Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Glastonbury 2010

Glastonbury, Glastonbury, Glastonbury. You come into my life for a week each year and toss me out like a half eaten sandwich. Recovering from dust, sun and fun I sit in my house thinking what happens next? Well I guess we’ll just have to wait until Glastonbury fever kicks off again next year.

But enough of sad reality, Glastonbury 2010 was a cracking show. The 40th anniversary of the biggest music festival there is. I was working on Worthy FM so as well as seeing the bands I got to interview some of them. One of my highlights was Ellen and the Escapades. They are the band that won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition. Hand picked by Michael and Emily Eavis. I met up with Michael back in May and the way he described them was “just brilliant, fantastic”. As well as winning a slot on the Acoustic stage Ellen and the Escapades helped Michael open the Cadmus boat in the Green Kids field.

Well the band popped into my studio and supplied me with great entertainment. A great bunch from Leeds and a Californian intruder that has yet adopt a classy northern accent. Ellen reminds me of Joan Baez but with a deeper voice. Her back up boys fit perfectly into the acoustic / rock blend and they are the kind of band that you’d want at your house party; they’d have a great time but they wouldn’t trash the place. Well you can have a listen to my interview and lovely studio versions of Coming Back Home and This Ace I’ve Burned.

Ellen and The Escapades Interview by bribriwilliams

Well apart from sitting in a studio playing music and interviewing bands I got to go out and about and soak up the atmosphere of Glastonbury, and soak up the smell. Glastonbury is a big operation. I becomes the largest city in the South West for a week and requires precision planning to make it run smoothly. And one thing that has to run smoothly, are the toilets.

Glasto Toilets by bribriwilliams

I cannot believe it didn’t rain over the festival. I was camping on site for a week so I made the most of the unusually sunny weather to bronze myself! But the no show rain did have some downsides. The amount of dust that was circling in the air was unbelievable. I was walking around seeing mini tornado’s everywhere - very strange.

Another strange site is a lot of people dressed in pink walking around playing songs-The Ambling Band. I’ve been a member for over two years and I’m a newbie compared to the veterans that have been playing for over 20 years. Well we were playing in the Theatre and Circus field over the Glastonbury weekend, but our first gig was at the litter pickers party where Michael Eavis was the special guest.

FeatureAmblingBandBriohny by bribriwilliams

How can you sum up Glastonbury? You can’t. Stevie Wonder, Dizzee Rascal, making a wooden wand, dancing like a maniac to the Baghdaddies, making Kate Nash do a Gnasher impression and England going out of the World Cup all in one weekend. Enough said.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Cereals 2010

One of the biggest Arable events of the year is based in a farm not too far from Cambridge.
Who's it for? Anyone really, but you'll get most out of it if you can tell your wheat from your oil seed rape.

Unlike other agricultural shows where you would expect animals to be parading up and down in front of judges, Arable 2010 has quite a different feel. Patches of test crops lay in the ground. Rows of sugar beat that have different fertilisers on them. As some of the crops have been planted over a year ago, much more preparation goes into this event than I first thought. Squares of test crops where arable companies can show case their very best products. To add to the numerous crop science and agronomist stands, the show is punctuated with talks and conferences from the finest of the farming world. Debating GM crops, cash crops and the future of the arable sector.
Even the brand new Agriculture Minister Jim Paice put on his wellies and came down to the show.

I think the biggest buzz of the event was GM crops. It seems that farmers are for it but it's still the consumers and supermarkets that have to be persuaded. GM crops can be hardy, disease free and produce maintained high yields. Yet the grey cloud that surrounds the "frankenstein" food has not been pierced. Recently a GM crop of potatoes have been planted in Norfolk which can withstand against blite. It's caused a lot of controversy but it hasn't seemed to dampen the scientists enthusiasm to GM test.
But it wasn't just GM that was on the minds of the people at Cereals 2010. It's the ever changing markets and the fear of a world food shortage that encroach as well. The answer? The goal posts always seem to move in the Farming world.