I admit that I often have the feeling of being in a rather fortunate position. What I will add, for those reading this that don't know me, is that the moments that make me feel this way are nearly always events or gestures that are culminations of years of friendship, support and mutual respect. And, off the back of this weekends Port Eliot Festival, I come away feeling very fortunate indeed.
If you haven't had the pleasure of attending Port Eliot before, then it is quite simply the most gentrified and pleasant weekend one could wish for, set amongst beautifully manicured grounds in the most idyllic part of East Cornwall. Everyone is very nice and very pretty, and that is in no way a problem. It is a weekend for all the family, and the kids love it just as much as the grown ups. The food is great and you can drink lovely beer, cocktails, champagne, and so on - it's easily summed up as being rather lovely.
So the scene is set, and to add to that: the weather was fantastic everyday. Great.
But, this was not a post to make any non-attenders jealous, the main focus of this post is on the great people and contributors behind Hole & Corner magazine, and more specifically the hugely successful tent that they programmed, managed and expertly delivered at Port Eliot 2015.
The main man, my brother Sam Walton and his brilliant H&C comrades Nick Watts and Julia Jarvis (unfortunately Mark Hooper was out of the country) did such a great job and i'm so pleased for all of them. Not only are they all just brilliant people in their own right, they have evidently now reached a point where they have a network and association with loads more brilliant people. Brilliant! Everyone involved played their part, and did so with smiles on their faces and endless time and patience for all of the many people that stopped by to learn, experience and connect with the various crafts on offer. It was a beautiful scene from start to finish, and that's what I mean when I say "hugely successful".
On a personal note, i'm so proud of Sam and I couldn't of been happier to see all his dedication, passion, craft and skill come together at Port Eliot this weekend. It was a real moment to stand back (or sit down in my case) and take stock of everything that's been achieved. Part of that is definitely building the team he has around him, and having already had the pleasure of hanging with Nick Watts on various occasions, I knew how much of a total dude he is. What was also great this weekend was getting to know Julia Jarvis properly, she's the newest member of the H&C crew and it turns out she's an absolute gem on every level. A wonderful addition to the family.
Right, back to the 'being fortunate' bit. Sam asked myself and the extended Amateurism crew to help with supplying the DJ soundtrack for the weekend, and it was just a pleasure to be involved. Alongside choice selectors such as Rob Leggatt, Billy Leggatt, Pete Wiggs, Pete Fowler, Bill Amberg, Matthew Hooberman, Stephen Bass and Jack Sellen, we made the decision to start playing music everyday at 9am - and lay down music all day till the end, approaching with the aim to only let the music be the main focus after 5pm. Up until then it was just a soundtrack to pick people up in the morning, and then let the craft do the talking throughout the day - and it worked perfectly.
From 5pm, Mr Stephen Bass (another very good egg) of Moshi Moshi Records programmed live music with two slots each day, and everyone I saw play was absolutely ace. A special mention to Stealing Sheep, who I particularly loved, but equal gratitude and respect to Seamus Foggerty and Sweet Baboo who were also brilliant and really nice people.
People to send love to who made it more special that haven't already been mentioned: Funtime Frankie Walton, Sam and Lois Wilson, Nathan and all their lovely crew, Lulu and Rhonda Darkroom, Lionel and his friends, Poppy & Ben and all their friends, Jeff, Thommo, Tony and Mr + Mrs Crean over at CBTR, Iain Watts, Teri Olins, Carly, Harvey and Heidi Wiggs, Kev Braddock, Popovic, the coolest man in the world Aboubakar Fofana, Hattie and Alice, Benchmark crew, Yallah coffee gang, Victoria Hooberman, Jeremy Atkinson, and all the other good people who contributed to H&C. Big up.
Here are some choice weekend selections + words from some of the fine people that contributed to the DJing:
Pete Fowler: A pleasure to play some afternoon music under the crafty canvas of Hole & Corner. I could have stayed there all day every day and lose myself in someone making clogs or watch Stephen Bass build a small wooden house with the help of passers by. Perfect.
Pete Wiggs: It was a great weekend - nice to be involved! This one went down particularly well x
Mr Q - Party Party (re-edit)
Bill Amberg: It would have to be the combination of the home brew scrumpy and King Curtis playing Memphis Soul Stew. Love to all.
King Curtis - Memphis Soul Stew
Stephen Bass: I probably most enjoyed all the live bands being even better than I could have hoped really, and working on my back line skills - phantom power. As ever it is all about vibes!! If you wanted just one song then it would be Billy Leggatt's one. It was pretty amazing watching his face with a mixture of joy and horror.
Public Enemy - Harder Than You Think
Jack Sellen: So much fun, thank you for having me on Friday. The Hole & Corner tent was superb. The stripped down live set by Stealing Sheep was a real highlight.
Selection wise, I will go with something thematic; I enjoyed losing my shit to this with pals on Saturday night in the Caught By The River bar.
Andre Tanker - River Come Down
Rob Leggatt: So much good music in so many different places at Port Eliot this weekend so not sure I could choose just one tune... First up it was such fun to play at the Hole & Corner tent as part of the Amateurism crew. I’m not sure any of us knew exactly how H&C would pan out when we started - music in a craft tent - how does that work? But it went superbly, gradually evolving into a radio-style show with guest selectors dropping in to play for a couple of hours at a time. Everyone played in synergy with the artisans working and speaking in the tent, respecting sound levels and keeping the vibe positive and generally pastoral and mellow but always specific.
Things I can recall that seemed to work from that part of the day: Traffic - Dream Gerrard, Moondog - Marimba Mondo 2, Leon Russell - Out In the Woods, Penguin Cafe Orchestra - Air A Dancer, some lovely Brazilian thing that Pete Fowler opened up with. My son Billy playing the Faces Ooh La La was a personal highlight.
After the bands, who were all superb, I loved the way that the H&C tent gave itself over to a works disco. Playing records, drinking ale and dancing with the makers, the workers and the tea bar crew was a highlight. LUPO Keep it up (that’s the silly one Stephen liked) Public Enemy - Harder Than You Think. Foremost Poets - Moonraker, Messa by Alma Negra.
Caught By The River was super fun too, and LUPO sounded good (again) in there, the Peter Black remix of I Zimbra, Machistador by M was a big hit with the girls, as was a re-edit of Party Party by Mr Q via Mr Wiggs.
If I had to pick one? Public Enemy - Harder Than You Think because it was Billy’s request and it dropped so hard that it stunned him into silence. Or maybe that was my Flavor Flav impression on the stage?
As Stephen already chose Public Enemy, we have two alternative selections from Rob for daytime and evening:
Traffic - Dream Gerrard
LUPO - Keep It Up
Leo Walton: As i'm writing this, i'm going to go with three selections :) All of them were loads of fun to play. But then, all of it was to be fair!
Brian Bennet - Chaseside Shoot-Up
The Hot Shots - Snoopy vs The Red Baron
Foremost Poets - Moonraker