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Review: Purbeck Folk Festival 2012

Foot stomping, rain dancing, raw talent and the beautiful Dorset countryside, this is Purbeck Folk Festival 2012. PFF has everything you could possibly want from a festival; incredibly talented folk musicians and bands, a picturesque location and plentiful supply of locally produced delicacies and award-winning ales and ciders. Cheers to that!

Running throughout the bank holiday weekend (24-26th August), Purbeck Folk Festival was awe-inspiring, uplifting and managed to successfully encompass the broadest definition of ‘folk’.

What is on offer at Purbeck Folk Festival?

Not only does the festival showcase the most gifted folk musicians, it also offers; captivating poetry slam competitions, beard and moustache competitions, art and craft stalls, woodwork demonstrations, open mic sessions, workshops for fitness, drama and comedy, face painting, Morris dancing, tarot card reading and much more!

Who is the festival suitable for?

This festival has such a friendly, warm and vibrant feel, making it extremely ideal and suitable for the young, the old, families, couples and friends. There are plenty of activities for children over the weekend which just adds to the pleasant environment. This is also a rarity which is often not provided at other festivals.

Which bands/artists stood out in particular?

With such a fantastic and varied line-up it was extremely difficult to choose who to watch. The artists perform on one of three different stages (middle barn, long barn and an outdoor stage, the fire stage) throughout the day and evening. This is a brief selection of some of the artists I had the opportunity to enjoy over the weekend:

Larkin Poe– the song writing sisters really brought soul and joy to Dorset. A fantastic set by the pair, enjoyed by all!

KT Tunstall– headlining Saturday night KT certainly created a stir in the long barn! Her sound was electric, energetic and above all else entertaining. The Scottish singer knew how to work the crowd and we certainly loved her. Playing fantastic hits such as ‘Suddenly I see’ and ‘Other Side of the World’ the crowd were well and truly mesmerised by the chart-topping star.

Shooglenifty– this six piece band from Edinburgh was phenomenal. They played a variety of songs that combined traditional Scottish sounds, rock and electro pop with funky melodies and rhythms. A musical cocktail that sure tasted sweet. They are definitely highly recommended.

Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson– this pair are simply astonishing, bursting with such energy, creativity and flair you cannot help but fall in love with them. Described as ‘beauty and the beast’ they produce such beautiful, upbeat music; think folk, blues, stunning vocals and ladies and gentlemen you are a little closer to understanding what makes Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson tick! You really won’t be the same after these two.

The Penny Red– this four piece band from Wiltshire is a delight to watch. Their music is punchy, emotive and fresh, I can see this band going far with the charming voice of Jess Vincent seducing you on the way.

The Paper Shades– Sarah Dollar and Jon Rixon produce dreamy, acoustic music that really sounds great. They work well together on stage and are a joy to watch.

Ant Henson– Henson’s sound is undeniably infectious and captivating. His lyrics bare honesty, emotion and are the works of a hardworking and passionate, young songwriter. At the tender age of twenty-three Henson is an all-round entertainer and crowd pleaser: definitely worth a listen.

Chris Woodford– He is an incredibly talented young man and when let loose on a twelve string guitar you are unknowingly lured into his magical world. And boy, you won’t want to leave.

The Widowmaker– emotive, moving and mesmerising successfully sums up The Widowmaker. His music discusses on a satirical level, the reality and disillusionment of the modern world we live in. His sound can be described as atmospheric and affective; I can guarantee you will want to listen to The Widowmaker over and over again. Satisfyingly addictive.

Catherine Burke Band– Catherine Burke Band is an upbeat, folk band that uses humour well and are open, honest and downright entertaining.

What makes Purbeck Folk Festival so fantastic?

The rural countryside location, the very reasonable ticket price (which includes camping), the array of unique musicians, interactive events running throughout the weekend and finally, perhaps most importantly, the wonderful people who attend and run the festival.

Help show your support for grassroot musicians. Think folk, think Purbeck Folk Festival 2013; book your tickets online now.

Do ordinary, extraordinarily well: sponsorship in 2012.

Bournemouth University graced the sixth Mike Warne Annual Marketing Communications Lecture; covering the vibrant, challenging topic of successful sponsorship: leading the way in 2012. Students, staff and local and national media welcomed Jackie Fast, Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship and Jeff Dodds, Executive Marketing Director of Brand and Marketing Communications at Virgin Media. The evening juiced our brains, whilst the sponsors of the event Little Miracles quenched our thirst and tantalised our taste buds.

