Rhythm Festival 2010 by CHARLIE BRYAN

  • Rhythm Festival Bedford Big Ja on the blower reminding me that its Rhythm time again, Now has he learnt a new dance ? unlikely, or is he referring to the Rhythm Festival at Bedford ? .Luckily its the  later, quite frankly the thought of Big Ja on Strictly…anyway driving rust bucket with impeccable skill I arrive on site, but this time making certain I do not  back into a parked car. Now have had that feeling of Déjà vu, I arrive at the pit and there are the same two stewards running it as last year. What is very spooky they react as if it about an hour since last spoke to me, “Its Billy Bragg “said the steward ” on next”, Some bloke in the audience who actually looked a little like Trotsky advised me that “Billy is a lefty”, I tried look surprised and pretended to check my camera. And with that on came Billy Bragg,phew. A very interesting Billy Bragg set was followed by headliners Adrian Edmonson and the Bad Shepherds. Once again a real audience pleaser. I have to admit this the third time I have seen them this year and once again their sound is still fresh.

Day Two

Drive from the Premier Inn Tent to via Sainsburys for breakfast to site. Two stages today. Weather good,line up looks diverse so upwards and onwards. Kick off on main Stage with Jackie Leven ex Doll to Doll member and very fine guitarist. Next up Geno Washington and  the Ram Jam Band. Now I am going into a “when I was eighteen moment”, well at eighteen me a couple of mates spent Sunday nights at the Ram Jam Club Brixton, South London, Geno & Co.were the house band. So forty odd years later I am taking pics of my teenage hero in middle of a field, funny old world. Geno if your out there you are still great. Next up ex Family member Roger Chapman with an excellent set. To my favorite band of the day. The Wailers, now led by Aston Barrett, a fascinating  mix off the past, Bob Marley and present day, and do you know what it works! Now you think that Ryhthm Festivals line up is ageing rock stars working their pensions, not a bit of it. I have to mention at least three young guns. Leatherat, A band I know absolutely nothing about, But wow do they create atmosphere. Dala a  folk duo from Toronto, yes I know I am biased, but they look good and sound wonderful. seek them out, and Fatcat I once again  I know nothing about, but they are so tight they sqeal. Back to to main stage headline act Donovan. Well the sunshine mellow yellow superman did what does best He  pleases the crowd                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Day 3 Checked out of my Premier lodge tepee

Sunday was dominated by three acts, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, 10cc and Dala.
Dala kick off on the main stage, The Toronto Two are, in my humble opinion a talent checking out for the future. Great songs and great delivery, but of course I am biased. Next highlight,”Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams”.
What the music industry  needs are more like Gandalf Murphy. As a spectator I see and hear ,  clones of this singer, or band, Gandalf Murphy etc. are UNIQUE. And the headline act 10CC. got the records and even the tee shirt. Did not disappoint, Amazing to think they go back to 1972, enough of that, still as melodic and punchy as ever.
Driving back in  the rust bucket through the monsoon and reflecting on Rhythm Festival, what is it that attracts you about  the event, obviously the performers,friendly organisers but overall the unqiue mix of acts, from Groundhogs to Dala through to Donovan and Arlo Guthrie. Worth checking out next years festival line up. One thing though, for life of me I could not get “Im Mandy Fly Me”  out of my  head . And the Big JAs dance lessons, I understand he is attending the Lionel Blair school of Dance.
world watch out .

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