Building Festive Childhood Memories at the Hereford River Carnival 2016

Hereford River Carnival 2016

As a child growing up in Pasadena, California I attended the annual Rose Parade New Year’s Day celebrations without falter.  It began as a child and carried on until my later years when I was able to camp out on the street during New Year’s Eve so that I could have the best view of the parade in the morning, and party like a rock star all night long whilst nearly freezing during my mere 2 hours of sleep. Nonetheless, I was able to watch the parade in all its majestic glory, even if it was with one eye open and one eye shut. People generally wake up in a tent full of friends they don’t recognise, yet partied with the night before…it is just how it is. I have never forgotten this grand event that as a Pasadena native I am extremely proud of and support any time I am there.

The tradition carries on with my oldest daughter, and so and so forth. Here’s to hoping that Hereford adapts this same enthusiasm for our unique local carnival that kicks off the Wye Valley River Festival and is buzzing with entertainment for our children and adults alike. Certainly a family affair in a gem of a location. There are puppet foot processions, float competitions on the river that people genuinely pour their heart and souls into to create, a children’s carnival section, lots of live music, stalls selling food and crafts…and the usual Carnival festivities.

I took my daughter along and asked her what she thought. Here is what she said:

“I enjoyed it…it was fun, I would like to go again.  The Fun house was my favourite and the floats were my second favourite. I would like to be a cheerleader in the parade next year”

And there you have it.  As simple and straightforward as they come.



There were two live music stages being hosted by the Music Pool Charity and The Underground Revolution in the beautiful river view courtyard between the Dutch-inspired De Koffie Pot and The Left Bank Venue which was holding another Hereford Rocks featuring Deborah Bonham, and had a surprise visit by Robert Plant.  Here we capture some of the acoustic acts which included Tobion, Mark Stevenson, Shannon Walker, Kaptive 8, The Boondogz, DJ ‘Jus Jay, Nick Davis and Robin Shaw.

Evening of Poetry & Music United Hereford and Ledbury Musicians in aid of mind charity

pOxymorn, Mark Stevenson, Claire Perkins
The Royal British Legion, Ledbury 8pm Saturday 23rd January 2016

I had a choice of gigs tonight, either a trip to Ledbury into the unknown or a trip to the Boars Head in Kidderminster, a great Punk venue to see Vomit and Rotunda, – “the known” (to me anyway).

“The whole set was like being in a Frank Zappa inspired, 50’s New Orleans Speakeasy joint on the set of an old French Arthouse film, with a bit of Crass mixed in for good measure. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.” -Rich Lovell

I took the leap into the unknown…Ledbury because, well why not really. As I walked in just 10 minutes after the start time, I was greeted by the sight of Jim Dening reciting some focused, but angry poetry – whilst pOxymoron played – a bit jazz, a bit 50s US rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. So the headliners are on first? Well, yes, and last.

Just from the back end of the piece I arrived to, David Cameron doesn’t have a fan in Jim Dening – it was some rant. I found my seat just as they finished their first set and settled down to my drink as Claire Perkins tuned up.


Musician Perk, Hereford

I have to admit – I have seen Claire play a few times now, but I still can’t say I am overly familiar with her material, mainly because she writes so much, that it’s not often you hear the same song more than twice. Sure there were a few sound problems, but Claire just shrugged and got on with it, playing through ‘Carrion Crow’, ‘Lean into It and Shut Up’ and ‘Avenue’Her style is to strum her acoustic guitar while she expresses her thoughts, her voice is a bit Alanis Morisette in places but very natural. Knowing what an energetic, enthusiastic character Claire is, it’s great to watch her control and channel her energy through her material – contrast it to her manic performances as singer for Metal groovers A Hundred Suns. Nice one Claire.


Mark Stevenson, british legion ledbury, mind charity gig

A quick turn around and Mark Stevenson took his place at the mic.  Traditional folk doesn’t really do much for me, I like lyrics that are relevant to me today, whereas most trad folk is based around life from a few centuries ago. That said, however, this genre always attracts talented musicians, and Mark is very talented. Going through a set of his poetry, own compositions and some old faor like ‘Copper Kettle’ playing with what we decided looked like a Bodrum, a flute and variations of other woodwind instruments, I was drawn in and accepted that maybe, just maybe, traditional folk is as much about the music and musicianship than the meaning of the lyrics. I’ll certainly not shy away from seeing Mark Stevenson perform again – was that me admitting I can be wrong? Blimey…..


pOxymoron play British Legion Charity Gig in Ledbury

The night was finished off with another set from pOxymoron. A fascinating band, they play along to spoken poetry, political & social comment, and as I said earlier, the jazzy, rock n roll  very bare sound just added to the experience. No drums, just two guitarists (Nick Alexander and Mike Ruddick), a bassist and a keyboard/ accordion player. Jim Denny and Nick Alexander took turns as the frontman with their commentary. All this whilst images, photos, were projected on the wall next to the stage area adding some interpretation (and to a bear of little brain like me) and sometimes not, well not that I could work out anyway.

The whole set was like being in a Frank Zappa inspired, 50’s New Orleans Speakeasy joint on the set of an old French Arthouse film, with a bit of Crass mixed in for good measure. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

So the “Unknown” of Ledbury was the right choice in the end, although I did sneak a bit of Angelic Upstarts on the player on the drive back to Hereford – old Punks eh?
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY RICH LOVELL, Music Director/Reviewer – Hereford City Centric & The Underground Revolution, Frontman – Punk Band Terminal Rage