How do you celebrate 25 years of marriage? Do you buy a copy of ’50 Shades of Grey’ and immediately regret the decision at A&E later? Do you forget about it and not have to worry the next year because of the divorce proceedings? Or do you hire a local football pitch to put on a gig? Well, the latter is what John Aspinall did for his wife Jackie and Dronfield Music Festival was born.
The year was 14 years ago and the venue was the Sheffield F.C ground, more commonly known as ‘behind the Coach & Horses’. Today, the Dronfield Music Festival, considered by many(all) as the best Dronfield-based music festival in Dronfield because Party In The Park is wearing a little thin (Sorry Dave!).
Almost immediately after I entered the venue, approximately 15 minutes before my first beverage, I thought the weather was going to turn sour. I hadn’t brought a waterproof jacket or light summer coat and regret was washing over me like garlic mayo might wash over a kebab on a Friday night. Being British I am naturally suspicious of weather forecasts, I am also suspicious of old men in shorts with tinted glasses, although I’m not sure that is specific to British people; some old fellas are just a little creepy looking.
Although the big stage hosted some cracking acts, I must admit The Acoustic Stage caught my attention for the best part of the day. One of the acts who particularly caught my eye was Whiskey Bob Shaker, Chesterfield’s answer to Tom Waits. He describes himself as a ‘semi-acoustic solo artist with occasional Cajon loops’. Bob below:
I am naturally wary around men with beards and pork-pie hats, but then I heard him play guitar and my prejudice escaped me like the fella who escaped from a prison in the popular television series Prison Break, except with less South-American comrades. My prejudice has absolutely no South-American accomplices.
Everyone likes an Owl (except if you’re a Blade, oy-oy!) and Dronfield Music Festival was no exception. I found out later that day they also came with a hawk, which they lost. I was informed that the hawk wasn’t very vicious but that did not shake my paranoia. Needless to say, the kind of birds I prefer are ones in their early 20’s with blonde hair and skinny waists.
Hidden at the back of the event, effortlessly incognito with an unnoticeable-big-gold-mayoral necklace and purple high-lights was local Mayor Liz. I much prefer the new Mayor to the old Mayor. I once rang the old Mayor for an interview and she flatly refused, Liz however told me to ring her whenever I wanted. I hope Liz is the Mayor for years to come, unless of course I am offered the position, in which I would jump into her role without blinking: I could sell that chain for so much on eBay.
With what can only be described as ‘acid-indigestion’, this local man had to take a breather to read the Dronfield Eye. They were one of the sponsors of the day and the local man pictured was very glad that they brought chairs and a gazebo and a fresh copy of the ‘Eye’ to read while his indigestion passed, or so he told me. Thanks to the Dronfield Eye for being good sports.
Big thanks to the Aspinall’s for organising the event, the sponsors, the acts, the cadets, the charities, the people that sold the donuts, the lady that did Henna tattoos, the man that ran a tight ship at the ‘tinnie’ bar, those people with the hog roast, the mayor Liz, the Rotary Club although I never spoke to them and everyone else who was there.
More pictures will follow in a gallery on our Facebook page.
Photographs by Sascha Bellamy.