Monday, 27 June 2011

The Campstock 2011 Experience

I was so tired yesterday that all I could manage to post of my weekend was a Silent Sunday picture.

While all the 'lucky bloggers' were descending on Cybermummy, I was sitting in the impressively extensive gardens of Staffordshire Manor House surrounded by rhodedendrons that must have painted a spectacular picture when they were at their best. I was not there to look at faded blooms. I was there supporting Campstock 2011 - a Charity Music Festival in aid of the local Macmillan Hospice. As suggested on the ticket, I had brought a picnic.

As we arrived, laden with everything we could think of to optimise our comfort and enjoyment (folding chairs, flask of coffee, toys for the little ones, waterproofs ...) the Trentham Brass Band were playing. They were very accomplished but made me feel unseasonally Christmassy. I didn't want to be reminded that we are already halfway through the year and Santa will be making his annual appearance before we know it.

There were lots of people there but they were well spread out creating a relaxed atmosphere. I was not entirely relaxed. Once the Brass Band had delivered their last 'oompah' I knew that it was only moments away from the real reason for my interest in this particular event.

For the first time this year, Campstock had decided to extend their line up to include local acts that were just starting out and possibly had not had much exposure in the way of performing gigs. The organiser, Martin, turned to a man who has inspired youngsters musically for many years in his role as Music teacher at my children's secondary school for help. That man has been teaching my girls piano since we moved to Shropshire and put forward the name of their newly formed band, 'Not Quite' as a possible support act.

After listening to a recording of one of their songs and meeting with my girls, Martin invited them to perform.

The sun wasn't exactly shining (but we hadn't needed our waterproofs at least) as my girls took to the stage.

It was a very strange feeling sitting in an audience watching my girls doing their thing - feeling immensely proud but wondering if it was only a mother's bias that lead to thinking they were fantastic. The cheers and applause they received indicated that it wasn't.

They made a few mistakes due to their inexperience - Ivy actually forgot to plug her guitar in for the first song! - but it somehow added to their charm.

The set was over all too quickly.

The stage had to be cleared of their instruments to make room for the next act so with a little help from boyfriends and a stepdad, they carried everything to load into the waiting car. As they walked through the crowd, they were clapped and praised.

They received loads of positive feedback from the other bands as well who all mentioned them during their own sets, in particular acknowledging how good the songs that they had written themselves were.

It was easy to see how the experience had boosted their confidence and now they feel inspired to do some more songwriting over the summer.

I don't imagine that I'll ever see my girls on whatever the modern day equivalent of 'Top of the Pops' is - they don't have the hunger for fame and celebrity that I think goes with the territory - but I do hope that they will have many more opportunities to perform and continue to love what they are doing.

The video shows a selection of the original songs performed by my girls - girls who give me every reason to be one very proud mum.

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