Haigh Fest 2011
Haigh Fest for those that missed it is the closing event to a weekend of live music on a stage erected at Haigh Hall, Wigan. As I understand it, a music promoter currently Cuffe and Taylor put on two events, this year the good people of Wigan were treated to a night of The Corel and the The Cortineers along with a night of Jedward and Peter Andre – so something for all “tastes”! As part of the deal for letting it go ahead Wigan Council then move in to put on Haigh Fest, an opportunity to showcase 12 local unsigned bands, 11 of this years coming from within the borough so about as local as it gets.
I’m amazed at how big the event has grown, it has been several years since my last visit and much has changed, not least the location within Haigh Hall which makes a massive difference. Instead of looking a little lost infront of the actual Hall, the stage now sits proudly in a big natural amphitheater on what I think my normally be the practice ground for the golf, the netting flanking both sides of the space certainly indicated some wayward golf shots were being catered for either that or no expense had been spared keeping the wild life in/out!
Based on my last visit my expectations were realistic to say the least but Haigh Fest 2011 blew them away. 12 bands of varying styles but all of decent quality performing on what was possibly the biggest stage of their careers todate to a crowd of around 8/9 thousand people lapping up the sunshine and in a mood for a party! Not all the music would normally be my cup of tea, but when served up live, for me personally I find most types of music to be very agreeable and the 12 acts at this years Haigh Fest didn’t disappoint.
To pick out some highlights, unless I’m very much mistaken the young lady who sings in Faith in Fools with there “equal parts rap, rock and ska” is also a teacher, it certainly seemed that way by the gaggle of school aged kids that appeared at the crush barrier shouting “Miss Miss” – if so – fair play! I’m sure being able to unleash the occasional bollocking in rap form would be an ideal tool in any teachers armory!
Sam Miller of Smitten Kitten took to the stage looking like a bloke who knew how to put a show on, I’m by no means an expert, but when you stride out on stage with hair down to your waist an unbuttoned frilly shirt and daring flares on, well your setting expectations that the crowd is about to be entertained and he didn’t disappoint! Sam took the award for first artist to leave the stage mid act to get closer to the crowd, not sure which caused more of a risk to his well being – the surging crowd or the rush of photographers desperate to get “that shot”!
Perhaps mid-festival fatigue had set in or perhaps in a world inhabited by Louis Walsh that has made most of us cynical when any band is described as having “catchy, upbeat tunes”, whatever the reason, I wasn’t sensing much energy in “the pit” as we waited for Finding Emo to take to the stage. That lasted about three notes into the first song, then the place was transformed! Not sure if it just struck the right note (terrible pun intended!) as it was the sort of music that went perfectly with an outdoor stage basked in glorious sunshine. Whatever the reason these gents smashed it and went on to perform a stunning set that had the place bouncing.
The Lottery Winners are clearly seasoned performers and looked every bit at home on the big stage infront of a big and eager crowd and they pulled out a stunning set and I must admit I went home, fired up iTunes and snapped up “Paper Plate Faces” which is a superb single. Its no surprise to read that in 2010 these guys were voted best unsigned band 2010, well except for the fact that nobody at that point had had the foresight to sign them up! Front-man Thomas Ryland had a take me a leave me style that I thought was superb, plenty of entertaining banter between tracks and no expense spared with the unleashing of at least 7 or 8 balloons from the pound shop!
The second to last act of the day was Jeramiah Ferrari and boy do these guys know how to put a show on! Ryan Barton is not a front man short on confidence and he fed of the energy of the live crowd and put one hell of show on. The “rock/reggae hybrid” was executed brilliantly and Barton was bouncing around like a live wire making use of seemingly every square inch of stage, tv gantrie and photography pit he could, in many ways they’d have been the perfect band to finish on but there was more to follow. Look forward to seeing more of these guys in the future, I’m by no means an expert but they certainly look to me like a band going places.
Now obviously there were 7 more bands;
All were all worth keeping an eye out for, heading over to there websites for a listen and getting along to watch a gig should you get chance, the above is just some personal memories of the day and well, if I were to ramble on about all 12 acts, even me old mam would have given up and gone of to read something else!!!
If you’ve never been keep an eye out for Haigh Fest 2012, an event well worth attending. More of my pictures can be found here.
Keywords: Facing Paige, Faith in Fools, Finding Emo, Glassheads, Haigh Hall, Haighfest, Haighfest 2011, Jeramiah Ferrari, Last Chance, Live Music, Merry Hell, Music, Photography, Second Son, Signal Aurora, Sly Digs, Smitten Kitten, The Lottery Winners, Wigan, Wigan Council
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