Cambridgeshire – one of the top places to live in the Eastern Region

National figures just out show residents think that Cambridgeshire is one of the top places in the Eastern Region to live.

The full ECDC press release can be viewed here:Cambridgeshire – one of the top places to live in the Eastern Region

Cambridgeshire – one of the top places to live in the Eastern Region

National figures just out show residents think that Cambridgeshire is one of the top places in the Eastern Region to live.

The full ECDC press release can be viewed here:Cambridgeshire – one of the top places to live in the Eastern Region

Dance Island 2009 In Hot Demand

Organisers are urging punters to buy their tickets soon so as not to miss out on East Anglia’s biggest
dance music experience of the year, Dance Island 2009, due to take place 4 July near Ely,
Cambridgeshire.

Standard and VIP tickets have been selling fast in the run up to the event and are still available online
and at selected HMV stores around the region.

The organisers have revealed that there will be tickets available on the day on a ‘first come first served’
basis at the festival but to avoid disappointment and save some money book tickets prior to the event.
Dance Island 2009 features four huge arenas, an outdoor stage, two arenas dedicated to local and new
and upcoming talent, a chill-out area, a VIP area, a fun fair, a food village, a range of trade stalls and
over 60 of the world’s best live dance acts and DJs.

Chicane (Live), Pendulum (DJ set and MC Jakes), Utah Saints, The Shapeshifters, Plump DJs, Altern8,
Danny Rampling, Dave Pearce, Public Domain, Lab4 and K90 are just some of the artists set to
perform.

Tickets are available through the Dance Island website – www.dance-island.com and selected HMV
stores throughout East Anglia. At £42.50 for standard tickets and £67.50 for VIP, the event is billed as
one of the best value for money festivals in the UK and will be celebrating 20 years of dance music
since the ‘Second Summer of Love’.

For full event details, ticket sales and the full line-up, visit dance-island.com

Ely students show ‘Peddars’ power

Students from the Ely Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) have presented more than £509 to the Cancer Research charity after completing a 70 mile sponsored cycle ride.

The full ECDC press release can be viewed here:Ely students show ‘Peddars’ power

Everyone Had A Great Day At 2009 Pymoor Show

All roads certainly did lead thousands of people, their families and their dogs to Pymoor and to enjoy the best day out in the region. Many were early so as not to miss the start.

On Saturday 4th July holding of the annual Pymoor Agricultural and Country Show took over Pymoor, which is 5 miles from Ely on the B1411.

There was so much to see and participate in at the 11th holding of the Pymoor Show and many were there soon after the gates opened at 10am to get a place around the main arena from which to watch the activities and events and stayed right up until the show closed at 6pm. The events included David Seamark the shepherd and his 5 sheep dogs, sheep and geese, Brookfields Shire Horses working to music, gun dogs, Granta Harriers, country dancing and a traditional vintage vehicle parade.

Owners and their pet dogs went flat out in the Dog Scurry a 40m dash with straw bale jumps run against the clock, the Dog Agility Challenge, which is a series of tests such as running through tunnels, crossing a see saw and jumping over different obstacles. Members of Growlies Dog Club were on hand to advise guide and help. After all the dashing around, both pets and owners rested and had a wash and brush up to be ready for the Family Pet Dog Show.

The two most popular activities for the children were undoubtedly Abra John with Punch and Judy, a magic show and his flea circus and the livestock area with cows, calves, goats, lambs, piglets, alpacas, ponies and chickens to get up close to.

The Best Trade Stands Competition was judged by Mr Brian Hobbs, Chairman of the Ely NFU assisted by Mr Jonathon Bridgeland of the NFU. The Ron Fleet Cup for the Best “Agricultural” Trade Stand was won by E. Palmer & Son for a display showing 75 years of Ford and Fordson Tractors. The Shield for the Best “Non-Agriculture” Trade Stand went to Luavic Potts Furniture Restorations. The presentations were made by Mr Fred Brown the Leader of the Council.

Due to the fantastic weather there were long queues at the ice cream van and the beer tent all Show long. When it became time to think about feeding the family the wide selection of food included a hog roast, venison, fish & chips and hot dogs etc. Also very popular, as always, were the traditional sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee provided by the ladies of the Pymoor Cricket and Social Club.

Spokesman John Pinnells said “This year’s Show, which was held under a cloudless blue sky was crammed full of activities, demonstrations and fun for every one from 8 to 80 to enjoy and enjoy it they certainly did.”

BBC Local Radio presenter Sue Marchant was the host for the day and as always gave a tremendous performance.

If you want trade stand details or would like to sponsor the 2010 Show please contact John on 01353 699606 or Steve & Julie on 01353 698569

Birthday Bash as Ely Farmer’s Market Celebrates Success

Ely Farmers’ Market which has grown from humble beginnings to be a major shopping attraction in the city – will be marking its ongoing success at a 9th birthday celebration on Saturday, July 11.

