Sheftival bands meet the gold standards
JESSICA Ennis winning an Olympic gold medal is a hard act to follow.
But on Saturday, at Sheftival, bands from across Sheffield and beyond rose to the challenge.
And despite momentarily having their thunder stolen, they pulled it off rather well.
Artists such as Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Laura Steel and reggae heroes Toots and the Maytals, in addition to Nat Johnson - formerly of Monkey Swallows the Universe - and Sheffield singer songwriter Sara Mac thrived off the Olympic buzz and wooed crowds with unnerving balls.
But that was Saturday. Sunday, on the other hand, was - unsurprisingly - a calmer affair though equally impressive.
Headline act Dodgy played a very special and intimate set on the ‘Busker’s Barge’ - a vessel wide enough to seat a sufficient crowd as well as a band or artist.
Acts performed as they travelled up the canal and back again, adding another dimension to the show.
Dodgy’s Busker’s Barge show featured songs such as Good Enough and Staying Out for the Summer, hits that they would later perform at the main stage.
The Busker’s Bus was one of Sheftival’s gems - low key, quirky and a channel for new bands to offer appetisers of their material.
This was the case for singer songwriter William Barstow, whose spine-tingling set of rockabilly, Bob Dylan covers and solo material gripped the crowd on the barge.
His vocals - steely, rhythmic and haunting at the same time - echoed across the barge as members of the audience listened, awestruck as this new talent. His Under the Orchard Tree - a tragic love song, was deeply engaging and technically spectacular.
Barstow was followed by Sheffield’s champions of Spaghetti Western soundtracks, The Clench, whose repertoire charts murdered lovers and whisky-laden brawls. Their set included the lush, up-beat Crawlin’ Back to You, a number that ignited en-masse foot tapping.
For many people though, Sunday’s highlight was Dodgy on the main stage. The band’s recent resurgence - with a new album and a string of UK dates - has turned heads across the music industry. Playing tracks from their latest, critically-acclaimed Stand Upright in a Cool Place album, Dodgy had the crowd fixed on the stage.
But music aside, Sheftival’s most astounding achievement was in bringing people from across the city together for an ambitious event spanning the sprawling Don Valley complex.
Hoodies, students, sports fanatics, families and musos were all brought together for two days of festival action, topped off by Ennis’ sensational Olympic performance.
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Weather for Sheffield
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
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