Archive for the ‘summer festivals’ Category

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 24, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day two of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter.

Although a hot day, it was still a pleasant walk up Steep Hill.

Before heading up the High Street, I enjoyed a smoothie off a stall I had never seen before outside Lincoln Central Market.

Looked in Crafty Bottle, a craft beer shop on The Strait. What time did thy close? Five. Madness, thousands of thirsty visitors to the steampunk festival and they close at five.

Stalls in Castle Hill, cheek by jowl, net result, cannot get near the stalls.

Not happy to pay to enter the Castle Grounds for what is normally free. I decided on a season ticket.

Highly recommended the slow roast pork off the Redhill Farm stall. Quality street food.

Why no craft beer stall? I asked of a Lincoln Castle stall. They had, but at ambient temperature. The guy running the stall offered to go down to the cellar and bring up a bottle. When he opened, most of the contents foamed up out of the bottle. Not his fault, I suspect yeast left in the bottle.

He opened a second bottle, same problem but opened a fraction to enable the gas to escape.

Sat outside the Castle Cafe very hot, no umbrellas.

What was appalling was an overflowing bin, the only bin with people coming from all directions in the Castle grounds.

Lack of bins, lack of frequency of emptying bins. And why no segregation of the rubbish? Compostable, recyclable and general waste.

Anyone fancying tea, coffee and cakes. Do not waste half an hour in the queue for disgusting tea and coffee. Take a walk out of the West Gate, cross diagonally to the left to The Lawn, coffee shop and roastery, where will be served far superior tea and coffee by baristas.

The Lawn also had a couple of stalls. I would suggest encourage stall for a nominal fee, and encourage more stalls.

Gary Nichols author of The Imaginarium gave an excellent talk on creativity, An artist who works with camera, not a photographer.

He travelled afar for one coast scene, then photos of different rock formation, different sky, all built into one image.

Another, a girl in a flowing dress, the dress becomes the pool of water.

Colin Edmonds author of Steam Smoke and Mirrors, has a third book out soon.

Two years ago, in the yard of a schools, excellent street food. Last year, something of a washout. This year at the school and a car park, mainly rubbish, And no surprise when learn organised by Lincoln BIG not the steampunks. Soonest Lincoln BIG is dissolved the better.

Many of the steampunks the same question, why is everything in the locality closed?

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 23, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day one of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter over the next few days.

Today possible to walk through the grounds of Lincoln Castle, as can do every day, but next few days, will be charged the same entrance fee as though walking the Castle walls, simply to visit a few stalls. This is not acceptable and something the steampunk organisers need to resolve. Those who have a stall in the Castle grounds pay a lot of money for their stalls and a barrier is then created to deter those wishing to visit their stalls. It also hits local businesses either side of the Castle entrances

Not many steampunks around, but next for days will be very many.

Bailgate, Steep Hill, The Strait, five o’clock nearly every single business, shop, tea room, cafe, closed, many would have closed at four if not earlier. Sheer madness, biggest steampunk festival in the world, brings in thousands of people, people with money in their pockets, and nowhere open to spend that money.

For visitors a few recommendations.

For coffee avoid the chains and their undrinkable coffee. Walking up the High Street

  • turn left before The Stonebow, Coffee Aroma on the right
  • through The Stonebow, a little further up the High Street, Madame Waffle on the right

For quality beer forget the pubs, pick up a bottle or two of craft beer.

  • on the left in The Strait, Crafty Bottle, craft beer and a bottle opener

For gear no better than

  • The Strait, J Birkett
  • bottom of Steep Hill, antique shop

Staycation Live 2019

August 3, 2019

GWR Reading-Guildford-Redhill, wifi not working, usb charging not working. Usually though is down to not turned on. Why is there not a check list? Maybe there is.

Alighting at Godalming Station, surprised how many get off the train. All were headed for Staycation Live. Word has got around.

Once I arrived at the park, already many people, far more than when I usually arrive.

Disappointed to find The Little Beer Company no longer running the bar as they have done an excellent job the last two years. Maybe ask Growlers & Cans.

Reusable plastic for the beer. Pay a refundable pound deposit. I can though foresees a problem, no washing facility on site.

The design I did not like. It would have been better a logo nothing more on the side.

But the concept is good sustainability.

Something that needs to be addressed at the markets in Godalming, Farnham, and Guildford. No it is not acceptable to use plastic. Why do councils have such abysmally low standards? If Staycation can, then so can they. They should be demonstrating best practice, not worst practice.

