Bankswood Inspire Festival

29 August
Bankswood Park, Hadfield

If you go down to the woods today – well, Bankswood Park in Hadfield on the last Saturday in August – you will find a ruck of bands and artists playing to a backdrop of rolling hills and untouched countryside.

The downside is that you could see the dark clouds floating in, but the rain stayed away. Shelter from the rain was sparse, with only the beer tent offering cover. There have been worse places to seek cover.

The event is not trying to compete with the larger, more prestigious events pitching big-named headliners, but is instead more focused on the community. The event is relatively low cost, giving experience in a live setting to local people who are training to be sound engineers.

Similarly, the musical line-up wasn't littered with a host of recognisable names, but did include Tapestry (Sat), who are one of the hardest gigging Manchester (well, Tameside) outfits, along with Rubber Bear (Sun), a duo of Tom Chapman (New Order) and Steve Trafford (ex The Fall).

On Saturday, Barron opened proceedings on the main stage, demonstrating their studiously created big music. Moving between keyboards and guitars, Aaron Barron led the team through a series of tinkling piano segments interspersed with crashing, dramatic numbers.

Over at the acoustic tent, a series of performers, including Maybe Frank, Sam Lyon and Rebecca Cullen, kept listeners in a relaxed mood. Afrotree even managed to get people up and dancing along to his tunes.

The timings are such that after The Larkins have blasted out the last of their frantic set by around 7pm, there's plenty of time to catch a few more bands at the end of a short train journey back to Manchester.

Ged Camera

Purple Heart Parade

12 September
Manchester Food & Drink Festival, Albert Pavilion

The temporary stage at Albert Square was under the Manchester Food and Drink Festival umbrella, who took the opportunity to book and promote plenty of musicians and bands in the pavilion tent during the event, one of which was Purple Heart Parade.

Not being listed on the website or even the notice board outside meant that, apart from the small number of those in the know (not me), who were grouped, appropriately for a food and drink event, around the bar, it was a crowd mainly here-for-the-beer (me) that stumbled across the four-piece.

An afternoon when the sun shone brightly and illuminated the canvas tent may not necessarily be the best time to indulge in psychedelic aural experiences, but that wasn't going to be something to prevent the band from delivering a fine set. Vocalist Pete Cowap stalked across the stage, occasionally pausing at the microphone stand to wrap his thin, wiry frame around it and utter his echo-laden vocals.

Seated behind him, Keith pummelled the skins, generating the sturdiness of metronomic base to allow guitarist Mike Bee to create woozy, enticing effects, whilst Colm Feeley coolly relayed the essential bass lines.

By the time their set was over, Purple Heart Parade had made a few new friends.

Ged Camera

All photos by Ged Camera.