Details Of Ely Folk Festival 2007

Image: Ely Folk Festival 2007

With memories of the 2006 Ely Folk Festival still fresh in the mind, it’s time to announce the details the 22nd Festival to be held on 6th-8th July 2007.

As always the committee have lined up a diverse range of artists that should appeal to anyone with an interest in folk. Acts such as The Battlefield Band, Shooglenifty, Jez Lowe and local favourites, Ezio, are sure to attract another sell-out crowd to Downham Road.

There’s a chance for newcomers to have a go: the committee have introduced a Band Competition, which is open to all. Send in a CD and you may get the chance to open the Festival on the Friday night from the main stage.

Tickets for the Festival are now available. Details of all the above and much more can be found on our events pages.

Read last years review – Ely Folk Festival 2006 – to get a flavour of what the Festival is all about. I’m already getting in the mood by listening to Bob Dylan’s first album (which I’ve never heard before). See you there. Mine’s a pint of Dragon Slayer.

Ely Misses Out On ‘UK Best Market’ Award

Image: Ely Market

Ely just missed out on the coveted ‘Market of the Year 2007’ award last Wednesday (31 January). The Awards Ceremony took place at the NABMA Showcasing Markets Seminar at The Council House, Birmingham.

Ely’s market (along with Newark and Bury) were highly commended, recognising all those who have a role in making Ely Markets successful. A fine achievement when you consider that there were 50 entries in the category Best Street / Outdoor Market.

The recent success of Ely Markets led to ECDC entering the Market of the Year 2007 competition after growing in popularity and prestige since the Saturday general market was introduced to accompany the established farmers market in 2003, Ely Markets has continued to grow significantly while others in towns around the country have declined.

At a time when many markets are in decline, Ely Markets remain well supported.

Alison Callaby, Team Leader – Town Centres at ECDC

A study in 2005 by the East Cambridgeshire Retail, noted the ‘regular and thriving’ street market together with other factors meant that Ely was able to offer a shopping environment, which is not found in these larger centres. The study also singled out the ‘successful markets’ as ‘enhancing the attraction of Ely as a shopping destination’.
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How To Win Euro 2008 On The Cheap

This hasn’t anything to do with Ely but after last night’s game I was determined to give Steve McClaren the thoughts of an Ely City supporter:

Although not personally bothered whether the England manager is from Yorkshire, Sweden or Neverland I do think that the amount of cash thrown at the position is disproportionate to the rewards. Apparently, it cost about £15,000,000 over five years for Sven GE to transform a Top 8 national side into a…er…Top 8 side. Up and down the country millions of would be managers ground their teeth as Sven made unpopular decisions. To a man they all thought they could do a better job. Well, I humbly suggest, their time has come.
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White Lines (Cambs CC Don’t Do It)

Image: Downham Road, Ely

On the Cambridgeshire County Council website it states under their maintenance policy that ‘All carriageway markings will be maintained to be clearly visible day and night.’ So Ely Online has to ask the question: Why is it that Downham Road and Egremont Street have been without ‘centre lines and cat’s eyes’ for over six months?

Last summer both roads were resurfaced and rightly enough the ‘school – keep – clear’ signs (Keep entrance clear of stationary vehicles) were in place in record time outside the Downham road schools and Egremont House school but why are these roads without centre lines and Cat’s Eyes?

CCC’s website also proclaims: ‘Our main objectives when maintaining the county’s roads and pavements are safety and value for money. We pull out all the stops to ensure that we are providing the best possible service, whilst keeping costs down’.

All carriageway markings will be maintained to be clearly visible day and night.

Cambridgeshire County Council website

The Highway Code states in Rule 106: A broken white line marks the centre of the road. When this line lengthens and the gaps shorten, it means that there is a hazard ahead.

Road markings are as important as signs. So when are we getting our centre lines then?
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Ely Online Welcomes Rosemary Westwell

Image: Rosemary Westwell

I’m delighted to announce that Ely Online is adding some new contributing authors, starting with Rosemary Westwell. Rosemary recently got in touch with Ely Online mentioning that there seemed to be a lot of events on in the Ely area that get little coverage.

Rosemary, loves the arts and visits as many local events as possible, enjoying the fruits of the labour of other people. Rosemary says: ‘Having taught secondary school music before, when I had to put on musical productions myself, I have an idea of how difficult it can be’.

‘I write glowing reports of the events I see – but – read between the lines – not everything is as glowing as it may seem’.

You’ll find Rosemary’s full biography here and her first article here.

Welcome aboard Rosemary!

Stretham’s Pantomime: Cinderella

The Ely area has been blessed with a number of pantomimes to ease the gloom of our fading winter days. Stretham’s version of “Cinderella”, written by Tina Barsby and produced by Angela Fordham, positively glowed with the warmth and fun of a community ready for a good laugh. Hilarious quips bounced between actors and members of the audience, outrageous caricatures of well-known figures strutted the stage and tongue-in-cheek we were all given a jolly good night of laughter.

The gob-smacked look on the youngster’s face in my row made the evening for me. Eyes wide, he stared incredulously when the first dame in full drag regalia (ballooning bosoms flowing beneath leopard skin), flounced his way down the aisle. The young lad had never seen anything like it before!

The gob-smacked look on the youngster’s face in my row made the evening for me.