Hog roast always worth grabbing something to eat.

A fake burger vegan stall. I would rather have seen quality vegetarian dishes, not fake meet. They do at least make their own.

Beware of the fake meat being hyped for example Impossible Burger, big businesses, highly processed crap including gmo soya contaminated with glyphosate.

Extinction Rebellion probably thought themselves in a prime location, in the cloisters with the secondary stage. Not so if tried to hold a conversation

It would have been a good idea had they been granted the stage to give a talk. Maybe they were, maybe they did.

Something to consider for the future, talks, poetry, drama.

Need a quality coffee truck.

I would have liked to have seen a quality coffee stall. Something that has been lacking. Maybe try Coffee Gems, a quality coffee roastery in Farnham. Or 101 Coffee Espresso Bar in Oxford who have experience of running coffee stalls at festivals.

I would invite Ollo Foods, quality vegan food, not fake meat substitutes.

Surrey Pride, sponsored by BAE Systems, hands dripping with blood of all the children killed in Yemen. Sickening.

I did not stay long, left before three.

On leaving a brief chat with the local Mayor.

Lucky I left when I did, local butcher closes at three.

One reason for wishing to leave early, I had spotted on Wednesday cast iron cooking pots in Samaritans charity shop. Unfortunately had gone.

Looked in 2 Bada, a Korean restaurant. Somewhere to eat on my next visit to Godalming.

Caught bus into Guildford.

A little market on the Town Bridge. Did I want an ice cream? No, Loseley ice cream, not cheap at £3 a tiny tub, I would prefer a cone, no cones. Man suggests try elsewhere. But I could not find where he directed me.

I did find at the bottom of the North Street an ice cream van peddling crap ice cream with engine running.

It illustrates Extinction Revolution have a long way to go. Guildford has declared a Climate Emergency. Empty words unless followed by action. Why is this ice cream van permitted?

Dylan’s ice cream, top quality local ice cream and served in a cone, does not leave an engine running.

Next time roads are blocked, point out roads are multi-function, not restricted to traffic. OK for a bike ride passing through that blocks the roads. The chaos is as nothing when Climate Emergency kicks in.

Last week record high temperate. This week, a month’s rain fell within a couple of hours, roads swept away, rail lines swept away, a dam about to overflow a small town evacuated. Had the hills been rewilded, subsidised sheep kicked off the hills, these flash floods would have been prevented. Grass grazed herbivores improve soil structure, soil acts as carbon sink, grass mitigates temperature change, when it rains the water soaks into the ground.

Good deed of the day, helped with a survey on shopping habits. Long discussion followed on collapse of retail in town centres. Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre, Brighton, need for support for local indie businesses not chains, question why Visit Guildford and Experience Guildford are promoting corporate chains at the expense of local indie businesses, are they taking money to do so?

My detour into Guildford to collect Black Gold from Waterstone’s.

A girl outside handing out poetry. She was typing it out on a portable typewriter. She was packing up when I came out of the bookshop.

I questioned she was not there for long. She told mm she had been there all day.

She told em she was a musician and gave me a copy of her EP.

It was then to Guildford Station.

Even though I left Staycation Live early it was still around seven when I got home.

Staycation Live is supported by Godalming Town Council. And they are to be complimented for their continued support.

Culture should be supported for its own sake, it improves well-being, sense of place, but as a study in Sheffield has shown, it also benefits the local economy.

To what extent does Staycation Live benefit the local economy? Those with stalls will benefit, if provided by local bars and restaurant, as in the past, even if not making money on the day, is going to tempt to visit.

Sheffield has an excellent freebie magazine Now Then found in indie coffee shops which supports local indie businesses, local culture.

Contrast with Guildford where Visit Guildford and Experience Guildford promote corporate chains, big business to the detriment of local indie businesses. 

 

Museum of the Moon

September 1, 2018

Incredible exhibit in Hull Minster.

A suspended model of the moon filling the nave. Quite surreal.

Part of Hull Freedom Festival.

Outside in Trinity Square, a helpful guide you must go in Hull Minster and see the moon. Tempted but on my way to Thieving Harry’s, maybe if I have time on my return. She was quite insistent. I gave in. And yes, a must see.

What did you think, she asked, as she encountered me again in Trinity Square? Amazing, well worth a visit.

Hull Freedom Festival

August 31, 2018

Freedom Festival, a three day festival in Hull.

