May Bank Holiday meant only one thing; the return of the Tutbury Institute Beer Festival and 1940s weekend. I performed here last year on the Saturday night but had passed that baton on to Johnny Victory who was to perform instead.
Pete and the team made us very welcome again and the Institute had been dressed ready for the occasion. We had a great time last year and were thrilled to return.
This year Bobby Dazzler had surpassed himself and had literally packed every single bit of our stage equipment in to our Zaphira which was creaking under the weight. From sand bags to spot lights we had it all. Darren has been becoming increasingly involved in managing ‘the show’ and has invested in various lighting rigs to enhance the stage in addition to the 3 mtr flag backdrop (that had been sat in my cupboard since who knows when until Darren fixed it up to use) and the pièce de résistance the SMOKE MACHINE!
I had planned 3 sets to perform along with encore, starting with a jazzy set before moving into 1940s swing and finally the finale. To ensure that the music was heard throughout the venue Darren also positioned a wireless speaker towards the entrance. The wireless speakers have been a welcome addition and we have used them in a variety of settings – again this has been Darren’s initiative.
It was really great to see lots of familiar faces in particular Phil Meadows (Phil the Piper) and his son Richard as well as Rachel and Alan Some whose wedding I performed at a couple of years ago.
There was also a superb selection of local ales to sample; Darren had the ‘Russet’ from a Derbyshire brewery and of course I had half a ‘Magpie’ from a Nottingham brewery I assume must be based near Notts County!
The evening had a terrific atmosphere and I even had a couple of requests for songs from the music Sound of Music! An odd one really with a loose association with wartime but the songs held a special place for some of the audience and I was happy to oblige.
We finished almost at midnight and headed home – not before leaving Johnny Victory a secret message on the dressing room mirror……..
See you next year!