The 8th of July 2022 had arrived, and Pandafest was back with a vengeance. This year yielded some real diversity. From rock to rockabilly, skiffle to ska, and dub to club. Topped off with a sweet slice of trippy prog-rock, this bash certainly lived up to its promise of good music and good vibes. Two stages together with stalls, Rewind Radio satellite tent, burger bus and bar, all blessed with glorious sunshine...what could be better?
How about an opportunity to make music of your own?
Polyrhythm had this covered. Bodmin’s innovative music library had set up camp with their marquee in pole position near the main-stage with a truckload of guitars, amps, keyboards, drums, ukuleles and open mic-stands. More musical instruments than you could shake a stick at. Practically a replica of their HQ in Bodmin, transported here and staffed by our handful of enthusiastic local musicians. In-between the stage acts the Polyrhythm crew took up the baton... took up instruments and played short medleys of popular songs to festival goers milling around the side attractions, generating interest.
A teenager still buzzing from her dance troupe performance decided she wasn’t yet done. In she came and took up a microphone. Garry cued the track, and the youngster delighted the gathering as she sang her solo. As more onlookers dropped by, it wasn’t long before I was being asked why all these musical instruments were on parade. “Are you a shop? Only nothing is priced”. “Not quite, we’re a music library- instead of books we loan out musical instruments for free. We do have premises in Bodmin town, what you see here is our shop window”. “That right? What a good idea, I’ve not heard of anything like that before” “Yeah we’re pretty unique, fancy a go on anything?” “Well once upon a long ago I played bass guitar, it’ll be caked in dust by now, and heaven knows what became of my old amp”. “We can easily fix you up with one, just have a peek at our website and take your pick, then come down to the shop and get sorted.” Moments later he’d selected a bass from the rack, and was plunking away. I accompanied him on guitar and he was soon grinning from ear to ear, then his lad took over. I showed him some basic moves which he soon got the hang of, and was playing away happily before his proud Dad. Before long our tent had slowly filled with youngsters, exploring the array of instruments on display. Polyrhythm was getting into swing, and all the crew had their hands full guiding these musicians of tomorrow. We nicknamed one young fellow “Duracell” because he played the bongos nearly all afternoon without pause, obviously having fun. Good job the main drum kit was wired up with headphones...
Day two at Pandafest, and the sun still had his hat on.
Me too. Today I had prepared for the heat. Clad in whacky shorts, turquoise T-shirt and bushwhacker’s hat; I cut a figure like an Australians nightmare. Hopefully I could blend in with the revellers. Fat chance of that happening, as I don’t have a single tattoo.
Unlike the weather, activity around our tent was a bit of a slow burner this morning. No matter as it gave our crew an opportunity to jam amongst ourselves for a while, and get some music going on. This would do the trick.
Soon enough, we were again handing out instruments to curious festival goers as they took our lead and enjoyed the musical mayhem. Today proved to be far busier, but what the hell...it was great fun to be part of this magical atmosphere. I was really impressed by the number of children enthusiastically tinkling the keyboards, taking up microphones and singing without any inhibition at all. They all continued even despite being drowned out by the thudding of the band performing onstage. I can only assume that they too are blessed with the selective hearing that until now I thought that only we husbands employed.
What a weekend! Sun, music and fun.
Only music can enter the ears and emanate your whole being. This is the mission of Polyrhythm. Unlock your hidden talent and make music, it doesn’t matter how. We are here to help make this a reality.
Big thank you to all those who made this fab weekend possible.
See you next year.
PolyRhythm was lucky enough to have been asked to help support the community and cultural events in St Austell Town centre this year, Tresorys.
Tresorys Kernow (Cornish Treasures) is a pilot project to breathe new life into towns and villages, with culture and heritage bringing some joy in the context of Covid recovery and climate adaptation. This project was fully funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund with Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) and Creative Kernow shared out through Cornwall Council, to bolster and regenerate towns and villages and we were proud to be part of it.
A big part of PolyRhythm is to bring people together, to support our community and our High Streets so this was right up our street, so to say. We also have a desire to do more in St Austell and this could be a great way for us to start this going.
Working with the famous Shelia Vanloo who made it all work so well and brought so much energy to the town, it opened our eyes as to what could be in the future. If this was a pilot project then we want to be part of the larger project, we want to return and we came away with the demands from the community to return.
Colin Stuckey who came into Town to join in for the day has taken time to write a little on his experience of the day.
Sat 18. June
What a day... I felt privileged to be invited along to join in as part of this exciting happening. Polyrhythm were booked to create a pop up event at the old Eden Cafe St.Austell, and replicate the Bodmin HQ with a comprehensive range of musical instrument stock to pick up and play, then to play a live performance in the square outside as part of the ongoing Tresorys events.
Old Eden Cafe was chokka, everything from a child-size guitar to a full blown slide trombone (sorry about the pun), and a myriad of other instruments all handsomely laid out on display for everyone to pick up and have a go.
Very soon there was a lively scene inside with people milling around and a mild cacophony of sound as visitors tried out this and that. Amid this good atmosphere, I hastily tuned up my guitar, eager to play and support our jolly little band. Soon enough we had the word to decamp and move outside. This I was looking forward to...What could be better than playing the universal language of music with a group of friends under the warm sun? We all spilled outside, and Freddie was ready with his camera to capture it all.
Collette and Helen’s vocal harmonies were ringing out splendidly with Paul adding his baritone, then his cool rendition of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found”. Backing them were myself and Alex on lead and rhythm guitars, Sam slapping on bass, and Tom’s steady beat on the drums. Beside me Paul2 beat out a tireless tattoo on bongos. All under the watchful eye of Garry as he managed the sound on the solar powered PA system responsible for energising our mics and guitars, and then later sharing bass guitar duties.
As the good people of St.Austell gathered, many gave up a moment of their day to join the fun by shaking tambourines and maracas as their children hesitantly inched further towards the pyramid of junior guitars. Garry was on hand again to pass them out, and then replenish from the seemingly unlimited collection from indoors.
We were joined by musicians known to the others who dropped by, I especially enjoyed playing along with a chap in a rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “hey Joe” and “Little Wing” with Collette earlier before. Paul, Helen and Collette took turns leading the songs, and our audience of shoppers sat a while to listen and shake or rattle anything percussive on display. Everybody appeared to be enjoying themselves as much as we were. When Sam left his post to help load up near the end of time, a chap from the audience filled in for him and played a blinder. That’s what Polyrhythm is all about. Come in, join in, and have fun.