Jackie Fast kicked off the evening by delivery a ‘punchy’ and succinct presentation an agency’s perspective of sponsorship. Through humorous photographs Jackie transported the audience back to 2008 where our dear friend, the recession, came to visit. Although as we all know, the visit went from short to long-term overnight. The year 2008 saw a dramatic decrease in sponsorship, meaning businesses had to adapt.

The glass half full, half empty imagery was painted by Jackie. The change meant businesses had to change their marketing plans and generate new revenue streams with business synergy at the very heart. Businesses had to devote further time to competitor evaluations with their individual infrastructures and tactics. The big question that came from all of the renovating; what is sponsorship doing? What is the value of sponsorship for companies?

The dominoes fell down and subsequently saw one way communication dynamically adapt to the marketplace into two-way communication. Most companies may refer to this as ‘the social media bandwagon’ which we all must ride. Jackie supported this claim with sources proving the increase of users on social media websites and also the demographics changing over the past few years; witnessing the older generation using more social based sites.

So why sponsorship? Why is it so important?

Sponsorship as explained coherently by Jackie is rewarding. It involves engagement, brand experience, interactivity and ultimately fan loyalty can be achieved. The equation of sponsorship reads: logos + media vs. engagement. Not to anyone’s surprise, Jackie revealed sport is the fastest growing industry for sponsorship.

Jackie’s inspirational talk was complimented by fruitful examples of sponsorship. Here are two of them alongside simplified interesting facts (click links for further information):

Jay Z and Bing

  • Month long campaign
  • Relevant to young audience within popular culture
  • Attracted on average 11 minutes per person
  • 1.1 Billion media impressions
  • BING were within top 10 visited websites
  • 11.7% increase in traffic to BING

Coca Cola Polar Bear and Superbowl

  • Marketers focusing on second screen consumers
  • 9 million users tuned into campaign
  • On average people dwelled for approx. 28 minutes

Concluding her passionate talk, Jackie left the room with wise, inspirational lexis on sponsorship: it is not about logos, integration is key, be unique and above all engage and create relationships; social platforms are ideal.

“Open with a film, it does a better job” exclaims Jeff Dodds. The video fills the lecture theatre with pleasing audio and visuals of the wonderful works of Virgin Media. From V Festival to Britain’s Got Talent to comedy. Just “another day in the office” remarks Jeff in a jovial tone.

Jeff begins by inviting the audience into the corporate strategy at virgin Media. Four basic areas: mission, payload, boosters and thrusters. The mission statement has the customer at the forefront with the NPS (Net Promoter Score) being fundamental and core to Virgin Media’s ethos. The company want to know would you recommend. Advocacy is the cogs within Virgin.

WWRD? Can you guess what it is yet…(and no, nothing Rolf Harris related). What would Richard do? Three undeniably wise steps from Richard Branson reflect the company’s success in the current marketplace.

  1. Grow through advocacy
  2. Demonstration not declaration
  3. Virgin only joins the game to change the game

Jeff confidently explained the three-way architecture of sponsorship within Virgin Media. The first two, obvious avenues can be communications (telling) and advertising (showing). However, sponsorship manages to hit customers at a personal, experience level. In his words the Virgin Media consumer life.

Virgin Media’s use of sponsorship demonstrates clearly this level of personalisation. Sponsoring V Festival Virgin Media manages to encapsulate a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for the festival goer. The customer experiences rich moments that incidentally create positive feeling towards the company. Only last week, V Festival came fourth on Google Insights emphasising Virgin Media’s strategies are literally buzzing.

Virgin Media’s current advertisement informs customers about the double speed Broadband coming soon, with the website link to confirm specific dates. Richard Branson and Olympic runner Bolt star in this humorous advertisement.

It has been highly successful for Virgin Media and is innovative. Innovative, live and now. In the first eight days one and a half million people typed their postcode into the website. This is a phenomenal result generated from a fun and appropriate form of advertising. The talent sponsorship in this example was beneficial for the company.

Jeff confidently announced Virgin Media’s sponsorship of Britain’s Got Talent in “the year of Britain”. The sponsorship will give stature to Virgin whilst also creating feelings of pride for customers, and also employees. Exclusively at Virgin Media, employees are seen as the first advocates. Therefore they are given special privileges, such as audience tickets for Britain’s Got Talent and a concert is provided with the finalists for staff. These experiences then promote conversations and encourage advocacy. This is a unique outlook which other companies should appreciate and possibly replicate, where appropriate.

