Text Version Last Updated: January 6, 2014 21:29
On the Bank Holiday Monday May the 30th 2011, we held the latest charity concert in aid of the World Owl Trust here at Muncaster Castle. This happened during ‘Fool’s Week’, the annual competition to determine Muncaster’s reining fool for the next year. This is a time of mayhem and madness, and attracts many visitors from all corners of the globe.
To help accommodate all the events that week, Muncaster erected a large marquee on the lawn near the playing field. This was only used during the day, so presented a golden opportunity to stage this particular event.
Muncaster would provide the bar and catering, leaving us to find suitable acts for the evening’s entertainment. We had Billy Mitchell and Bob Fox here at Muncaster the previous September, providing a magical night’s worth of entertainment. Billy Mitchell had been Lindisfarne’s front man until their retirement in 2003. Bob Fox had previously worked with Fairport Convention, and are both well known in the folk rock circuit. Billy Mitchell as chance would have it was actually touring the UK with his own band at the time of the proposed gig, and was happy to come back to Muncaster. The headline act was in the bag, leaving a worthy support act to find.
On my travels I had previously come across the Olly Alcock Band from Carlisle. Getting hold of them wasn’t a problem, as a friend of mine knows the band socially. The Olly Alcock Band are a blues band headed by the ‘larger the life’ Olly Alcock; master guitarist and raconteur, as well as Roz Sluman on saxophone. This was the class act to get the night off with a bang.
We got the marquee set up ready for the bands by 6pm. The Billy Mitchell Band duly arrived by 4pm and started to set up. The Olly Alcock Band got to Muncaster by 6pm. They were due on by 7.30pm. I helped Olly & co set up. One of my jobs for the night was to liaise between the bands to ensure smooth running.
The Olly Alcock Band went on stage bang on schedule, and did a very professional polished 45 minute set, with Olly and Roz’ trademark musical duelling underscoring their show.
The Billy Mitchell Band went on at around 9pm. On drums was none other than Ray Laidlaw, the former drummer of Lindisfarne. This was a more robust Billy Mitchell than we had previously seen at Muncaster. Most songs were accompanied by electric guitars and with his son Tom on acoustic guitar and keyboards. The highlight for me personally was ‘Shiftin’ to the Toon’, with Billy swapping acoustic guitar for his trademark mandolin, as well as ‘Fog on the Tyne, a well known hit from the ‘70s.
A raffle in aid of the World Owl Trust was held on the night as well; many of the prizes being provided by Jen Redhead, Andy Chafe and Jenny Thurston. Both the Billy Mitchell Band and the Olly Alcock Band provided free CDs for the raffle. The atmosphere was electric. The audience was clearly enjoying the occasion. Muncaster was happy. Everybody was happy, helping to bring the night to close with a clear profit of £1170.
I must give a very special thankyou to Rob Clow from Kendal College for the loan of the stage lighting rig. Without his help, this venture would have been a lot less successful.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the event sponsors; Cleator Bus Cumbria and Stollers Furniture without whom none of this would have been possible.
|World Owl Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1107529
Limited Company Number: 5296745
The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.