The full ECDC press release can be viewed here:Birthday Bash as Ely Farmer’s Market Celebrates Success

Ely Folk Festival 2009 The Best Yet!

Feedback from festival goers is that Ely Folk Festival 2009 was the best yet!

With all festival tickets sold out a week in advance, the sun shone all weekend on 1500 happy festival goers. A strong line-up, great music and a friendly atmosphere all combined to make the festival one to remember. Top bands Edward II and Baka Beyond had the main marquee on its feet dancing on Friday and Saturday nights, while singing legend Eric Bogle sang his best known song ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ to a hushed audience on Sunday evening. Up-and-coming bands Something Nasty in the Woodshed and Dog Roses added verve and attitude to an impressive musician line-up.

Complimenting the concerts, a programme of workshops, informal artists ‘unplugged’ sessions, dance displays, ceilidhs and children’s entertainment over the weekend was enjoyed by festival goers. The Saturday morning dance procession was watched by crowds of local people and visitors as fifteen morris teams brought colour, music and spectacle to the streets of Ely.

Chair of the festival committee, Trish Reed, said “Ely 2009 was a fantastic event and we’ve had lots of positive feedback from festival goers. It was hard work but we’re so pleased that everyone had a great time and we’re really grateful for the help we received from our volunteer stewards over the weekend. We’re already planning Ely Folk Festival 2010”.

Ely Folk Festival 2010 will be the 25th festival and will take place 9-11 July 2010.

Be sure to read Ely Online’s full review here.

Look who is hanging out at Oliver Cromwell’s

History is set to come to life this summer as characters from the past return to tell their stories of what life was once like.

The full ECDC press release can be viewed here:Look who is hanging out at Oliver Cromwell’s

Ely Folk Festival Review 2009

Image: John Glover

The Ely Online team ventured once again to The Ely Folk Festival to, hopefully, capture the spirit of the event. With myself (John Glover – pictured right) on pencil and paper and Karl Bedingfield (the camera) we hope to give you a slice of the festival from a non-folkie perspective. Holly and Mike were our ears and eyes on site and completed the Ely Online team. This, the 24th Festival, had a great line-up and the prospect of some decent weather. For my take of the Festival, read on:

The Week Before

As per, my Folk Festival week began on the Monday with a diligent trawl through the Artist list and some googling. Ely Online once more were given the opportunity to see the festival from a non-folkie perspective. Luckily for the uninformed (me), Myspace is information HQ for most bands and some of their best choons. With headphones clamped on and downloading like a dervish I delved into this years selection.

Image: Sold Out!

Shortly, without moving an inch I was enjoying The Dog Roses (winners of the Band competition and first act on Friday), While & Matthews, Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers and, as they say, many many more. Yup, as usual the Ely Folk Festival was shaping up to be the varied line up of traditional and contemporary that we have come to expect. The Folk World must agree because this year the whole weekend was sold out before a note was played.

One of the nice things about the Ely Folk Festival is that you see a lot of the same faces every year and a thought occurred to me when I was travelling home on the train after work. A few Folkies with rucksacks were running down the platform to get their connection and I wondered if they knew what to expect if it was their first visit. Ely must be one of the prettiest places to arrive at on a train from either direction.

Friday Evening

Image: The Dog Roses

The music I was researching? This week’s earworm was ‘A Little Bit More Blue’ by The Dog Roses, one of the most over the top, singable and downright uplifting songs I’ve ever heard. I eagerly awaited the live rendition when they opened the festival. As Band Competition winners they only had twenty minutes in which to showcase their talents and after introducing a song with the line, ‘Here’s a song about suicide’ I knew I’d like them. I patiently waited for the big finish which would undoubtedly be my favouritist new song. Guess what? They didn’t play the bugger! When I spoke to them later in the beer tent they didn’t even recognise the song I was slurring about. I had to sing the chorus to remind them. The Ely Online team all agreed that The Dogs (as we now call them) should be given a slot in next year’s festival.

Image: Strangefolk

Strangefolk sounded suspiciously like Jefferson Airplane and even did a cover of ‘Somebody to Love’. The band has been around since 2002 and I have to agree with the programme blurb, that they played with total commitment.

Next up, after some Whitby Cod and Chips, was Something Nasty In the Woodshed. My scribbled notes said ‘Bagpipes with heavy metal guitar’. Not too far wrong as it turned out but there was much more to them. I loved their Shoogleniftyish grooves and reggae tinged instrumentals. They went down a treat.