Freedom Festival was started in 2007 to commemorate the anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce.

Train to Hull, stunning views over the Humber Estuary and of the Humber Bridge.

On arrival at Hull Station, greeted by Philip Larkin.

Then head to Hull Old Town, cobbled streets (strictly speaking setts) but first a detour to Two Gingers in Paragon Arcade.

Excellent cappuccino in Two Gingers.

They have recently introduced their own house blend from The Blending Room, plus single origin coffee from The Blending Room.

Zeberdee’s Yard locked off, rehearsals for a concert tonight.

Lunch in Trinity Market.

I went round the stalls, twice. None looked appetising, appalling environmental standards, food served in polystyrene boxes, plastic utensils.

Burger off Shoot the Bull. Rare breed beef, burger excellent, service not so good. No, do not put ketchup on without asking, and no, do not blame the customer for not telling you.

No mention of the offer of a meal deal with a beer. Skip the fries, offer a decent craft beer. Brew Dog Punk IPA would go down a treat with a quality burger.

Asked of Caffeinated where to locate Thieving Harry’s. They kindly marked on a map of Hull Old Town.

Passing by Hull Minster, a guide said I must enter and look at the moon. No time, maybe on my return. She was insistent. Amazing, a suspended moon occupying the nave, quite surreal. Yes, she was correct Museum of the Moon in Hull Minster an absolute must visit.

To get to the part of Hull Old Town where Thieving Harry’s is located, have to cross a busy main road with no convenient crossings, one crossing closed and long wait at the lights when crossing.

Pedestrians should have priority. The traffic is at a virtual standstill. The crossings should be more frequent for pedestrians, it will make not a jot of difference to the traffic flow.

Thieving Harry’s overlooks the old docks now a marina and the sea. Located in what was once the offices of a fruit merchant, the old Fruit Market was located in this part of Hull Old Town.

Picked up a couple of bags of coffee.

We have a problem with plastic, plastic-lined paper takeaway cups, plastic cups, plastic utensils, plastic straws.

As always it is the indie coffee shops leading the way. Compostable cups, refillable cups, though best to relax with coffee in glass or ceramic, paper straws.

Thieving Harry’s showed me something I had not seen before, drinking straws made from shells.

A diversion to Trinity Market to collect two bags of coffee off Caffeinated.

As I cut across Trinity Square a giant puppet had been erected. This was one of the giant puppets to parade through the Hull Old Town later that evening as part of Hull Freedom Festival.

I pop in Two Gingers and pick up two bags of their house blend. I would have wished for a V60 pour over, but no time.

All three coffee shops use The Blending Room, a Hull coffee roastery. Today they had a pop up coffee stall. Where, no one knew, and they lacked the courtesy to respond to a query. What is the point of tweeting have a pop up stall for the Freedom Festival and do not say where? Yet another example of poor use of social media.

Made the station in time for my train, just, only to find no train, running late.

Stunning views across the Humber Estuary out of the train window and of wind turbines.

AsylumX – Day 3

August 26, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 3: The third day of AsylumX, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

Sadly a complete washout. A cold wet day, few people on the streets, street food gave up by lunchtime as no one about, the stalls on Castle Hill were forced by Council jobsworths to cease trading by mid-afternoon (previous day forced to cease trading at six when easily could have continued until seven).

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.

AsylumX – Day 2

August 26, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 2: The second day of AsylumX, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

Today, stalls in Castle Hill, in grounds of Lincoln Castle, many many steam punks. A food court open outside the Castle walls, street food, coffee van real ale, craft beer.

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.

AsylumX – Day 1

August 24, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 1: The first day of Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.

Staycation Live 2018

August 4, 2018

I was in two minds to visit Staycation Live this year, something I usually look forward to, a two-day free music festival in a park by the River Wey in Godalming.

Last couple of years I have not enjoyed as much as I used to.  Last year, both days I left early.

It was going to be a very hot day, though not as hot as Friday, there is very little shade on the site.

The clincher, South West Railways on strike.  The most ridiculous strike possible. Chinese owners have not said whether or not they will get rid of guards, the railway staff go on strike regardless. The only people it hits are the long suffering passengers, as though they do not suffer enough already from the appalling rail services in the country, as I often document.

I worked out I could get there, assuming train running, therefore set off to catch a train to Guildford, then on to Godalming.

I missed the train to Guildford. They drop the barriers and not possible to catch the train. Forty minutes wait for the next train.

At Guildford I leave the station and catch the bus.

