Sarah Third takes some well earned down time and divulges the story behind the Country Child and Belle Rose Events collaboration, as well as reviewing the bands that impressed the crowds.
Never one to shy away from music or indeed barns, I was intrigued when the lovely girls from Belle Rose Events got in touch with me to discuss a potential brand alignment idea. They were putting on another ‘Gig in A Barn’ to follow on from the very successful event last year and were interested in Country Child magazine sponsoring the event.
After some research into the 2014 event which was heralded as ‘awesome’, ‘one of the best nights out to be had round here’, ‘unexpectedly good’ and a cheeky listen to previous performers, I had no doubt in my mind that this was something I’d be proud to affiliate my business with (those that know me know I’m fiercely protective of my brand and don’t put the name to everything!)
So the alliance with Belle Rose Events was born…. We ran a reader competition and promoted it in our spring issue, had a banner at the site at Ashley Wood Farm, Tisbury and of course – now this is the good bit, we got to attend in our professional capacity.
This is where it really gets interesting. The site is lovely, very picturesque, in fact I have been there before to attend one of the mindfulness workshops run by Camile at facebook.com/Find-A-Little-Peace, I’ll confess I was wondering how a sea of tranquility, beauty and calm could be morphed into a den of rock and roll, dancing and prosecco fuelled shenanigans, trust me, I needn’t have worried.
What Hannah and Rosie achieved was an atmospheric, almost ethereal feel with fairy lights, garlands and glitter. The barns themselves, one the cow shed bar and the other a more grand medieval style lent themselves perfectly to the event, bringing a kind of pimped up barn dance feel to the countryside with a slice of urban cool (the cocktails, paella and glitter jewellery tattoos helped with this immensely). A warm balmy evening, great range of drinks and one of the most demographically diverse audiences I’ve ever come across really set the tone and created an atmosphere unlike one I’ve encountered before.
So what of the music? There was an army of local dads in the cow shed bar who did a sterling job of warming up the crowd and generally having a great time doing it – this was great early doors to get you in the mood. Whilst it was still light, the courtyard teeming with folks enjoying the sun and the drinks, local band Crippled Rook kicked off the proceedings in the main barn. It didn’t take many bars of their unusual style to get the crowd interested…. Tentative at first, people meandered into the barn, the subtle lighting high in the rafters and some natural light streaming in through the small windows in the ancient stone made you feel as if you’d stumbled upon some sort of secret gig. Once in there though – you didn’t want to leave. This is a band that draws you in, intrigues you to listen further – you want to know more because the sound keeps you guessing. Multi layered and very tight you can tell they know their stuff and are obviously well rehearsed and comfortable with each other and their individual places in the band. No vying for attention here, no jostling or showing off, they just all work together which is a testament to all of them. It’s hard to strike a balance with this kind of showmanship and performing as sometimes bands like this can come across as arrogant and only interested in each other. Not so with Crippled Rook as they kept the audience engaged and entertained, no mean feat when you consider the crowd ranged from friends of the band, local people of all walks of life, pub buddies, parents and ‘out of towners’ in attendance for the headlining band. I like the fact that Cripple Rook keep you on your toes; because their sound is soulful enough to listen intently to, massive accolade to Jo Hunter here, the Sax player, who really adds a depth and substance, it’s funky enough that you can’t help moving – the very talented bass guitar player Luke Harvey and lead guitarist Jordan Yeatman offer a Red Hot Chilli Pepper-esque feel of funk and old school LA Doors vibes – making it impossible to stand still and listen. Another dimension is that the sound is melancholy in places -either lyrically or melodically due to the vocalist’s Pete Leonard’s delivery and demeanor, inspiring and impossible to second guess with its Bluesy edge. Truth be told, their musical prowess and talent was impressive enough to keep even the hardened musos from roaming back outside to the sunny courtyard so credit where it’s due to the drummer also Rich Senior who, subtly but consistently kept the feel and pace going and was intrinsic to bringing it all together. If you like your rock with an intelligent blues twist, an LA funky feel and a depth and soul unusual nowadays, especially given these guys are the right side of thirty, then I suggest you check them out. They are at the Mitre in Shaftesbury next month and at the Sausage Festival in Salisbury, see facebook.com/CrippledRook for further details.
Suitably warmed up and ready to rock well and truly out by this point, enter Bite The Buffalo, a BBC Introducing act who are based in Bath but hail from South Africa. Just made up of the two brothers, their sound is so much more than what you’d expect from a twosome. Really old school deep rock vibes, the kind that root you to the ground, force you to stare at the band on stage and maybe even incur mild whiplash due to head swaying – you know the kind of thing although you wouldn’t have expected it in deepest Wiltshire! This band intrigue and delight in equal measure, like vintage Kings Of Leon merged with a touch of Royal Blood and a dash of the Stones for good measure they are maybe a tad heavy for some but their talent cannot be denied. Professional, unfaltering and clearly so in tune with each other they really were a joy to watch although didn’t engage massively with the audience, there was enough interaction to keep you in there as they gauged the tone just right, building gradually to some more rocky numbers then slowing it down to a more blues pitch meaning that the audience, especially those dancing, were right there with them throughout the undulating musical journey. A band I would see again for sure and would suggest (sans your wee ones!) that you do too. They are at Farmfest in Somerset on 1st August see facebook.com/BiteTheBuffalo for further info.
So, would I sponsor this event again? Yes. Would I attend? For sure. We are lucky to have companies like Belle Rose events around, they keep the countryside social scene from descending into relentless pub lunches and shooting parties (which I am a fan of but diversity is key!) So thanks ladies – we appreciate you creating an opportunity where we can dance, have fun, listen to great music and eat and drink that doesn’t involve travelling to a city, bravo!