Image: Something Nasty In the Woodshed

I found a quiet seat at the back for Allan Taylor. Living in the States for years has influenced his troubadour tales which he’s gathered over the years from talking to strangers in bars which he says has cost him a lot of money. ‘The Veteran’ was a particularly hairy tale of an encounter with a gun-toting Vietnam Vet. ‘Leaving at Dawn’ is Allan’s reflection on the travails of earning your living as a musician. Other stand-out songs, ‘New York in the Seventies’ and ‘Frenchtown’ were expertly performed in his distinctive mellow tones.

Image: Baka Beyond

It was during Allan Taylor’s set that I realised Ely On Line’s self-confessed Geek, Karl, was meddling about with his new phone. Little did I know that he was ‘Tweeting’ from the festival. For those who’ve never heard of Twitter – don’t bother, it’s rubbish. I’m sticking to my Oxfam diary and scribbling notes.

Baka Beyond were the Friday headliners and are no strangers to Ely. They got the crowd dancing at the front and gave everyone a chance to throw some shapes as a warm up before the Ceilidh.

Image: Baka Beyond

Then I wobbled home on my bike.

Saturday Afternoon

Image: Ely Folk

After a breakfast of parasetemol and a fry-up for brunch I made my way back down to the festival site in time to catch the excellent ‘The QP’. With new bassist Tim playing his first gig you might have expected a few wobbles here and there but they’d obviously blooded him well and a tight set of tunes and songs delighted the (for a Saturday afternoon) fullish marquee. This was a band that had more wind-power than me after a curry, at the top of a hill, on a windy day. At one point during the fabulous ‘Mexican Catharsis Set’ they had a four-man front line of harmonica, flute, soprano saxophone and whistle blowing away at full throttle. Hexham Farmer featured the muscular harp playing of Will Pound and I’d have to say that The QP were my ‘Eureka Moment’ of this years Festival. I always drone on about being a non-folkie but there is usually an act every year that really crowbars open my eyes to the thrill of Folk music. I suspect I’m not the only one who will name The QP as their favourite act from this years list.

Image: Ely Folk

Next up were Toy Hearts, a 5 piece Bluegrass band from Birmingham. They were the real deal and I wasn’t surprised to hear that they are off on a 5-week tour of the States quite soon. They played a captivating set full of blues, Western swing, bluegrass and some Sun-era Elvis Presley. I liked them – I liked them a lot. ‘The Captain’ and ‘Stronger’ were my faves.

A duo new to me was next on stage – While & Matthews. They said they were last at Ely when they could smell the sewerage plant. Hmm…that’d be the Pocket Park then! Chris quipped that they were covered in mosquito bites for days after playing on the old site. I can confirm that the Pocket Park still has a goodly population of mozzies just waiting to prey on bare flesh after the wife and I went down that way for a stroll on a warm evening recently. No problems with that kind of thing at the Footy Club.

Several times nominated for various Radio 2 Folk Awards, they have won the best duo at the 2009 folk awards – and I can see why. ‘Single Act of Kindness’ and the incredibly sad ‘Comfort Women’ were the stand out songs and they received an enormous cheer at the end of their set.

Saturday Evening

Image: Flossie Malavialle

With a large black cloud hovering with malice aforethought above the Isle of Ely, festivalgoers headed for canvas. As Ely On Line traversed the site clutching pints of Dragon Slayer the ‘Sell Out’ signs on the gate definitely spoke the truth.

Image: Flossie Malavialle

My ‘You Tube’ search for Flossie Malavialle had produced a few results and to be honest I had considered giving her a miss and going to watch Strange Folk for a second time. I’m glad I didn’t though because she was excellent. Despite having only lived in the UK for seven years she’s developed a rich Geordie accent which has produced a glorious Anglo-French brogue. She sang beautifully; ‘La Vie En Rose’, ‘The Road’s My Middle Name’ and generally charmed the socks off the audience. And if that made you smile it means you were there.

Image: Edward II

Following Flossie was Edward II. Again, my Googling had led me to make notes such as ‘Folk/UB40’, which proved to be reasonably accurate with one huge difference – I’ve always been put off by Ali Campbell’s cod-Jamaican singing voice. Without an annoying vocal to put me off I was free to enjoy Edward II’s ‘dance tunes of old England, sunny sexy grooves of reggae and lover’s rock’. They certainly are a ‘crossover’ act and they had Marquee 1 rocking.

Image: The Peatbog Faeries

And then – the rain began to fall. The Peatbog Faeries came on and it’s fair to say the audience were divided. I suspect that after all the dancing during Edward II’s set that it was like being asked if you want another slice of chocolate cake – more Folk than you can eat. Anyway, as The Faeries ripped up a storm to match the one outside, a large crowd formed at the front to bop the evening away while a portion of the more Traditional folkers slid away to the more gentle homes of the Beer Tent session or While & Matthews in Marquee 2. Personally I love the The Boggers after buying ‘Faeries Stories’ but I can see why they split the crowd. I would imagine at a less ‘intimate’ festival they would have had the Tent bursting at the seams. In fact they would have gone down well at Dance Island that was held last week just up the road.