A pleasant walk along the River Wey.

I have missed the first band, a blues band.

As I arrive a pop group playing.

I have a chat when they finish. Suggest they put their recently released work on Bandcamp, set free download, people can pay what they wish.

The cloisters used to be the quieter set, acoustics, jazz, blues, but not any more.

A rap artist with looped violin, overwhelming bass thudding out.  Had he stuck to looped violin, it would have been better. Check out Steve Lawson (looped bass) or Zoe Keating (looped cello).

I suggested to the guy who had music on sale, use Bandcamp.

Conversations on Bandcamp are either not aware of or aware of but do not use.

Maybe something on Bandcamp in the programme.

Fairly good choice of food and drink. Wheat and orange beer off The Little Beer Corporation, hog roast off  Milford Meat Roaster. Both were excellent.

A franchise coffee operation serving undrinkable coffee.

Far better would be Chimney Fire Coffee,  a coffee roastery located in the Surrey Hills, running a coffee stall next year.  Failing that Edge coffee van from Edgcumbes Coffee (though probably too far away from Chichester).

Godalming is a strange place, nowhere serving decent coffee.

I had a tea at Cafe Mila which was not good.  Their coffee is Cupsmith, undrinkable coffee. The tea also supplied by Cupsmith, which explains why not good.

There is no excuse these days for serving bad coffee. Could get away with it five years ago, not now.

Abysmal environmental standards.

Coffee stall said paper cups. Er no, plastic-lined paper cups that can not be recycled. Did though have paper straws.

Thai stall had changed to card boxes, wooden utensils. Apologised that their cups were plastic.

The Little Beer Corporation plastic cups.

There is absolutely no excuse these days for low environmental standards. It needs two things, minimum standards for the stalls, education of the people attending.

Cups can be compostable, the ‘plastic’ cups can be plant-based cellulose.

Information on each stall and in programme, take compostable items home or put in the clearly marked compost bins.

This makes rubbish disposable easier as all that is compostable can be collected for composting.

Most of the music seemed loud noise, enthusiasm but loud noise.

When I returned from Cafe Mila, a group playing, playing badly, TV theme tunes.

It was at this point I decided to leave. I had had enough.

Walking through the town, to the butcher then Waitrose, very tired, therefore probably wise I chose to leave when I did.

Not long to wait for a bus. It was then do I risk catching a train and risking no train, or go to the bus station and catch a bus. I decided on the latter.

I could have stayed later. The cloister which usually finishes early, was going on until late.  It looked more interesting later, but with no trains, no buses, not viable.

Running a festival is not easy. Who to invite? Bring back what was excellent last time, and that is assuming available?

In the past, I have bought a lot of music, often given away.  Today, none.

I am lucky, I encounter good music. And these days I only buy from those I encounter, supporting struggling musicians, even financing albums.

Do I make a note, suggest for Staycation Live?

I would certainly invite Jewelia, she appeared a few years ago in the cloisters, and give her the main stage.

Some of the reggae bands that have played in the past have been exceptional.

Alternative Dubstep Orchestra were amazing at Staycation Live 2013. A mix of avant garde rock, ska (reggae) and salsa. In many ways they were like a cut down, avant garde salsa band, with brass, strings, guitar, percussion and vocals.

Sunday I think I will give a miss.

 

Bells Pierce Summer Fete

July 15, 2018

In the summer I have passed by Bells Pierce Summer Fete but never visited, too late to then visit Farnham.

On Saturday as I was early in Farnham I visited Bells Pierce Summer Fete.

I assumed next to The Six Bells, or even associated with, but no, it was along a drive.

The Six Bells was once again closed and derelict. It appears to change hands every six months. That it is owned by Greene King, one of the trio of bad pubcos who screw pub landlords the other two Enterprise and Punch, says it all. One of the ladies serving food, confirmed The Six Bells closes and changes hands quite regularly. She said she has had good food, when she next went it had changed hands ad the food was disgusting, and she has never been since. Again, typical of Greene King.

To my surprise Bells Pierce Summer Fete very popular. A typical English summer fete.

I was reminded of the fete at the English church in Puerto de la Cruz. The main difference was less junk and not forced to pay to enter.

I wish people would would learn how to cook on a barbeque. One could see the sausages were not cooked. I sent mine back, and even then, only barely cooked.

I decided to walk along the ridge of Farnham Park into Farnham. This brought me to Farnham Castle, then out into Castle Street and down to Gail’s Bakery.