Worcester Music Festival- A Review

It was with great excitement that I set out for a journey to play at Worcester Music Festival (WMF) on 25th August. I practised some songs at midnight. I barely slept. I practised some songs on the train. I was planning my 90 minute set-list. One was going to be a dark intensive set and the other an experimental pop set. I took my keytar, glockenspiel, analogue timepiece, stylophone, harmonica and rest of the gadgetry. I took a train to Birmingham Moor Street at 7 am. I sat right at the back so that I could transform myself into the real "me" and practice secretly. I learnt to tune some instruments and to wind a timepiece. I was playing the keytar at low volume, then started hitting some metal bars on the glockenspiel, blowing the harmonica and winding my analogue time-piece... I had to stop at one point because the ticket checker was coming in my direction... I had to come out of myself. He must have thought I was making a time bomb or something... anyway; I practised for almost the entire journey.

Around 9 am, I could see the Birmingham skyline as the train entered the land of Duran Duran and Black Sabbath, Electric Barbarellas and Paranoids. I walked from Moor Street to Birmingham New Street and then took a train from there to Worcester Forest Gate. Once in Worcester, I had something to eat from a shop called Karmic Cafe. I had a vegan meal despite being a vampire. Then it started to rain. After that I headed straight for the festival location. It was something quite strange... I was expecting green fields, incense sticks, mud, etc. However, all I could see were market places and shopping centres. What was going on?! I saw some tents set up, a few musicians and WMF volunteers. I asked one of them where Crowngate- the spot I was scheduled to perform- was and after getting the directions, I headed straight there. When I reached there, it was empty. There was a tent there but the gear was not yet set up... or so I thought. I met the volunteer who had my name in the list but he told me that the whole Public Address (PA) system got damaged because of the rain. I always knew I was powerful but not so powerful that the PA system would get damaged just before I even reached there! He told me that he would shift me for the second show in a spot called the Cathedral Plaza. I went there and met another volunteer. She told me that I'll be earlier than the scheduled time allocated for me.

My turn came after two acts. I started the set with a brand new song called 'Toska'. By the time I started playing 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', the sound began to crackle really badly. I had to change the cable. Another artist by the name Kraft graciously offered his cable. Still the sound was a problem. After that I was told that I could do just one more song! I ended the set with 'Drone Never Drowns'. That was it! The other venue where I was supposed to play first closed down as they couldn't resolve the PA issue. That was my whole show- just 3 songs with a messed up sound system and playing for mostly bemused onlookers or passers-by. Later on I discovered that only the guy who was selling sandwiches and other snacks close-by was truly supporting what I was doing... after all he was shouting "LSD!", "LSD!". To the others, on the other hand, I suppose it was like listening to the buzzing of a fly while walking and those who were more or less stationary just seemed a bit bemused. I felt out of place to be absolutely honest. That is hardly surprising upon reflection.

In a nutshell, the festival for me personally in terms of performance/show was a resounding... disaster! But then it was a part of experience and I should not expect everything to work all the time. I am glad I went there. I saw the town centre and the magnificent Worcester Cathedral. I am grateful to the organisers for giving me an opportunity to play. I hope there will be some publicity generated through this because only a few days ago a press officer from the festival got in touch with me regarding my music, photos, etc. for the media. Now, whether this would create an effective publicity in any way or whether it would fall into dense obscurity remains to be seen. What I truly regret though was the decision I made the previous day of this festival. I left Z-Fest OXJAM charity event which was on the previous evening of the WMF without playing (or donating) anything because I didn't get an early slot since I had to leave the next day early in the morning for Worcester. It was held in a fantastic venue called The Slaughtered Lamb (the underground section of the bar) in Farringdon, London and was more suitable for me than the one at WMF.

There are few video clips and photos from WMF that I will upload one day. Thanks to Sian- one of the WMF volunteers- for shooting the video and taking pictures, Kraft for lending me his cable and to the shopkeeper who was the only person cheering all the artists. He also offered free potato wedges to one of the artists.

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