Another sunny day. In fact I'm probably sunburnt as I didn't think to take a hat or put on suntan stuff.
Some trouble getting a taxi, I just couldn't get through to the big local firm, so in the end I rolled down to the station, just in time to see the last taxi pulling out of the rank. Fortunately I only had to wait about 10 minutes, even with about eight people in front of me. That meant that by the time I'd gotten into the Castle Gardens at 12:30ish I'd missed the first half of my favourite band of festival regulars, Hot Rats, but at least I caught half their set. The incomporable Ian Cutler on violin, with Doug Hudson on guitar and vocals, they've a new bass player this year, Scott Kirk, who actually does facial expressions (the old one wasn't at all bad, but he just stood stock still, expressionless, and played).
My friends had already arrived and found a table on the grass almost dead centre in front of the stage, and fortunately one is notably tall, so I found them straight away. Good to catch up with everyone, particularly the friend who is about 5 weeks post bone marrow transplant and is looking okay, even if not at his best.
Following on from Hot Rats we had Sur Les Docks, a French band from Dunkirk with a pirate motif picked up from the Dunkirkers. Mandolin, whistle, violin, accordion, guitar, bass, drums. They're often over for the Festival, but this is the first time I've caught them, really good. They describe themselves as 'Maritime Raw Folk Punk', which is just about right, imagine the Pogues doing sea shanties in French.The whistle player retired to the back of the stage for a smoke during other people's solos, which struck me as very French. Their lead singer/mandolin player was very hoarse, apparently they had a really good time last night at the Gordon, where I'd been earlier in the day - it gave his voice a little bit of a Piaf Je Ne Regrette Rien edge. I bought their current CD (I actually was waving the seller over because she's normally the one selling Hot Rats CDs, but I was happy to buy Sur Les Dock by that point).
I didn't catch the name of the fourth act, but the description was Anglo-Swedish, folk rock, with a Swedish woman on lead vocals and guitar, a backing vocalist/guitarist who played sitting down while she bounced about the stage, and a dreadlocked bass player who never strayed from the back of the stage. I'd quite happily have stayed and listened to more of their set, but it was down to me at that point and I needed the loo, so I rolled down to the High Street to grab something to eat - chicken noodles from the Singapora, then grabbed a taxi and was home by about half past five.
Sweeps continues tomorrow with the big procession, I normally head over to catch Hot Rats playing the Gordon, but the festival pretty much wraps up after the procession at 3PM and Bank Holiday taxi fares are extortionate, so I'l probably pass.
Just back from the first day of Rochester's Sweep's Festival, and first time I've done it in a chair (I opted out last year as I was three days post surgery). The crowds were surprisingly good about getting out of the way of the chair - once they'd noticed me! Of course it was Rochester, so cobbles everywhere, and my back is letting me know it isn't happy with me.
Slight shortage of the usual suspects, bumped into my friend Ray in the beer tent at the Gordon Hotel, but that was it for today, when we've had as many as a dozen in the group in the past, though we had a pleasant chat with a couple of the bell ringing crowd he knew. Should be more people out tomorrow hopefully. Caught the end of Green Diesel's set in the Gordon as I arrived, female fiddler/vocalist backed by four guys on guitar, ukelele etc, then went up to the Castle Gardens to see most of their second set. 'Most' as by the time we'd queued for the cash machine (all three machines at Asda had been flat out of cash when I tried earlier), then I'd pushed most of the way around the castle to get to the accessible gate, they'd already started. Worth a listen.
Somewhat annoyed that Medway have done their usual thing and shut down the disabled parking by the Castle to put stalls on, though not to the point of not buying a pasty from one...
And the weather held, which after Tuesday's hail showers is an relief. It did go ominously grey at five o'clock as the afternoon session was winding down, but now it's back to sunny again. We've done the evening session as well in the past, but that needs a reasonable number of you, so I headed across to the station to grab a taxi home - the new station is much more convenient for that than the old one, though I'm now forced to pay for taxis both ways, when in the past I'd have walked at least one way.