We are delighted to welcome you to our new dedicated Festival Friends’ News page, bringing you news, views, and a little gossip, about all that’s going on with the Festival and Friends. We’ll update this page every two weeks and keep you informed about things like fundraisers, participation projects and lots of other news, as well as sneaky peeks of what will be happening at Festival.

The Festival’s in-house musicologist and multi-instrumentalist, Dr Alan Payne, recently contributed to The Canterbury Sound in Popular Music: Scene, Identity and Myth, a book by Asya Draganova, Shane Blackman and Andy Bennett. Having hosted bands including Caravan and more recently Syd Arthur over the years, we asked Alan to give us his thoughts on the Canterbury Sound.

Whether you are a long-term Canterbury resident or a comparative newcomer, the chances are you may not know that there is a brand of popular music associated with the area. Its name and notoriety have spread throughout the world; its devotees share memories of gigs and reviews of new bands on many online sites. Why, then, is the city not teeming with blue plaques and memorabilia?

The problem may be one of definition. At roughly the same time that Liverpool spawned the distinctive and driving Mersey Sound and declared itself a thriving scene, a phenomenon never associated with Canterbury, ex-Langton pupils formed The Wilde Flowers, part-covers band, part-experimental jazz combo. Sharing gigs with local bands now long-forgotten, but never recording commercially, The Wilde Flowers produced their own fusion of pop and free jazz in continuous sets designed never to give the audience the chance to stop dancing!

The music gathered momentum as Caravan, still performing today, formed with some of the same musicians but a more folk-based whimsical style on albums that, to many, anchors the Canterbury Sound. Caravan, like Soft Machine – a band that, to date, has endured more than twenty lineups and despite its constant Canterbury labelling formed in Dulwich – found recognition in London clubs and rarely played in East Kent.

Interest in the bands which, to some, formed a Canterbury Sound faded in the 1980s, subsumed within mainstream rock but revived with the creation of a specialist fan magazine, Facelift, towards the end of the decade. It was published in Manchester. Contemporary Canterbury Sound aficianados celebrate the success of the bands and their considerable legacy with no sense of place or, particularly, time. Fans will travel to hear Caravan; the musicians’ names remain well-known to those who support the band and their heritage. Canterbury itself rarely finds a mention.

Alan Payne

You may know that besides the single, couple and family memberships, the Friends also have special Silver and Gold Members. We cherish all our members and greatly appreciated all their subscriptions, but our Silver and Gold members philanthropically give us a little extra, all of which goes towards supporting the Festival. As a thank you for this extra support the benefits for these special memberships have recently been increased.

Silver Friends now receive all the usual Friends’ benefits along with two tickets to one of the Friends’ fundraising events, a free concert programme and invitations to the Festival Launch ,where you will have the opportunity to have a drink with the Festival Team and Trustees, and hear what’s coming up during this year’s Festival from Festival Director Rosie Turner.

Gold Friends receive the same as Silver Friends plus two tickets to the Friends’ sponsored event during the Festival. As well as invitations to the Sponsors’ and Supporters’ Reception, a very special gathering where you can meet, have a drink and chat with not only the Team and Trustees, but our wonderful supporters, sponsors and Corporate Members.

Silver Membership is £100 and Gold is £300, so why not consider upgrading your membership and supporting the Festival and Friends that little bit more.

Tina

Did you see the events on our website?  The wonderful Festival Chamber Orchestra’s set of concerts ranging from Baroque right through to Motown – fabulously diverse.  They are glorious to listen to and were such a hit with Musical Magnificence during the Festival last year.  Definitely worth going to.

Plus, there is our fabulous Summer in Barham mini festival.  A great mix of bring-your-own -picnic concerts, walks, a talk and a harp recital, it looks like summer really is on its way.  Do come along and bring your friends, family, neighbours, acquaintances, I’m sure they’ll all enjoy it.  They may even become Friends themselves and help support the Festival besides getting those great benefits.

Work goes on apace here with programming the Festival, launching our Bursary Competition and registering entries for the Poet of the Year. I’m also preparing our Gift Aid claim so, if you qualify and haven’t done so already, please tick our Gift Aid box on the website or complete and return a declaration to me. Being able to claim an extra 25% from the Tax Man on your subscriptions and donations makes such a difference to us.

Tina.

Yes, we’re all back and working hard, almost as if we’ve never been away.  We are lucky that our office is big enough to socially distance and we are all so happy to be back working together – we’re not called the ‘Festival Team’ for nothing.

Programming for the Festival is underway and as we can now talk to each other in person we can bounce ideas and suggestions which is great, something we really missed. Fundraising goes on apace and we’ll soon be able to start advertising some of our forthcoming events, so watch out for them.

Meanwhile, all the usual administration goes on and I am beginning work on the Friends’ Newsletter.  You may have noticed that we didn’t issue our usual Spring Newsletter. With lockdown, working from home and being unable to hold fundraisers at the end of last year and the beginning of this, we decided to issue one Newsletter for 2021 containing all the news, views and information you’ll need.   It’ll be coming out in June!

Welcome back to the Friends’ news page. I do hope you enjoy reading these little bits of news and gossip, keeping you updated with how things are going with the Friends and Festival.  Just at the moment we are all still working from home, but plans are afoot to get back into the office soon, there‘s so much to do. 

Both the Friends and Festival are very busy organising the Festival and some fabulous fundraisers.  Once lockdown is eased and we can meet again (even if it is still socially distanced) we have some of our old favourite events, and some rather special new ones, all planned for the second half of the year. As soon as we are able details will be put onto the website and you will be able to purchase tickets in all the usual ways.   

In the meantime, may I refer you to our What’s On page and the superb concerts at Kent College on 23 May, 30 May and 20 June. A wonderful start to our cultural year. 

Lastly, please don’t forget to renew your Friends’ membership. Unless you pay be standing order or direct debit, please check how to renew on the ‘Become a Friend’ page.   If you have any problems, contact me at the Festival Office.   

Tina

Friends Secretary

Following last year’s, small but beautiful, Festival, we have been taking a look at what we learned from it and how we can best use that knowledge. One of the things we certainly learned was how wonderful the Friends are. Many of the limited tickets were bought by Friends and we received some truly warm-hearted comments from you which we so very much appreciated.

In order to say thank you, and in the hope of recruiting more Friends, we have revised the Friends’ benefits, do click through to our Become a Friend’s page for more details.

I hope you enjoy this innovation for the Friends and will join us every fortnight, becoming friends as well as Friends.

Tina.

Friends’ Secretary.

Highlights

Music

Good Gnus

Sat 10 Jul

Barham Court

More details

Music

Canterbury Garden Opera: Back to Broadway

Sun 11 Jul

Barham Court

More details