Sunday

Image: Mike & Holly

The clouds parted and the sun shone. Sunday is traditionally chillin’ out day – take the sides off the marquees and sit outside.

Got down to the site for the tail end of Strangeworld’s set. Plenty of people had decided to keep out of the sun and they got a good reception. Next up was Adrian Nation. I remembered him from a couple of years ago and he did ‘Where the Lions Are’, ‘Brightest Star’ and a song that, apparently, gets sung at his lad’s school called, ‘Set the Course’. In my review of Adrian’s last visit to EFF I mentioned he does a good line in Van Morrison sounding songs and I’ll stick by that.

Adam Brown and Alan MacLeod filled Marquee 2 and I was pleased that my on-going folk education led me to think, ‘Hmm..that one sounds like a song off Lau’s first album’ as they squeezed and strummed their way through another funky folk tune. Yep – I’m into this folk stuff enough to recognise influences now. When Adam (3 time bodhran champ) started his finger-snapping solo, musos began to walk speedily from all directions of the site to the marquee to watch. Perfect entertainment for a sunny Sunday methinks.

Image: The QP
Image: Eric Bogle

More beer was taken on board while listening to The QP’s set in Marquee 2 but then I had to go to the Main Tent for Eric Bogle and John Munro. A couple of years ago I wrote how he won me over and in this, his last UK tour, he did it again. His between song anecdotes about leaving Scotland for Australia when he was 19 had the audience enthralled and his rendition of ‘And the band played Waltzing Matilda’ was particularly poignant this week in view the events in Afghanistan. He received a standing ovation and the crowd demanded an encore. My backstage informant reports that Eric was reluctant to go back on stage but he did. I must confess, I’ve never been a big fan of encores – shows are paced to fit a mood, whether celebratory or dramatic. I always think it’s a bit anti-climatic to do another song after a tearjerker like ‘And the band…’. However, the public are always right and Eric came back for well deserved thunderous applause.

Image: Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers

Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers are usually a duo of Steve Lockwood and Chris Newman but they were augmented by Mark Russell from the Ceilidh Allstars on Bodhran and a bass player for this gig. Steve Lockwood is a true star and kept his powder dry for the first few songs by sitting down. After 15 minutes he was up dancing, running around the Marquee and whipping up a storm with his Harmonica. He changed the mood for a moving version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, which was fantastic. My version of the song, ‘While My Catarrh Gently Seeps’ will soon be available on a Sinus Aid compilation CD.

Another band playing for the final time in the UK were Tanglefoot. They were introduced as old friends of the Ely Festival and Al Parrish was even wearing a spectacular green shirt apparently made by Ruth Bramley – is that true? The band energetically romped and stomped out favourites such as ‘Seven a side’ and ‘Vimy’ and Terry Young gave an impassioned speech on the dangers of Global Warming which turned out to be a sneaky attempt to sell some CD’s. Excellent stuff – and I have to admit that I loved them by the end of the set whereas when they came on stage I thought they were a ‘Spinal Tap’ folk band – those curly perms must still be popular in Canada.

Image: EFF Dog of The Year 2009 – Dog 20!

And Finally…along with increased signage at this year’s festival all the dogs had individual tags to identify them and over the 3 days I was enchanted by a little dog that was fussed over by its owners and anyone that saw her. I never discovered the mutts name but anyway, stand up (on yer hind legs) and take a bow (wow) – EFF Dog of The Year 2009 – Dog 20!

Ely Folk Festival Audio

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Ely Folk Festival Video

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The Dog Roses (Friday)

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Baka Beyond (Friday)

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Something Nasty In The Woodshed (Friday)

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The Peatbog Faeries (Saturday)

Ely Folk Festival Slideshow

Image: Holly

Click Image above for our photo slideshow!

Top 10 Songs From the Weekend (in no particular order)

  1. A Little Bit More Blue – The Dog Roses
  2. The Captain – Toy Hearts
  3. Mexican Catharsis Set – The QP
  4. Leaving Nancy – Eric Bogle and John Munro
  5. Comfort Women – While and Matthews
  6. While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers
  7. Vimy – Tanglefoot
  8. Where The Lions Are – Adrian Nation
  9. Seven a Side – Tanglefoot
  10. Stronger – Toy Hearts

The 25th Ely Folk Festival will take place on 9th to 11th July 2010 – see you there!

How are you going to countdown to the Olympics?

With the whole country beginning to gear up for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the London 2012 Open Weekend supported by BP, a three day national celebration, from Friday 24 – Sunday 26 July, will be promoted throughout East Cambridgeshire.

The full ECDC press release can be viewed here:How are you going to countdown to the Olympics?