All the characters revelled in their roles: genial Big Brother Buttons (Chris Adams), beautiful nightingale Cindy Dee (Rosie Wheat), Prince Willie (Claire Saltmarsh) a hero suffering much from over-zealous dames, Cee Dee (Matt Creak) and Dee Dee (David Pope), Dandini (Angela Fordham) thwarted in love, all-American Mom (Donna Bright) one of the many oblivious to the needs of baby Bee Dee (Toby Hutter) and Prince Charming Charlie (Caroline Breeden) wonderfully equipped with enlarged ears, red nose and very posh accent. The antics of Mindy (Emma Bowd), Bindy (Eloise Bright), policemen Snot (Claire Pople) and Grot (Juliette Potten), ASBO seeker Timmy (Chris Grant), grouchy Blue Tooth Fairy (Jessica Fordham), sparkling Fairy Godmother (Caroline Gentry), cool Kick the Cat (Jasmine Radford) and the beautiful Fairies all also helped to make the evening an unforgettable romp. The riotous actions on stage were matched perfectly by Neil Griffin’s musical talent and the delightful scenery, costumes, lighting and sound. Roll on Stretham’s next production – this village definitely has what it takes to provide a jolly good night of unadulterated fun.

The Old Fire Engine House Telegraph Review

The Old Fire Engine House Restaurant & Gallery has been one of Ely’s most popular restaurants since it first opened it’s doors in 1968. The use of many local recipes, seasonal ingredients and traditional English cooking has helped make this quaint restaurant much loved with the residents of Ely and beyond.

Image: The Old Fire Engine House Restaurant

Respected journalist Rowan Pelling recently visited the restaurant and wrote this review for the Daily Telegraph newspaper as part of her column ‘Are you ready to order?’

Here is the review:

A friend and I once decided that the four words most likely to incite a public riot in Britain were: “I hate Judi Dench.” Some institutions are just too beloved to allow dissent.

Another such may well be The Old Fire Engine House at Ely. This idiosyncratic restaurant and art gallery (and former Victorian fire station) is a stone’s throw from the cathedral and has been in the same hands since 1968.

I have not met anyone in Cambridgeshire who doesn’t speak of the place with the unrestrained ardour Brits normally reserve for Labrador puppies.

Eating there feels like dining with a favourite aunt who cooks sturdy comfort food in a no-frills English tradition. It’s the only restaurant I know where you are always pressed by a solicitous hostess to have seconds, though I have yet to see anyone manage the feat.

I have not met anyone in Cambridgeshire who doesn’t speak of the place with the unrestrained ardour Brits normally reserve for Labrador puppies.

Most ingredients are sourced nearby and cooked using local recipes: pike and eel crop up regularly. So you can imagine the umbrage in the Fens this autumn when a pundit from another newspaper popped up from London and slated the food.

It was hard not to feel that the poor chap had somehow missed the point – rather like criticising the Queen for not being Kate Moss.
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Music At King’s: Blithe Spirit

Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” was an excellent choice for the King’s School Ely to display the emerging talent amongst senior students. Under the expert directorship of Adella Charlton, the cast brought to life the golden era of Noel Coward’s sophisticated wit and humour, presenting the foibles of characters beyond the years of their portrayers in a series of credible smoothly developed scenes. The cohesive team work and skilled acting drew the audience into the dramatic events delightfully. There were some wonderful escalating arguments among the couples.

Ruth (Becky Hill) was every bit the poised fussy wife whose nerves slowly and visibly unravelled. Charles (Tom Brown), her much troubled husband, was presented with particularly accomplished timing and expressive responses to events.

Edith (Martha Morris) portrayed a credibly nervous maid and unwitting pivotal influence on events. Madame Arcati (Hannah Todd) exuded excessive enthusiasm, her fascination with the departed very much apparent. Bizzie Wood played a delightfully selfish coquettish Elvira, the ghost of Charles’s first wife. Make up, lighting and costume helped to create a very realistic effect as she disported herself about the stage. Dr. Bradman (Kit Chambers) and Mrs. Bradman (Alison Hallinan) complemented the cast as typical dinner companions. Dr Bradman: the intellectual, Mrs. Bradman: naïve and chatty, her comments not always the most tactful.

It was clear why the packed audience loved the show and many a Noel Coward fan went home well entertained.

The next production will be “Superheroes” on the 6-8 March, 7.30 at the Hayward Theatre contact (01353) 653931.

Baroque Music Comes To Ely

Image: Kate Hearne

The recorder is a much maligned instrument. In the hands of a highly accomplished musician the tremendous versatility and skill required to play this instrument well soon become clear. This was certainly the case with the performance on February 23rd by Kate Hearne in the Recital Hall at the Hayward Theatre in Ely. In her hands, the virtuosic embellishments, dramatic declarations and sustained beauty of the instruments were mesmerising. With unerring ease, Kate switched from alto (treble) recorder, to voice flute (tenor) or soprano (descant) recorders to suit the different tonal requirements of the pieces.

Joseph McHardy accompanied her with a firm harmonic foundation from the harpsichord. His secure articulation, expressive melodic development and rhythmic dynamism complemented the recorders exactly.
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Council Buys Land For 180 Space Car Park

Image: Land for car park

A new car park specifically to meet the needs of commuters has moved a step closer now the District Council has bought land at Cambridgeshire Business Park in Ely.

Officers at ECDC have purchased half a hectare of land for the development of the 180-space car park as part of the Ely Transport Strategy.

With development at the site due to begin in the summer, the facility should be welcoming its first vehicles in the autumn.
John Hill, Chief Executive at ECDC, said: ‘This is a major step forward in the development of the Ely Transport Strategy. The new car park, once completed, will offer commuters a safe and secure place to leave the car while they travel to their place of work.
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