Wilko Johnson live at Looe 2016
Looe is the last of the annual festivals, the precise date depends on the timing of the tides because it takes place literally on the beach. The first festival was staged in 2010 and in the six years since its inception the festival has consistently attracted some big names including The Stranglers, The Darkness, Simon Townshend, Tankus the Henge and Jools Holland.
In the early years we contented ourselves with wandering around the town enjoying the buskers or sitting on the front eavesdropping the main stage.
The year that Simon Townshend played the weather was challenging and without a sophisticated listening device I wasn’t able to catch much of his set above the howling of the wind, the crashing of the waves and the shrieking of the seagulls from my perch on the rocks.The following year we again sat on the front listening to Tankus the Henge doing I’ll Be There for You. The sea was tranquil, the moon was rising and although it was late September a lot of people were swimming.
The following year we were persuaded to buy tickets because we wanted to see Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. The weather was fantastic and we enjoyed a lot of excellent live music, so much so that my memory card was almost full and I only managed to get two songs by Jools,neither of them with the wonderful Ruby Turner.
This year we were thrilled to be seeing Wilko Johnson but dithered about buying tickets for Bryan Ferry, partly because of the cost and partly because we thought two long days might be a bit too physically demanding, not to mention the weather forecast was extremely gloomy.
But as everybody knows the weather people can be wrong so in the end we decided to chance it and bought tickets for both nights.
Wilko’s last album ‘Going Back Home’ was a collaboration with Roger Daltry which justly enjoyed huge acclaim. I nurtured a secret hope that Mr Daltry might decide to make a surprise visit to Looe but he didn’t. Nonetheless it was brilliant and touching to hear Wilko performing old Dr. Feelgood stuff as well as more recent solo work.
On the Saturday we arrived a little earlier because we wanted to see Eddie Reader however the predicted band of rain moved in with tropical ferocity and consequently we arrived just as she was finishing her set
Those of us who think ourselves weather-wise kept looking into the grey horizon with narrowed eyes and pronouncing on the possibility of a let-up, ‘there’s a tiny bit of light there, look, over there, the sun’s going to burn it off,’ only to have successive buckets of water dash our hopes.
Eventually as Seth Lakeman’s set finished we decided that we’d given it our best shot and reluctantly called it a day. It was a shame because we’d been looking forward to seeing Brian Ferry. Predictably I cast around for someone to blame; Theresa May? Vladimir Putin? Donald Trump? Septic Blotto? Bradley Wiggins? After much deliberation I came to the conclusion that the only person to blame for the chucking down rain was The Master of The Universe, whoever that might be!
All round the festival is very good value for money and Looe is a beautiful little town whatever the weather. I was reminded of Wilkie Collins' Travels on Foot in Cornwall where he describes another rain soaked festival when the music was provided by a trio of German musicians.
Seth Lakeman live at Looe 2016
Sham 69 live at Looe 2016
Checking back on my Youtube videos I realised that there was some excellent live footage from earlier this year which I hadn't published as well as some excellent footage from 2015.
Flats and Sharps at The Union Pub, SaltashHeading
At Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival we saw acts from as far away as Brittany and Cobh in County Cork.
Breton Bash at Falmouth
The Molgoggers at Falmouth
Armed Forces Day on Plymouth Ho we saw The Royal Marines Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers
Viv Robertson at Falmouth