed drum n bass.

Misty In Roots

Week two saw two big dance parties with a load of hip hop and DJs, Zapppa's Grandmother's of Invention, the Cavern Club showcasing some new burgeoning talent and cracking roots reggae from FSOE's act Misty In Roots. Another big FSOE (Future Sound Of Exeter) event on the Saturday headed up by Temple Hedz, we'd love to have gone to, but had family commitments, which go to show the advantage of being able to lose yourself in a field for a few days.

Week three saw storms batter the west country and Exeter was no exception, Mr Scruff and Asian Dub Foundation fought it out for festival goers in the first major clash of the festival programme. More DJs including Ninja Tune and Warp Records nights, more film including Buena Vista Social Club, dance nights in Timepiece Nightclub, had hot sweaty dancers escaping the weather with worldbeats and Cafe Samba.

Los Albertos wowed crowds for free at club Havana, Mugenta Cafe won over a whole audience at The Globe Inn and Detor entertained at The North Bridge Inn, Michael Messer brought slide guitar to the Corn Exchange as part of the 'Jack To Phono series' of live performances. The festival was closed at The Phoenix with Imperial Leisure playing upstairs while Hayseed Dixie were in the main auditorium.

Hayseed Dixie


There was less dance troupes this year, we didn't see any at all, and there was less art, well if you discount Mr Scruff's cartoons and Trash Fashion's crazy clothes. The workshops continued to be provided though, music industry seminars, guitar clinics, music workshops, all seemed a bit less 'drop in' this year and I've no idea how well they were attended. They didn't really interest any of us. The impromptu VJ mixing have a go at the Northcott after a powerful theatre performance of Looking for JJ at the Northcott proved the best workshop of the festival.

The rather wonderful Vibraphonic festival radio station made another wonderful return and some of their interviews will go down as legendary. I do love this festival radio and it always has a slightly laid back chaos about it which makes it addictive listening. I was worried it would be much more professional with the life crushed out of it this year, but was delighted to hear more weird in depth conversations about random stuff - better than radio four by far.

This year the festival showcased another great selection of festival acts, and we managed to increase our coverage of the event this year, there were more festival regulars we spotted at the various events and it was just unfortunate the weather kept some of the crowds away. Overall the festival felt more dispirate this year. As though there were separate camps, with each of the main organisers bringing their own feel to the festival.

There were bus stop adverts and the Vibraphonic booklets, but not much else to unite this festival's various venues and even some of the attendees I spoke to were oblivious to the fact they were at a festival, or that there were other events on. But that's a minor issue, the festival showcased some wonderful performers, who now doubt will thrill festival goers all summer long and I look forward to another diverse showcase next year.
review by: Scott Williams

Friday 29th February to Sunday 16th March 2008
various venues across Exeter, Devon, EX4 3LS, England MAP
Various - free and from around £8 - £20
last updated: Mon 21st Jan 2008


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