Wednesday 24 July 2013

Thanks everyone for Buxton Festival Fringe 2013

By any reckoning Fringe 2013 looks to have been a success. The good weather obviously helped. There were new venues - the Pump Room Roof, Litton - and some important new initiatives such as the Music Festival at St Peter's, Fairfield and the Victorian 'tram' among exciting additions.

Audience numbers seem to have held up pretty well with Underground Venues, for example, having a number of sell-out events. The Military Tattoo sold very well again and the Food & Drink Festival ran out of food in some instances.

Artistically there were many impressive achievements. The Fringe Awards recognised 'excellence' in every category - and there were many, many shows that didn't get awards that were really excellent too.

So, thanks to the many hundreds of artists and performers; thanks to the thousands of you that attended shows and events making Buxton a great place to be; thanks to all the people who staffed the venues used over the 19 days of Fringe 2013.

Fringe 2014 will be in July! That much is for sure. The Festival dates are 11-27 July; on that basis the Fringe may well run from 9-27 July 2014 - but we have to talk to a few people yet. We'll let you know as soon we can - but keep those dates free for now.

Meanwhile please let everyone know what a great time you had in Buxton in July 2013 - hope to see you and your friends next year.

Thursday 18 July 2013

The Last Post (for a while anyway)

The Blogger stats suggest that not many people are reading this. I don't mind. Either it is not worth reading or you have too much else to do. However for those of you passing by let me - if I may - list some shows on the final 3 days of that you ought to make sure that you catch before Fringe 2013 ends. 

(If your show is not listed - well I'm sorry, do your very best to promote it. I really do hope you've enjoyed Buxton 2013 and we look forward to meeting you again in July 2014 - watch out for an announcement on the dates).

1] Sue Prince - Painted Tales in the Buxton Museum
2] The Great Dome Art Fair (Saturday & Sunday)
3] Amazing Landmarks & Legends in the Art Cafe, Pavilion Gardens
4] Around the World in 80 Days (Underground Venues) - last show on Saturday at 1pm
5] Not the Messiah - last show at 2.30pm on Sunday
6] Spoonface Steinberg - last show Friday at 7.30pm
7] Poldy & Elrieke - A Touch of the Dutch - last show Friday at 5.30pm
8] Titus Andronicus - last show Saturday at 9pm
9] Derbyshire County Youth Orchestra - Friday at 7.30pm
10] Reg, Henry & Jess - an evening of contemporary song, Saturday at 8pm
11] High Peak Orchestra - Sunday at 7.30 performing one of conductor Andrew Hodkinson's favourite pieces, Delius' Florida Suite.

And I've not even mentioned the day of Morris dance (Saturday), personal favourites like Project Adorno (Friday and Saturday) or one of the hardest working Fringe 2013 bands Nine Feet North (final show - and you've earned a rest - on Saturday at 2.30pm).

So spend 10 minutes going through the programme one last time and cram these next three days full of music, art, theatre, dance, song and comedy.

Sunday 14 July 2013

Last Week At The Fringe

Well not 'last week', 'next week' - but next week is the last week of Fringe (and Buxton Festival) 2013. So what is there to watch out for? Well most of the visual arts exhibitions are around for a little longer - though note that the Museum doesn't open on Monday.
In terms of music - well Africa Entsha have excited everyone and they are at St John's from 16-18 (as well as singing on the Pump House Roof and guesting at Club Acoustic at the Old Clubhouse late on the 17th). So you've no excuses for not hearing these guys.
At the Railway on the 15-16 is a hot, hot cabaret show - Kiss of the Red Menace, with songs from Cabaret, Chicago & All That Jazz!
The highly-regarded Early Music specialists Partita do their second show of this Fringe at the Methodist Church on Wednesday 17th. Also watch out for a couple of Dutch singers - Elrieke & Poldy - at Underground Venues from 17-19 July.
In terms of Theatre there are still chances to catch Fringe 'royalty' George Telfer in his Richard Burton show - 18, 20 & 21. What were they doing casting Dominic West when George was available? Virtually simultaneously George is also Graham Chapman in Not The Messiah. [Message to George - should you let your agent be working you this hard? You're 'royalty'!] 
There are a couple of performances of Spoonface Steinberg to come at the Old Clubhouse (18 & 19) - unless it is sold out. Check quickly! 
The Zoo Story has been getting some people excited - more shows at Underground Venues from 15-18 July.
An all-female production of Titus Andronicus opens on the 16th at the Arts Centre Studio - from the same company that brought us the highly-acclaimed Romeo & Juliet last year.
Buxton's Victorian 'Tram' is known the world over apparently. At £5 a trip it is a bit of a steal really. It leaves more or less hourly from the front of the Opera House - or as we prefer to think of it, from the Fringe Desk.
Starting on July 15th in Poole's Cavern is a 'Victorian Candlelit Tour'. With Lord Martin Beard in charge this should be wild fun.
When you've done this lot come back for more!

Friday 12 July 2013

Busy Bees

Look, I've not got the time to write this; you haven't got the time to read it. There is far too much to do and this glorious summer is to be relished. But just in case you haven't noticed what's happening in Buxton over the next 48 hours or so here are some possibilities:
from 4pm today - Pavilion Gardens Food & Drink Festival and much more besides. So no need to cook tonight. Eat in the Gardens!
7.30pm - United Reform Church - Patchwork Lives. Penultimate performance of a piece of theatre that has rave reviews
7.00pm - St Mary's Church - opera cabaret plus outdoor supper for £10!
7.00pm - St Peter's, Fairfield - Final day of their week-long music festival. Concludes with Elvino & The Ragged Company
8.00pm - Cantibus, choral music in St John's.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is, of course Carnival Day. It promises to be the hottest, sunniest carnival for years. Bring plenty of water, a hat and sun block and cheer the procession through the town from around 2pm - the Fringe Float will be obviously orange (but don't confuse us with the Billerettes).

