Still small but massive

Archived from UTV blog 2013-07-30

When Mid Ulster festival organiser Paddy Glasgow offers the advice “the maddest idea might just work” – he is speaking from experience.

When it began in 2000, Glasgowbury was small affair, held in local bars in Draperstown, but ended up on a massive scale, attracting thousands of music lovers to the mountainside site and doubling the population of the local town.

And speaking as a local, it was exciting to have a major event that was owned, organised and hosted in the countryside, where nothing on the same scale usually happens.

Memorable performances have included the likes of Red Organ Serpent Sound, Duke Special, The Undertones and Henry McCullough as well as emerging new talent including acts like the now established And So I Watch You From Afar, Fighting With Wire, The Answer, Axis Of, General Fiasco and The Wonder Villains.

It may have surprised some that after 13 years and countless performances from the best in homegrown musical talent, Glasgowbury festival bid farewell to its annual home at Eagle’s Rock almost a fortnight ago.

The festival expanded to a two-day event for the first and last time this year, with headliners And So I Watch You From Afar, The Japanese Popstars and The Answer helping to wrap up the annual showcase.

“People always used to think international was the way to go. Now look at the advertisements for the Tourist Board, the mad boy with the mad hair from the country was f***ing right.”

“We may be small but we believe we made a massive difference in our own area. For musicians, by musicians, that is the one thing that is at the heart of it,” Paddy explained.

“It wasn’t about where you’re from, what’s your background, what language you speak. It was about the music. It was about the cultural gathering of people, like-minded individuals that wanted to put on something.

“When we started off, it wasn’t just about the music, it was about everything, it was about access for the people who wanted to be stage managers, people who wanted to do lighting, corporate box office, teching, infrastructure.”

In the aftermath of the last ever festival, he hasn’t even paused to reflect, as he has far too many other plans.

His new focus is establishing an expanded creative hub in the community and he has started work in Draperstown’s Cornstore.

If Glasgowbury festival’s legacy was about homegrown music then the next stage is about inspiring the next generation.

Paddy tells me it will be a place where the continued promotion of local talent and expansion of new educational and creative enterprises will thrive.

“This is a pure grassroots up thing, this the community getting behind what we’re doing, it’s a workspace,” he explains.

“Lots of young people come to me, and they want to do their own films, they want to start photography, they want to do documentaries, or crafts.”

In the background he has always been running similar schemes, with the Rural Key workshops involving the likes of Shauna Tohill from Silhouette.

“Who would have thought that you would have a local girl from Magherafelt, having a song on a NI TV ad,” he comments.

“We’re hoping it will be a place where people can come in and ignite that self-employment, and won’t be scared and have that rural attitude of ‘I don’t know, I couldn’t do that’.”

In concluding the festival chapter, he credits volunteers and support from local people in particular as the key to the running of the event for more than a decade.

“There’s people there who have really good jobs, taking a week off work to help.

“Whenever I would say, ‘What are you doing? You could be lying in the sun’ – they would say, ‘I am so proud that people are coming into our area.’

“One of the things that hit me were the words of And So I Watch You From Afar, said after their set on Friday night. It was humbling.

“They said ‘Glasgowbury gave us the belief on a main stage, a massive stage, that we could take on other stages internationally’.”

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” he finally admits. “I think it will hit me when we have our party at the end, whenever I gather together all the people that set it up every year.

“I think the whole emotional connection, maybe I won’t do that, because it’s not over. As far as I’m concerned, Glasgowbury’s ended, the festival has ended but small but massive and all the organising that went into Glasgowbury – it’s only just begun.”

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Culture Night Belfast 2013

culture-night-2013-19

Photo by Chris Laughlin

Culture Night has proved to be one of the best nights to experience some of the best entertainment in the city for free.

I had the opportunity to head to the event for the first time this year and had tried to plan what I wanted to see.

But there was so much happening, it was really better to just go where the night took you.

When I arrived at city hall there was a samba band already warming up and the weather was even mild despite a recent wintery snap.