Jeff’s talk was engaging, dynamic and informative; leaving most listeners wondering why on earth they were not currently working for Virgin Media; a forward thinking and innovative, strategic company.

A half an hour question and answer allowed audience members to quiz the panel; joined also by Dr Yue Meng. Questions were also submitted via the Twitter hashtag #CIM12. The final question left marketing hopefuls on a prosperous, high note. Sponsorship is a brilliant, explorative avenue offering companies “better things” structured by “engagement” in an “instant” fast paced world. The panel all agreed that there are many areas that remain untapped, such as the arts, which could potentially suit and benefit some companies. Jeff Dodds left the room tingling with enthusiasm and expert knowledge, sponsorship is not worried about saturation, but “attribution, this is the most difficult aspect.”

In reflection, we should all walk away, pause our TIVO and ponder, WWRD?

Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!

The ‘classic Disney’ Pantomime, Cinderella, is now showing at the Pavilion in Bournemouth until 2nd January 2011.

Singing. Laughter. Dancing. Sweets. Shrieking children and ice cream tubs. The majority of the population love this time of year, the ‘Panto season’.

The illuminating lights of hearts and disco balls create a warm and happy atmosphere inside the theatre. Michael Buble plays effortlessly in the background soothing the audience.

The two-hour long story tells the well-known story of Cinderella searching for her Prince Charming and along the way facing her evil step sisters and not so helpful, weak father. Her good friend Buttons offers help and assist along the way but repeatedly expresses his love for her in a cringe worthy manner. With a magical fairy godmother Cinderella’s dreams are made possible. Yet watching the performance I ask, have pantomimes changed?

The classic storyline remains the same but noticeable rude puns and jokes stole the show. Brilliant innuendoes made the show adult friendly. “It is a good night out for me as I can laugh along whilst the children follow the story of Cinders. I can enjoy a beverage or two at half time”.

The stars of the show contributed to the geographical based jokes (about Bournemouth) and cultural references: Chris Jarvis, CBeebies present, Amanda Barrie, from Coronation Street and Bad Girls, Tom Owen from Last of the Summer wine and Byron Mondahl, actor. They delivered one liners to perfection.

Bournemouth was described as a cemetery with traffic lights. The triangle was the place to find ‘fairies’. The town council were described as ‘wax works’. Town orientated humour worked effectively eliciting continuous laughter from the audience. The economic crisis was even mentioned in passing, “we can’t move as the house prices may go up” said the father to one of the step sisters. With good use of stage props (an Ann Widdecombe blow up doll), backdrops and outstanding costumes the audience was always entertained.

After a fun-filled show I braved the temperature outside and shivered eagerly waiting for the stars at the ‘backstage door’.

Byron Mondahl expressed his love for pantomime. “It has been amazing playing an ugly sister, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. We only had a week and a half to rehearse and then one week technical rehearsals.” Mondahl’s eyes glisten and he exhales a gentle sigh. “It has been so lovely and being here in Bournemouth. I have managed to see snow over the sea and sunshine over the sea. The celebrities in the pantomime are so down to earth and supportive. They have many stories from a long time ago and we just don’t get that anymore. It’s been a great pleasure… It has gone so fast. One moment your on stage performing then in a ‘hair’s breath’ we have to change and then run back on stage.” Mondahl leaves in a yellow taxi.

Chris Jarvis, originally from Bournemouth was the last to leave. “Very privileged job, y’know because we get to do a little bit of everything, work with amazing people and every year it is always different.” I concur. “Get to work with some amazing people, and not just big stars but people who are setting out, so much to give…energy. You learn from the pros and learn from the people who are full of life and setting out.” His genuine, warm voice was a comfort to standing on the Pavilion steps in the chilling night air.

Listen to the full interview between Chris Jarvis and myself on AudioBoo.

Overall, the pantomime was fun and uplifting. One parent said, “I love the fact it regresses adults back into big kids. It brings a family together as well”.

The only thing I think has changed about the pantomime is the price. It was a nicer price when I was under the age of twelve years old. The pantomime is a truly enjoyable and magical experience, and is definitely a fun night out for friends, families or couples. Book tickets to Cinderella.