Buxton Festival has being getting 4 and 5 star reviews all over the place. If you are under 30 you can get tickets for the opera at £5. The French double (14th & 20th) and the Vivaldi (13th) are both very accessible and worth a punt. Next Tuesday's (16th) recital by Anne Sophie Duprels & Pascal Roge (Poulenc's "La Voix Humaine" was highly recommended to me).

Be off with you!

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Free Art On The Fringe

I've spent a happy day on the Fringe taking in as many of the art exhibitions as I could. May I recommend that you do the same?

I started at Scrivener's Bookshop on the High Street - if you are coming from the Crescent direction you'll need to go right through the market place (currently the fairground and continue for 100 metres or so). Scrivener's probably competes with Scarthin Books in Cromford for the title of "Derbyshire's Biggest Second-hand bookshop". Apart from getting lost in 5 stories of books - and temporarily losing my hat - I also saw Suzanne Pearson's fascinating exhibition of landscapes on the staircase walls. Take care as you go up and down but her work is getting richer and richer and her self-imposed method is interesting in itself.

At the Buxton Museum -  from Scrivener's going towards the town, down the hill and on the right hand side - there are three separate exhibitions of contemporary art (as well as the permanent galleries and rooms). The first thing you should see is Tony Hall's "From Life" - a collection of small, mostly black and white drawings of flowers, fruit, nudes. Some are drawn on an I-Pad. This is an intriguing little exhibition and easily overlooked - make sure you spent 15 minutes or so admiring the sensitivity and delicacy of this work.

Also on the ground floor of the Museum is the seductive work of Sue Prince. She has produced work drawing on a Swedish technique that resembles in superficial appearance something like the Bayeaux tapestry. A bit like the tapestry closer inspection of Sue's work often reveals a more subversive and questioning element than first strikes you. A memorable exhibition.

On the first floor of the Museum is the Derbyshire Open 2013 - separate exhibitions of young and adult artists. There is a considerable mixture of styles and approaches on display and no one is likely to appreciate it all. Many will take issue with the judges decisions - but that is all part of the fun.

An exhibition that might get overlooked is one called "Amazing Legends & Landmarks". This is on the first floor of the Pavilion Gardens cafe area - in the Art Cafe. About 30 works by local artists each one with a short narrative connecting the image with a story - real or imagined. A very interesting and enjoyable collection.

I made my way back past Scrivener's (to retrieve my hat) and onto The Green Man Gallery which opened about 7 months ago. The Gallery has been a great addition to life in the town.. I was fortunate to be given a personal guide to "It's Not Easy Being Green" - the exhibition is on the first floor and represents a number of responses to doing art that is 'green'. I was fascinated by Harry Knights photograph. Spend some time with that!

I didn't get to see Louise Jannetta's work - her studio is open from 11-14 July.

Reviews of all the Visual Arts entries can be found here: Arts Reviews

Sunday 7 July 2013

Fringe Sunday

Starts at 2pm today (Sunday).
It's going to be warm - even hot - and beautiful in the Pavilion Gardens. Bring a picnic, a rug, cold drinks and prepare for a cracking family day out. Apart from the Fringe Sunday programme there will the Tideswell Male Voice Choir (page 16 in the Fringe Programme) singing by the Opera House from around 1pm. There is an open-air art exhibition on the railings of Broad Walk. The Winster Morris Men may also be out and about.
There is more free music at 1pm from the Pump House Roof in the Crescent. That was launched splendidly as a Fringe venue yesterday by the Arkham Karvers.

So what have we got for Fringe Sunday? The running order looks like this:
Africa Entsha (Fringe Programme page 13)
Godstar (page 24)
La Petite Famile (page 30)
Crimes Against Taste (page 12) 
Belly Dance Flames
Fuzzy Felt World (page 14)
Nine Feet North (page 15)
James Pelham (pages 11 & 15)
Scott Allsop (page 17).
Many thanks to everyone for giving up their time for a lovely day in Buxton's Pavilion Gardens.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Now's The Time!

All sorts of possibilities to match the Blog title with the album cover - for me a toss up between Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker - but 'Bird wins. Whether this will be a theme for the duration of the Fringe I doubt.

Anyway, freshly returned from the Fringe Launch Party held in the Barrel Room and Bar of the Old Hall Hotel and hosted by Underground Venues. A whole host of acts gave their services for free; all were entertaining and deserve your consideration and custom over the next 19 days. We saw and heard:
Nine Feet North - singing some Crosby, Stills & Nash covers (see p15 of the Fringe Programme and catch them again on Fringe Sunday);
Ishi Khan-Jackson danced Bollywood style - her comedy show I Am Happy (p5 of programme) should be a blast;
The Gambit (p24 in the programme) looks to be an intriguing bit of theatre about a chess reunion, 25 years after the Cold War - this is its premiere tour and it finishes in Buxton on July 6th, so don't miss it;
Jordan (p25) looks to be an ambitious and gripping bit of bravura story-telling - just four shows in the Arts Centre studio between 6-12 July;
Soften The Grey (p30) appears to be something slightly farcical about a diver who dies in an accident only to find himself in a waiting room for the newly dead - more laughs than you might imagine. Starting late on the first night - July 3rd - with further performances on the 4th & 6th;
Diabetic Penguins (p23) is less silly than it sounds but entertaining nevertheless. Three teenagers with mental health 'issues'. But what is 'normal' anyway? Plenty of energy on offer here later in the Fringe.

So thanks everyone for getting us well and truly launched. If you have news of the unicycle race please post it here!