2016 Pipefest review

We have an event called Pipefest, held every year since 2008 at Lancaster University, Lancashire, UK in September, which we feel embodies the very essence of the artists host; Martyn Joseph’s creative style and ideals.

We invite a guest or 2 each year, along with a dedicated charity to raise money for on the day including Advantage Africa, Festival Spirit & Let Yourself Trust among others.
This years` guests were Rebecca Loebe and David Francey (accompanied by James McKie).
Both Rebecca and David are from North America (USA and Canada respectively) and are both very much in the singer songwriter tradition and perfectly embody the ethos of the day.

The event is a full day, starting from doors opening around 10.45am through to the evening concert finishing around 11pm!!
Included between these times this year were:
Opening introductions to the artists and explanation of the day`s events
Choice of workshop – guitar techniques and “life on the road” Q and A
Open discussion with the guests on a specific topic
Songwriters line
Q&A with Martyn Joseph
Evening Concert featuring solo sets from all artists

You may notice the highlighted words which aren`t usually found at music events – or at least, aren`t often INCLUDED at music events! – this is what we feel makes us different, and a contributing factor which results in repeat bookings from the audience, some of whom have attended all 9 so far!!

Friendships have been made, artistry nurtured and an impromptu folk group is created each year as part of the now commonplace “Pipefest Fringe” which happens on the Friday night prior to the event, but this year, for the first time, officially AFTER the evening`s concert also and carried onto the wee small hours I believe, we went home to sit in a darkened room!

We offer a cash bar, merchandise stalls, charity stands with information on the work of chosen organisations.
The day involves a team of dedicated, enthusiastic and cheery volunteers without whose help, the day wouldn`t happen!! – THANK YOU.

Artists over the past years have included, in no particular order:
Willy Porter (USA)
Karine Polwart (Scotland)
Luke Jackson (England)
Rebecca Loebe (USA)
Yvonne and David Lyon (Scotland)
David Francey (Canada)
Tayo Aluko (England)
Amy Wadge (Wales)
Duke Special (N. Ireland)
Dick Gaughan (Scotland)
Grace Petrie (England)
Balsamo Deighton (Wales)
Steve Pledger (England)
Cole Moreton (England)
Stewart Henderson (England)

Words which keep cropping up when our guests and audience alike are asked include:
family, music, inclusion, fun, talent, informal, friendly, equality, justice, social, ethical, political (with a small “p”), outstanding, fabulous and a quote I personally loved from this year was “It was like singing and performing inside a huge hug”

We ask for feedback and listen to all of it and try to act on as much of it as we can – the request for Springsteen to appear and cover one of Martyn`s songs may be a stretch, but believe me, we will give it some consideration!! whether “The Boss” will though, is a different matter!

So, we will now go away and put plans together for the 10th Pipefest next year.

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