Local radio is not dead proves Sean Street

December 9, 2010 1 comment

Last night the Barnes lecture theatre, Bournemouth University was heaving with people. Two highly recognisable figures in radio greeted the audience: Professor Sean Street and Richard Cartridge. The two legendary icons were presenting The Radio Academy South Branch Nations and Regions Award. The title being awarded was the best station within the region with a Total Survey Area (TSA) of under 300,000.

At quarter past six the room was buzzing with excitement and atmosphere. An audience of media students, budding radio students, lecturers and the five radio stations entered for the award: Newbury Sound, Forest FM, Isle of Wight Radio, Spire FM and Express FM waited in anticipation.

Pro. Sean Street. Photography by: http://imakeyourday.co.uk/

Street opened the evening with a touching reflection on his career. Transporting the audience back to the time when BBC Solent began in 1970 a sense of time and achievement was established. The awards “Celebrate what local radio can do” exclaims Street in a joyous manner before receiving a grateful round of applause from the audience.

 

Street welcomed Cartridge to the hot seat and the room could feel the presence of two important and memorable radio icons. Cartridge disclosed about his history in radio “I applied for a station assistant….’dog’s body role’…” and exclaimed how he felt he had ‘messed’ up the interview but little to his surprise he received a telegram a week later offering him the position. He described the job as “a wonderful, creative environment” and conveyed his passion and love for local radio providing listeners with what they desired. He acknowledged that radio has advanced and due to technology radio as we once knew it has changed, although the “spirit of local radio still exists”.

Professor Sean Street and Richard Cartridge. Photography by: http://imakeyourday.co.uk/

The audience listened to a fluent, gentle conversation between the harmonious pair. Cartridge revealed how at one time every local radio had to use puns and titles; his was “home straight.” This evoked a raucous of laughter from the audience.

Cartridge and Street both acknowledged how revealing radio is, “Radio is a good lie detector.” They offered advice, “Think of your best friend and pretend you’re broadcasting to them” Cartridge recognised that one of the key qualities of radio presenting is sincerity. Very true.

Advances in technology inspired many of the probing questions of the night. Both men agreed that the internet had significantly changed local radio but it also meant that people could listen to their ‘local’ (home) radio when thousands of miles away.

Winners - IOW Radio. Photography by: http://imakeyourday.co.uk/

 

After a thought-provoking and memorable conversation Street presented the award to the IOW radio (Isle of Wight). The representatives collected the award and had photographs taken with Richard Cartridge. The IOW were extremely grateful for the award and highlighted the radio as an integral part of the island and since becoming independent a year ago they have managed to rekindle the spirit of local radio. The IOW are now automatically entered for The Sony Radio Academy Awards.

Refreshments were provided afterwards and the mingling of media people began. I interviewed one of the IOW presenters, Tom Stroud, on his thoughts about the award and life as a presenter, “Getting the award was great. It is a reward for doing what stations should do…I started radio when I was nineteen or twenty and I will always remember advice from Simon Mayo about being old enough for radio about twenty-six as by then you have had life experience: a mortgage, girlfriends, a family, a car…” Radio students enjoyed the event immensely, Michael King, “It’s nice to hear two well-known radio figures reminisce about their lives in the seventies and eighties. It gives us the chance to get to know them and I have taken onboard advice given tonight.”

The evening reminded everyone that local radio really is the heart of a community and listening to two people with such passion, history and experience of radio encourages others to go forth and strive for whatever career they may love. In my case. Journalism.

Bournemouth welcomes snow

December 2, 2010 3 comments

The white blanket has finally reached the South in the UK. Reports, interviews and images from the BBC this week have documented how the cold weather has affected people commuting to work via public transport, flights bring delayed/cancelled, schools closing and even baboons have suffered a terrible ordeal!

However, as a student it will not interrupt my studies, routine or travel. I will embrace the weather shift. Although at 12.30am this morning (2nd December 2010) it has interrupted my sleep pattern. The picturesque snow in Bournemouth:

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See my flickr account for more pictures.

The real question tingling on everyone’s lips is, how is the snow affecting your week? The Marmite question. Do you love it or hate it?

The MeteoGroup predict a cold week ahead in Bournemouth. So wrap up warm with layered clothing, appropriate shoes and the essential hat, scarf and gloves, leather gloves are especially good at protecting your hands in this cold weather.

Bournemouth goes 3D

Over five days, 15th -19th November, Bournemouth University and AUCB will host a range of presentations, demonstrations, screenings, workshops and debates about the world of 3D – Bournemouth 3D week.

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