Small and yes...perfectly formed, Potato Pants festival 2017 beautifully illustrates the power of a great community event
In only its second year, potato pants has shown what a great community effort can do when it sets its mind to it.
The brainchild of organiser Ian Bennett, PP is designed as a way of giving the finger to HSP or Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia as we doctors know it.
So why Potato Pants? Well Ian describes the effect of HSP as like running with a sack of potatoes down the legs of your trousers(more to come on that one).
So why put on Potato Pants? Mainly to raise money for the support group but also I suspect to show that just because you have this awful condition doesn't mean that you stop living.
It was Ian's love of live music that gave him the idea of a festival and the lovely people at High Mead Farm that gave him the space to do so. You should check them out here too http://www.highmeadfarm.org.uk/
Anyway Ian gathered together a bunch of bands he likes ( he has impeccable music taste) and invited them over to High Mead to play for the locals, and what a day it was.
The first thing to note is how friendly it was. manned by volunteers drawn from family and friends the whole day was simply a celebration.
First music for the day was provided by the lovely Emma Jane Toop getting us off in great style.
The music acts were punctuated by compere Matt Black in his usual inimitable style and by the Potato Pants races, where competitors wear specially adapted trousers filled with potatoes and run a short course against each other and the clock. Evidence can be seen in the gallery.
There are a number of larger festivals that could perhaps take a leaf out of PPs book. They had provided some excellent local craft beer and cider and the food was both reasonably priced and exceptionally good. (big up the burgers).
Mention needs to be made of Mikey Ball here who on a night at the now deceased Winchester persuaded me to sponsor the toilets using the strapline 'because shit happens'.
It certainly does, as we were about to find out when Mikey and his band got on stage.
Sorry I couldn't resist that one.
Actually Mikey and his band were a particular highlight. He's an engaging character and certainly had the audience tuned in to an excellent set played with energy and enthusiasm and not a small amount of skill.
Another highlight had to be locals One Word.
They've been through both name and line up change since I saw them last and they without doubt win an award for the most improved band this year.
Confident, technically accomplished and looking like they are having the most fun in the tent, these chaps have bloomed into what is starting to look like an exceptional band. I'm looking forward to hearing some of their original stuff as I think there's much more to come there and they are without doubt ones to watch.
What can we say about Matt Black that won't get us arrested?
Matt, despite being an excellent piano player is also Mr Personality and every bit as funny as he thinks he is.
His 'Titanic' had the audience in stitches and much of his stuff wouldn't work if it weren't for the fact that he can back it up with some awesome keys.
Finally we come to Black Water County.
If you read the comments on One Word then a few short years ago they could be applied to BWC.
What the County have turned into is one of the areas best bands and certainly a must have for any festival that wants its punters to have a great time.
Sadly once again playing without the lovely Shan who is off getting herself educated and with dep drummer Josh, the guys lit the blue touchpaper but didn't retire to a safe distance.
It's impressive to experience the quality of their music and even moreso the stagecraft they have honed through sheer hard work and effort.
Without a doubt the highlight of the day for me and a fitting way to end a superb local festival.
Thanks have to go to Ian,all of the volunteers and sponsors and of course to the attendees who entered into the spirit of a wonderful day.
Did I mention there were Alpacas? Alpacas!
Next year get your tickets early!
The Bands linky link links
The most important one - HSP Just Giving page - https://www.justgiving.com/HSPGroup
High Mead Farm - http://www.highmeadfarm.org.uk/
Black Water County -http://www.blackwatercounty.co.uk
Matt Black - http://www.matt-black.org
One Word - http://www.onewordband.co.uk/
Mikey Ball https://www.facebook.com/mikey.ball2
Emma-Jane Toop - https://soundcloud.com/emma-jane-toop
The Distractors - https://www.facebook.com/pg/thedistractors