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Gate to Southwell Roots and Acoustic Music Festival

Venue: Southwell Racecourse
Town: Southwell, Notts
Date: 08-06-2018

Lindisfarne headlined day two of the Twelfth Annual Gate to Southwell Festival, the loveable Geordie folk rockers went down a storm and by the time the last notes were being played they'd truly earned their standing ovation.

Predominately performing material from the first three albums the years rolled away as "Meet Me On The Corner" "Lady Eleanor", "Fog On The Tyne" are interspersed with other favourites from the early Seventies such as Alan Hull's "City Song" and Rod Clements' "Don't Ask Me" from the Dingley Dell album. "Run for Home" from the classic second period of the band was another well received track.

It's all music guaranteed to get those present singing, swaying and clapping along. Having a good time the continuing gospel of Lindisfarne.

Keeping the beacon burning, original member Rod Clements on vocals, mandolin, fiddle, lead and slide guitar now fronts the band along with Dave Hull-Denholm (vocals guitar) who shares an uncanny vocal similarity with the late great Alan Hull, Charlie Harcourt (guitar vocal) from The Mk II band and others who have a long association with Lindisfarne such as Ian Thompson (bass), Steve Daggett (keyboards, guitar, vocal) together with the relatively new boy Paul Thompson (ex Roxy Music) on drums.

No encores allowed, the band finish with the traditional "Clear White Light Part 2" (Part 1 appears on "Some Other Time" a fantastic release by "The Alan Hull Songbook"), it caps a terrific night of music under the Big Top.

Earlier on the Friday the festival gathered pace as "Dallahan" entertained with a smorgasbord of influences, from Irish to Hungarian and all points in-between as they mixed and melded into a unique sound, the five piece band offering accordion, twin fiddles, guitar, banjo and double bass. Technically brilliant they brought smiles to those present.

Blair Dunlop, the award winning singer songwriter responded to a late night call the day before to make a surprise appearance, he engaged the audience performing tracks from his new album "Notes From An Island" including "Feng Shui" a song about an alternative way to try to save a failing relationship. "Green Liquor" questions empty houses and homelessness in London and "Spices From The East" is a look at globally how things change.

Somethings though never change. Nor should they. Keith Donnelly the point in question. From opening the Big Top on Friday by introducing himself.

By creating a wave of arms and "pfft" sounds in the audience whenever "Southwell" or " Suth'll" as it is more widely known in Nottinghamshire, is mentioned (the reason being the multitude of midges present) , actions which did indeed carry on into the next act.

By getting the audience to "Quack" along to "Ghost Eiders in the Sky", to have tears forming as he tells the story of a juke box and the repeated playing of "Eye Of A Tiger" which subsequently morphed into a whooping "Cry of the Eider". Donnelly whose frenetic larger than life delivery makes for an unmissable act.

An excellent evening made possible by the whole team who make organising a festival seem so simple. The truth is of course far far different but the feeling at Southwell is warm, it's family orientated, smiles abound, the stewarding is exemplary, facilities are well thought out and adequate and all of that surely attracts sponsors such as "Lowdhams", a well respected, local Caravan and Motorhomes dealer who have been trading for over 50 years and who helped make the night achievable.

Ian Cripps

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