Walking round the Cathedral Quarter, there was a genuine buzz which was contagious as a vibrant mix of people including families descended upon the area to enjoy the night.

Wrestling at Rosemary Street.

A wrestling ring erected at Rosemary Street was host to a battle royale, to the delight of one tiny blonde girl who was reveling in the semi-orchestrated violence.

Heading towards the Oh Yeah Centre, we came across Street Countdown. Based on an infamous episode of the IT Crowd, this version came with makeshift sign, lively host and crowds providing the countdown ‘bong’.

Richard Whiteley (lest we forget) at Street Countdown.

Richard Whiteley (lest we forget) at Street Countdown.

Then in Writer’s Square, in one area there was dancing and singing, and in another the fast and furious girls of Belfast Roller Derby who were providing an outside demonstration of the contact sport. The track was cordoned off with metal gates and they seemed like caged animals spinning round – and it was exciting to witness.

After that it was a Johnny Cash tribute at the gorgeous Dark Horse Bar, which attracted a huge crowd for the man in black.

An impressive light installation was found at the DSNT event along with some pumping techno, and upon leaving we found ourselves in, of all things, a jazz funeral complete with lead mourner in white suit with matching white hair. They were grieving for democracy.

We joined in the procession until we got to Keats & Chapman bookstore, where surrealist stand-up Paul Currie was doing a one-hour show that turned into nearly two hours for free.

We arrived in time to see a man take offence to one of his sketches, which involved trying to feed the audience milk from an ironing board. You probably had to be there, but rest assured, it was very funny.

Paul Currie's Sticky Bivouac show on North Street.

Paul Currie’s Sticky Bivouac show on North Street.

But of course there were so many other things that I just didn’t manage to catch, but that’s probably part of the night’s magic.

Speaking to others afterwards, everyone who went had their own unique experience and tales from wherever Culture Night took them, all of which sounded like great adventures.

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Photo by Chris Laughlin

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Belfast Banshees vs Dublin Roller Girls

FOR their first inter-league bout, Belfast Roller Derby did not set themselves an easy challenge.

The team headed down to Dublin’s National Basketball Arena on Saturday 4 February to take on the Dublin City Rollergirls on Saturday and it was going to be a David and Goliath scenario.

The Dublin team were on top form, many of their players were fresh from representing Ireland at the first ever Roller Derby World Cup in Canada – and they proved to be aggressive and agile competitors, especially offence from BA Blockus and Kitty Cadaver as well as lightning speed efforts from jammers Jessica Rammit and Kim McKazi.
And the points quickly reflected that, Dublin built up a quick 100 point lead that kept climbing, but it wasn’t a painful bout to watch, it was inspiring.

Gutter Snipe tries for a takedown (Pic by Chris Craig)

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The New Year schpeel

ImageNew Year. It never lives up to expectation for me and usually ends badly.

So I like to think it’s just the old year kicking and screaming on its way out, it doesn’t necessarily mean the new year will be bad. So it’s now that I’ve started to think about resolutions and what I want for the year ahead.

So for this year I’d just like to keep moving forward.

I decided at Christmas that if I didn’t get settled into a more permanent job here that I will have to move. So this year I’m going to start saving so that I can emigrate if it comes to it. I would appreciate any advice on this, as I’m thinking of New Zealand, but would consider any English-speaking regions with good job prospects.

Apart from that, I will continue the job/work hunt as I would like to work here where my friends are.

I’d like to continue contributing to magazines or other publications but need to be tougher on getting paid for it. It is great to see your name printed in a publication, but there comes a point where that is no longer enough if it is going to be your profession.

As well as keeping an eye out for journalism opportunities, I’ve been looking into getting some other part-time work and would love anything in PR, communications, event management etc so please get in touch if you have something or see something that might suit me.

My other resolutions will be to be healthier, Christmas is such a fattening time of year!

I’d also like to keep going to roller derby training, but I feel I may be lousy at it forever. I’ll probably go back with the next set of newbies and give it my best but it is really tough.

