Photos from the opening night of the Northern Roots Festival 2014 at The One Touch Theatre – Eden Court. 30.5.14.

Enormous credit has to go to Bruce MacGregor in taking the decision to move this festival from Bogbain Farm (a very fine venue) to the One Touch Theatre at Eden Court (another very fine venue). Those acquainted with the farm were made to feel right at home with some very familiar faces on what was a seriously good set.

All of the artists were seated on stage throughout (comfy chairs and sofas!) and while the photos here feature The Dirty Beggars, Blue Rose Code, Will Pound and Bella Hardy, there were regular collaborations and improvisations with almost everyone on stage at the end for an impromptu performance of John Martyn’s classic Don’t Want to Know led by Ross Wilson.

In between times there was a well conceived series of interviews between the host Bruce and some of the artists. In all, it was a very clever arrangement that ensured continuity with previous Northern Roots festivals and, crucially, the intimacy and connection between performers and audience. Round of applause please!

Bella Hardy 8 530x353 - Your roots are showing . . .
One of the many aforementioned collaborations of the night saw Bella Hardy being joined by former tour mate Blue Rose Code aka Ross Wilson
Blue Rose Code 23 530x353 - Your roots are showing . . .
Time Out , in a previous review, described Blue Rose Code by asking to “Imagine John Martyn meeting a young Van Morrison and being shipwrecked with bundle of Chet Baker records”
Emma Sweeney1 530x530 - Your roots are showing . . .
Manchester-based Irish fiddler Emma Sweeney
The Dirty Beggars 7 530x297 - Your roots are showing . . .
“On stage at @NR_Festival w/ that @bellahardy watching the AMAZING @TheDirtyBeggars You need them in your life.” via Blue Rose Code’s Twitter at the performance
Will Pound 530x353 - Your roots are showing . . .
f BBC Double Award nominee professional harmonica player Will Pound.
Northern Roots 2 530x353 - Your roots are showing . . .
Collaborations, improvisation, interviews and no lack of quirkiness were evident throughout the night.

Review of the evening to follow.

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Life-long engagement with music and a truly eclectic taste (although prog-rock and metal will usually have me scrambling for the off button). If pushed, I would have to say the Velvet Underground are one of the most important band’s of all time. Although I consider myself first and foremost a photographer, as regards reviewing I guess I cut my teeth in the vibrant fanzine scene of the 80’s. Around the same time I started taking photographs and, to be brief, performance and photography were made for each other: perfect match.