To help advertise the musical ability of so many local musicians, this year Ben Drummond also a local musician held his first Acoustic Roots Festival for free at The Boat House pub. Hidden away in the one far corner of the park in Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield. The event was based around the idea of a friendly relaxed day out for family and friends to get together with the music at the for-front to help make it a joust occasion.
With the line up being based on the diversity of styles from Jazz and Country to the usual popularity of Pop and Rock from up and coming artists being spaced over the day from 2pm till late. Sequenced in with a mix of covers performed in the artist’s own eclectic ways and floor fillers to help bring in the audience.
The only problem that I had with the event was the location, being based in the far corner of Sutton Park, approximately 3000 yards away from the main entrance by the shopping center. Meant for people without cars you had to walk the distance into the woods to the dam, down one muddy embankment, past the cows that are free to roam about walk along the path located in front of a railway bridge and up another muddy embankment. Luckily a map and directions were available at the main reception on first arrival although when walking the route you soon realized the direction had some inconsistencies that easily sent you off track. So you had to rely on asking passers by and hope they know the park better.
Once arriving at the location though, you found the place hidden behind high bushes as a floral wall and entrance. Which gave the feel of an escape that took you into the grounds the event was being held at. While the far side had a fence for safety from the embankment, that looked out onto a picturesque lake.
Inside the grounds the feeling was inviting and relaxed yet busy so there was not much room for people to pass through (bearing in mind it had not long started) but with in minutes the people wanting seats were seated which helped reduce the packed feel significantly. The sound of the music added to the comfort and the artists were strong acts, which worked well alongside each other even with their different styles. While the change over intervals was quickly sorted so the live music was close to consistent. This was added to by the friendliness of the regulars, owner, staff and audience who spent time talking to each other and getting to know people who they had never met before.
Although as the organizer and presenter Ben spent his time making sure everything was running smoothly. He also took time in which to play along some of the artists so that they had instrumental backing if the bands they usually played with wasn’t available. This he did exceptionally well being that he was playing music by other artist’s known and unknown as well as playing his own music. Meaning that he switched from one different style to another. As for his own music this was not known but gave an upbeat sound alongside catchy tunes.
The most popular act on the list was Steve Marks here he did cover versions by artists such as Bon Jovi. These songs were played in an energetic style which got people up on their feet and all joining together dancing and sing along to the songs they knew which was all of them as the set list was based on popular classics. Formed in the style of a poppy dance along but with Steve’s own rocky style added to help make the song his own.
Raven Vandelle’s act was set out as the vocalist Dave Taylor and the guitarist Nick Crutchley performing a range of their songs to the audience. These went down well for the act as being a relaxer although not known to many; they were the most relaxing part to the event that was enforced through the sun setting. This was a surprising look at their performance due to the band usually being a dark rocky sound with strong guitar riffs and sharp vocals. Forming a relaxing tone to the ear.
This evening was all topped off when it turned dusk as you got to view the mist gradually cover the water, the vibe was calming and you did feel relaxed while listening to music that you may of never heard before. A great ending to the day!
Over all I feel it was an amazing idea, brilliantly planned out and I’m happy the event happened as it was a lovely experience as compared to the usual musical set-up for the masses with great intentions at the forefront. The only thing to bear in mind if travelling to the location on foot in future, wear suitable foot ware and take a drink along the route as you’ll need one. On the other hand it was an adventure of a route and there was entertainment like the cows along the way. The acts were a treat to be introduced to of those that I did not know and Steve’s set gave it an eventful lively aspect compared to being this is a new act for you to hear. The only way I feel the set-up could be made better is if there was more advertising of the event. Plus introducing the people invited to the music previously as a taster through showing a line-up of the acts performing before the event takes place.