I’ve never been good at sports, ever. I’ve always been terrible. But I feel like I need to start challenging myself more and stop telling myself that I can’t do things. So I’ll give it another whack. And if anyone would like to be my coach and get me skating like a badass that would be great also ;)

I guess my resolution is to push myself – and not let disappointment get the better of me, which is something a lot of us graduates will have to strive at.

Oh – and to have more funand see my friends more, which is something everyone should do!

Happy New Year everyone.

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Set to Soar

featured in COVERWest magazine. Pic: Faye Rossi

ALLIE Bradley is a singer-songwriter from Maghera, Co. Derry-Londonderry who after deciding to step her music career up a gear, has done just that with the release of her second EP this year.

The 25-year-old has always been into singing and writing music, learning how to play guitar from the age of ten.

“I began singing in choirs when I was at school and always loved performing and singing. When I was around ten I learnt how to play the guitar and from around that age I began to sing by myself singing covers and basically just experimenting with my vocals,” she says.

“I sang in competitions and got heavily involved in Irish traditional music, competing in scórs both as a solo singer and also in groups. I won the All Ireland Scór na nÓg solo singing competition when I was 16 and that gave me more confidence to embark on performing by myself. From that age I started to write my own music and compose melodies and lyrics.

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Ciaran Gribbin: Castledawson man new singer for INXS

Published in the Mid Ulster Mail

CASTLEDAWSON musician Ciaran Gribbin has been named as the new lead singer of popular rock band INXS. The shock announcement was made this week that he has joined the band as their new frontman and a new song featuring Ciaran called ‘Tiny Summer’ was revealed on their website.

Speaking to the Mail, he said: “This is unbelievable, fairytale stuff for me. I grew up listening to this band, and I’m a massive fan of INXS. I remember when I was 12 watching MTV for the first time and seeing that band and being blown away. At that age you’re really influenced by what you hear and I can remember standing in my living room with hairs standing up on the back of my neck thinking ‘Who is this band?’. Twenty years later I’m going to walk out on stage with them.”

The 35-year-old had previously been performing under the stage name Joe Echo. The Grammy-nominated songwriter is not unfamiliar to working with big names, previously he has collaborated with Madonna, Paul McCartney, Snow Patrol and Groove Armada to name a few. He went on to write and record all the original songs for last year’s top indie flick ‘Killing Bono’, based on the novel ‘I Was Bono’s Doppelganger’.

The Mid Ulster musician met Australian INXS member Andrew Farriss in November 2009. He says they immediately hit it off and kept in touch, meeting up at Christmas last year when he was on a family holiday in Australia.

“Andrew had written all the hits for the band with Michael Hutchence, and he felt he needed someone who could help them recreate some of the stuff they were doing in the past. He says he’s found the magic with me that he’d lost when Michael died, that in itself was just an amazing thing for me to hear as a songwriter,” he said.

“It just grew organically, we kept writing stuff and it was very fruitful and before I knew it Andrew had suggested to the band that I could be the guy that they were looking for. I met with the band and we rehearsed and went through some of the material and we hit it off. They’re very successful rockstars but they’re very grounded people and there’s no egos, I never felt in any way intimidated.” The band released the track ‘Tiny Summer’ on their website last week to give a taster of things to come.

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Jewellery crafts made by me!

Large donut necklace £4.50

I’ve been practicing some jewellery making and here is my first batch!

As these are my first, I’m offering them for reasonable prices – they are handmade and will have some finger print marks or little imperfections but that just shows they are handmade!

I’ll be trying other designs but if you would like to buy any of these or would like something similar comment (I can do custom colours) here or email me. Thanks!

Custom colour and topping combinations available

Choc chip muffin necklace £5.00

Rose necklaces (purple, pink, red, yellow) £4.50


Purple rose

Strawberry swirl cupcake necklace £4.50

Donut bracelets £5.00

Ice cream scoops necklace £8

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