Saturday 23 May 2009

St Ives September Festival 2009 - Preview

Rod Bullimore - Poetry In The Square

This is the first of a series of previews of this year's festival - which runs from Saturday 12th - Saturday 26th September 2009.

I'll be following up with some previews of individual events - particularly the smaller, less known (and cheaper!) gigs and performances. Many of these don't yet (and may never) feature on the "official" festival website, as this seems mainly focused on selling tickets for the "bigger" gigs at St Ives Guildhall.

Firstly - the Guildhall programme is the usual solid, but predictable and unimaginative, line up of established festival artists such as Elkie Brooks, Syd Lawrence Orchestra, Eliza Carthy and The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain. Ticket prices are steep - from £14.00 up to £22.00. As ever no gigs, or ticket concessions, for young people. Also no showcase for young local bands. Two possible highlights though - the excellent Show of Hands return, plus Bellowhead who open the festival on the first Saturday. The closing act on the final Saturday is a tribute band btw - nothing against them BUT this IS meant to be an arts festival - if you want to see f***ing trib. bands you can go to a trib. festival!

The programme at The Western Hotel is varied. As ever St Ives Jazz Club will be staging gigs on the two Tuesdays - Partisans (15th) and Empirical (22nd). Ben Waters - the brilliant boogie-woogie pianist is here on Sunday 20th. There is also a comedy night on Monday 21st which sees the welcome return of Gary Delaney. I staged him here last year when we ran a short lived comedy club and trust me he is really really funny. Don't miss either of these.

One event I'm really looking forward to is
St Ives Community Play performance of Romeo and Juliet. This will be staged outdoors on The Island overlooking Porthgwidden Beach and St Ives Bay. The cast is entirely made up of locals - with professional direction from Sarah Lincoln. Last year - A Midsummer Nights Dream - was fantastic - we took some bottles of Cava, lay out on the grass and enjoyed. It featured Oberon making his entrance on a speedboat across the bay and Titania entering on horseback (on a real horse! - cool - that's high production values for you). Tickets will be around a reasonable £7.00 (tbc) and I'd recommend you don't miss this. Performances are on 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th September (also prior to the festival during August).

Poetry In The Square will be on every day from 12.30 in Norway Square - with all welcome. This free event attracts a wide and varied range of performers. Poetry obviously - but also comedy, prose readings and live music. This year St Ives poet Bob Devereux will share the hosting with Rod Bullimore and Anna Chen. You can therefore expect the event to be staged with unusual efficiency, especially when Anna is running the show, but without losing the spontaneity that makes this such a great part of each festival day.

St Ives School of Painting are running daily classes in their wonderful Porthmeor Studios overlooking the beach. Most are suitable for beginners and there is no need to book - just turn up. Subjects include life drawing & painting, watercolour, collage and printmaking.

I'm putting together a comprehensive events calendar which aims to feature everything that's going on - whether its is in the "official" programme or not. The current "official" festival website only lists gigs at St Ives Guildhall and The Western Hotel - nothing else at all. My guide includes all the stuff mentioned above plus loads more and I'll be keeping it updated on a regular basis - so check it out!

Please let me know if there any events you want to see featured.


  1. I would pay a lot more to see Elkie Brooks, the U.K.s finest female singer.I live in New York, so bit of a trip. Elkie Brooks in concert is never predictable.

  2. These provincial places, should be so honoured to have artist such as Elkie Brooks appearing.

  3. We are indeed honoured and barely worthy.