Hi all been a while since I posted but life is busy at present in a totally good way.
This will be a bit of a long post but really want to record this to look back on it in the future, A wise man has told me many times to do this and rightly so.
SummerHouse 2018 was our second one day festival and was a big change for us as we decided to move away from the Plough venue and on to a farm. This meant putting in the entire infastructure ourselves. We knew it would be a big undertaking especially as we had no real experience of this. It was a learning curve to say the least. Almost a year of planning, dealing with licences, vendors, staging, sound, lighting, security, environmental health, council, police etc. We needed a large amount of staff and at this point I would like to say a huge thank you to all those they gave us the time and work without you all this event would not have been able to happen.
For those interested heres a lowdown of the few days leading up to the event.
Wednesday: Sarah and Jamie arrived on site and began the organising the infrastructure.
Thursday: Marquee and bar etc start to arrive and set up begins (By the time I arrive bar and marquee are already up!) It was a bit nervy for me as it rained most of the day and as I sat at my desk at work my thoughts did not leave the guys setting up.
Friday: Sound system, lighting, seating and decor begins, This was a big day that involved dozens of people. The Disco Dome arrives and goes up, all the wonderful wooden cut outs and beach stage where built and painted by hand on site as well as shifting tonnes of sand for the beach, moving 40 or so large hay bales for seating by hand. Signage for road safety, car parks entry etc all go up. Due to the road being small and a 60 mile an hour limit we had to be very careful on entry points, safety first! Fencing, bins, tables, toilets and much more go up. Many of us where onsite into the early hours.
Saturday: The big day, Myself and Sarah arrive onsite around 5:30am. Still so much to do! but its shaping up and things are starting to look really good. So nice to see a vision take shape. Lots of minor hiccups that I won’t go into detail on but the team took it all in there stride. Stewards and security arrive and have a briefing meeting so all know whats required and who should be doing what. Around 10:30 the first campers start to arrive. 12 o’clock after a shattering 6 hours or so we open the main gate and much to my surprise people are already arriving. Are we ready? Still a few bits going on but the majority is ready and we feel good.
The main event: Things start nicely, everyone has a job to do and I can start a walk about saying hello to friends and new arrivals. Its so rewarding to see people faces as they take in the environment, anyone that has ever run an event like this will know exactly what I mean. So many people commented that I looked like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, I have never been much of a smiler and was absolutely shattered by this point but as I said many times on the day I was extremely happy but at the same time so tired and on the go constantly sorting out dozens of minor incidents it was hard to totally relax. Let me assure you I would do this all again in a heartbeat to see your smiling faces makes it all worth while. The day progressed nicely and overall no major incidents at all, We can definitely make improvements to the event and will be discussing this with the team. The event continued to get busier and the atmosphere was really good. Around 4pm the sun finally broke through and the entire place seemed to instantly lift. The main stage started to get really busy and as Brian Power’s set got into full flow the area filled up. It was clear people where enjoying his set. I followed up after Brian but 10 minutes in started to shake. It dawned on me that I had not eaten or had any water since early morning, school boy error the day just ran away with me and I felt faint. Still I played on and switched up the music from house to funk and soul. I simply had to play a couple of Aretha Franklin songs. 7pm and time for our headline DJ Melvo Baptiste. He cranked up the volume and instantly drew a large crowd in, 2 hours of great music and as planed the sun set mid set. The lighting we had put in came to life. This was actually a magical moment and transformed the event to another level. It was clear everyone loved Melvo’s set and the place was electric. Next up was Chris Brown, for those that are not local Chris has been playing quality black music in Cambridge for 43 years and has played at pretty much every major local event in that time as well as many others across the country. It seemed fitting to celebrate that so I said a few words on the microphone as I introduced him. It was clear how well loved he is and continued to supply a great set. Into the last hour CJ Cooper one of our Brighter Days residents played a great finishing set and the crowd lapped it up. So glad that all the sets are recorded (They are being uploaded to the Brighter Days Mixcloud page as I write this)
I have focused on the main stage but its also important to mention the Disco Dome and Stomp Radio beach stage. I did not get a chance to spend much time at either of these for a host of reasons but every time I did drop by the atmosphere was great and provided a good alternative to the main stage. At this point let me thank all those that played and helped with these stages, a job well done and absolutely added to the event. Please big up yourselves!
At this point I will say a MASSIVE thank you to all that came. Overall the event went well with virtually no trouble. As we have seen many time at events with that amount of people and alcohol consumed things can sometimes quickly escalate. It testament to YOU that the event was trouble free. The feedback has been nothing short of incredible, a constant stream of texts, messages, facebook posts and calls have been over whelming. The smiling happy faces on the day and the feedback after makes it all totally worth while. So much so we have already announced the date to do it all again next year. So please mark August 17th 2019 in your diary.
Its funny when I think of the first time I met Sarah Day 2 years ago and played at a small bar with an awful sound system, We instantly hit it off and started to talk about Brighter Days and what potential she had to do more, I won’t lie when I say it nearly on stopped at points but with some persuasion she has continued and definitely flourished! She has that certain vision and eye for detail as well as a knack for engaging with people. The last 2 years have seen her take an amazing journey and am proud to be a part of it all, Sarah look at what we have done! I cannot say enough as to how proud I am of you and what you have achieved. I am honoured to call you and Jamie friends.
Forgive me if I have missed details or not mentioned you by name, Im still tired and honestly shell shocked. I will be speaking too you all personally soon.
I could make this post 10 times longer and go into a huge amount of detail in what went well and what didn’t but am aware it would get boring.