Woodbridge Art and Music Event preview
- Credit: Archant
Back for a second year, the Woodbridge Art and Music Event features festival headliners, cult club DJs, electronica pioneers, inspiring hip hop artists, disco dons, guitar icons, psychedlic rockers, talks by authors, art and more. Entertainment writer Wayne Savage spoke to programmer Ben Osborne.
The hope is WAME will boost the area’s creative economy by giving audiences the chance to see internationally recognised artists on their doorstep rather than having to travel in London, says Osborne about next weekend’s festival.
“We’ve already seen benefits from last year’s event, with more places doing live music and DJ events in Woodbridge throughout the year, which is great. There also seems to be a growing recognition of Woodbridge as a creative and musical town in London and other places.
“We’re really pleased to have bands from across East Anglia wanting to play. There’s a lot of talent here and everyone’s keen to be involved, which has been really encouraging and supportive. We’re very grateful for that.”
One thing Osborne, one of Big Chill’s longest serving resident DJs, has noticed is people outside the region are talking about WAME. Not just in London but also Barcelona and Paris, with some big names in Europe saying they want to come and play.
“It seems to have hit something in the zeitgeist.”
The hardest part about planning an event like this in Woodbridge, compared to London or a festival like Latitude, is there aren’t the full-time venues to draw on. Everything has to be brought in and created from scratch.
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“It would be impossible if there wasn’t such a great level of local support. We’ve had a huge amount of help and encouragement from the county, district and town councils and the mayor of Woodbridge as well as local businesses and the people in the community who turn out regularly to help events happen,” says Noise of Art founder Osborne, who is performing a DJ set during the event.
“We’re a small creative community here, but there are lots of people joining together to help things like this and other events happen. It’s great to be a part of. There is a very high level of support for music and musicality in the area.
“For example, I’m really excited about us having a literary strand this year and that has only been made possible by Browsers, Woodbridge’s independent bookshop, getting behind the festival. They’re now going to stock a new section of music books, which is a great thing to grow out of a festival. So I hope people will start tucking into their new range of music biographies and texts.”
The support from breweries, bars and restaurants like The Table, The Riverside, Red Lion and Adnams has also helped.
“It’s a very local affair in that respect, but with international acts playing. But it’s an indication of a culture that exists here,” says Osborne.
Running August 8-9, the line-up includes DJ sets from Phil Hartnoll of Orbital and Matt Black of Coldcut, with the latter saying: “I’m keenly looking forward to my first Woodbridge festival. The list of attractions looks interesting. Large events can be great but the more local ones often give a better chance to meet people, imbibe the flavour of the area and focus on less blockbuster, more soulful art and music. See you there.”
Also appearing are the critically acclaimed White Noise, The Woodentops, perhaps the most over-looked Glastonbury headliners; White Noise Sound, Severino and Justin Robertson, Dom Servini of Wah Wah 45s, DJ Ben Osborne of Noise of Art, Adam Double, currently supporting Jools Holland on tour; Arms, Mirror Signal, a favourite of Jamie Cullum; Love Nor Money, still on a high from their recent T in the Park performance; Fish Claw, Swallow and The Wolf, Aartwork, former Thomson Twins pianist and Nile Rodgers collaborator Jan Pulsford, Blue Bus Tour founder Peter Hepworth and Charlie Law, Aldeburgh Music Open Space’s cross platform music, art and storytelling collective Run Time; Spatial Awareness, Non Such DJs, David Freeland, Robert Castillani and guests, The Biscuits, and more.
There’ll be music in Elmhurst Park during the day, moving into various other venues in the evening like The Community Hall, Riverside, The Anchor, The Table, The Fire Station, The Red Lion and more.
“At Woodbridge we’ll be performing stripped back, rootsy renditions of our hits across 30 years of independent UK rock and roll. We’ll be playing the John Peel indie favourites that took us into the mainstream charts, including the first rock and dance crossover hit from a live recording,” says Woodentops singer-songwriter Rolo McGinty.
Alongside two headline Glastonbury shows, becoming darlings of the first Balearic-Ibiza scene, being championed by Paul Oakenfold and getting personal invitations to support David Bowie, they were the first band to cross over the divide between dance and indie music.
“We played Woodbridge last year and really enjoyed it, so this year we’re here to do something different as a more intimate set-up with me and my electric double bassist Mal Darwin. We’re aiming to perform with a simplicity, soulfullness and singularity we hope will transfix the audience. It will be the last outing before our forthcoming tour playing the 1986 hit album Giant, which begins in October. So we want it to be something special.”
A yet-to-be-released special edition book of new Beatles photographs is the subject of various talks during the festival’s debut literary strand.
Taken between 1962-1964, they are part of a never-seen-before collection originally shot for the Beatles Monthly magazine. The photos, published for the first time in the limited edition cased hardback book Looking Through You: The Beatles, captures the band in their private moments.
The book is edited by Chris Charlesoworth, a friend of John Lennon’s, who will give a talk on how the photographs were discovered as well as recalling his own experiences with Lennon and Yoko.
Zoë Howe’s biography of Stevie Nicks, Visions Dreams and Rumours, following the highs and lows of her epic rock and roll lifestyle as pin-up front woman for Fleetwood Mac, will be discussed. Daryl Easlea will also be talking about his biography Peter Gabriel - Without Frontiers.
There will be a special children’s session with Gracie Wright, singer and author of children’s book Silly Eric and Suffolk storyteller Justine de Mierre will round off the evening for toddlers.
Arts exhibitions are being held from now to August 9, The Old Mariner, New Street, featuring design students at University Campus, Suffolk, showcasing their visions of what future Woodbridge Art and Music Event posters, flyers, leaflets, T-shirts and bags might look like; from August 8-9, The Fire Station, The Thoroughfare, featuring screen print specialists Planet Patrol and August 8-9, Woodbridge Art Club, Tide Mill Way, featuring potters, painters and lace makers working live from 11am-5pm.
Visit www.woodbridgeartandmusic.weebly.com for more details.