Chilcompton Fringe Festival and how to motivate people to sing


The outstanding design / logo for the web site. Well done someone.

SPOT THE BALL a grandfather and young lady playing with a ball. This is called a “game” No mobile phone devices are required  Ctrl+ to magnify this picture, indeed to magnify the whole lot..
what better way to rest, in contact with mother nature on a lovely sunny day

We arrived at about 12.30, half an hour after the event was opened on a grand all-purpose sports field suitable for football, cricket, anything else that needs a large space to find about 100 visitors there. Since the opening times were between 12.00 and 11 PM we expected the numbers to build up as the day went on. They did.

It is quite brave for a small village to have an event which is called a fringe Festival which implies that there are other festivals that are not fringe but it matters not. The website was put together by an imaginative team well done.

My eagle eye, when I’m not enjoying myself, is focused on how things are done and how they can be done better. I do the same with myself by the way.

see text below

I’m sure this lady had every good intention. There were five people in the audience, 3 to the right and 2 to the left. She sat in front of the three and spent 90% of the time looking at them with only the occasional glance at the other two in the audience. This is an absolute no-no because you are excluding the others and making them feel that they are not part of things. If you look at good speakers you see they look around to everyone and make sure that its proportional even if the audience is to the side or even behind

one thing organisers forget is to have conspicuous containers for trash. This is important when there are a lot of eating stations

When you are a group of volunteers it is easy to forget something. At the entrance there was a fair amount of money being taken and the only thing they had to stop the notes blowing away in the wind was a red plastic bowl.

It is also helpful for committee members to have some sort of label or notification or uniform so that if someone has a problem for example a medical matter or a query all lost property it is good to know whom to ask. They probably have Public Liability Insurance and I would have thought this is part of the professionalism.

So, never mind the style or finesse let’s just bash out good old rock ‘n’ roll  you know the music you know the words let’s just remind ourselves of what it was like in the good old days.

Beer and cider were served in limited varieties but the basic needs of people were met. I cannot speak for what happened later when there were probably more people for the main music acts in the evening. I did not notice any lights set up so I suppose they manage with what the few lights they had. About 10:50 PM we heard the sounds of music wafting across the landscape when we were about to go to bed but it did cease at 11 o’clock.

It is fair to say that the names of the groups were original. e.g.
Shake the tree / real life / parfanon / venezuelan pig rustlers / hidden gentlemen / hurry up harry / helena / 200 hurts / vox terrae / gina valerie / monitors / village folk / fraser road race / stealth legion / no thursday war / bewildered herd / ninotchka . The last one was a type of gypsy sound / Eastern European / Russian and everyone listened with rapt attention.

listening with rapt attention (sorry my lens got steamed up)
bales of straw acted as seating areas but they were rather high and difficult to get on. A good Supply of chairs should always be available for those that need to rest. It must be said that in the excellent and modern lounge area  there was a TV and very comfortable seating plus a bar.
the all-purpose clubhouse with the F1 race going on


a carnivorous plant stall
the chap on the right is 1. A London banker on his day off 2. The secretary of the local Conservative party 3. A local who has lived here for years
this takes me back to my childhood when such objects were magical and had a life of their own
I was so moved by these youngsters who took on musical numbers way more sophisticated than they could manage but they sung with such enthusiasm and guts that everyone applauded them for their efforts. They probably imagined they were on a Saturday TV talent show. We all have to start somewhere.
Where would we be without the welly throwing competition
the Mendip brass band

This is a wonderful example of motivation. Helena is getting people to sing who do not think they can sing and maybe have never sung before. She was working against a background of noise and still managed to retain everyone’s attention. Anyone who is a teacher of actors or performers in any form should watch this video. Watch to the end.

PS Unbeknown to me, Michael Eavis of Glastonbury fame opened this event at 11.30 AM to what must have been a handful of people. Is there any limit to this man and his dedication to the community. From the Midsomer Norton Journal “In a short speech that referenced his experience of Glastonbury’s early days, he concluded with “Everything starts at the beginning, and this is the beginning for you people – and next year I shall see you again! Good luck, have a wonderful, wonderful time, and congratulations – I wish you every success’.

This is the true voice of community speaking. His words were not attended by TV crews but this is Michael attending to his responsibility as an influencer of youngsters.

Giles Harrod, a spokesperson for the event said” Michael Eavis did a brilliant job opening the Festival and it is fantastic that ..he .. came to open the event for us; it gave everyone involved a real boost!”

This is what we can do for each other on a daily basis and what we try to do in our own small way from our humble bungalow in BA3

Make sure the stands are not too far away from each other

So, to sum up:

I found enough to keep me interested and occupied for about three hours and was considerably helped by the fact that the weather was ideal.
Full credit to the organisers. Very few people realise that planning for such events start many months before and enormous amounts of people have to be cajoled, coerced, persuaded, begged, even being asked to give up their bank holiday Sunday for the great cause.

My summing up below are just my observations and are not meant personally or critically.

If you possibly can, try and gather everyone together before the event starts and appraise them all the facts they need to know on health and safety, the what if….   and who is supposed to do what. It is easy to slip out of phase in the frantic period building up to the opening time.

There were no programs that I could see available. Printing is cheap enough and having the major features on one A4 sheet and contact details does add to the professionalism.

Have enough seats and enough rubbish bins

Make sure that the music stands are far enough away from each other so they do not disturb.

Committee members should have labels on and any collecting point for money at the entrance should have a certain standard of security.

Don’t situate the features too far from each other because it can get lonely if you’re 50 yards away from the nearest stand and people will not tend to go there. It’s a bit like the coals on a fire, to have an effective heat you need the coals to be fairly close. I was thinking of the Welly Throwing stand though agree you have to be careful of flying objects.

The most important point is that PEOPLE make the event and if people come along willing to make a contribution and be friendly then the event however simple will be a success. It was my impression that the people of Chilcompton came out in very good numbers and enjoyed themselves so you can’t ask for much more really. See you next year.

a lovely sunny day, a boxing match of note, websites good and bad


Friday 26 August 1664

…Up by 5 o’clock, which I have not been many a day…

the sky is blue and we have no obligations today – our garden (part)

I must admit that this morning I was up at just after 4 AM to listen to the fight between a kickboxer versus a 100% real boxer. There is something in my psychology that wants the underdog to win and confound everybody, and there is definitely something about Las Vegas that tells me that an event that happens there will be over the top.  I have been there twice. I think everyone should go to Vegas to see what excesses can bring.

I digress. Back to the boxing. On the one hand, we have Lloyd Merryweather, a lean and mean African-American who had won 49 fights and now wanted to win the 50th and retire on it. In the opposing corner we have the rough and ready Irishmen Connor McGregor whose countrymen would have supported him if he was carried into the ring in a coffin.  A slight look back in history will show you why America is full of Irish people and why he could rely on such good support. According to the US Census statistics of 2000, 34.7 million residents of the USA reported Irish ancestry. That is about 10% of the total population.

Well, they choose to do it

As it happens the American prevailed against someone who was essentially not a boxer but a kick boxer, a different discipline. The kick boxer was full of heart and guts but all accounts. The boxing promoter from the UK, Frank Warren, was asked whether the reputation of the sport had benefited and he was clearly unsure. He did not count the match as a real fight because the Irish man had only been learning boxing for six months and therefore his opponent took him to school. Frank said that if people were prepared to pay the stratospheric prices that were asked, and enjoyed what they saw, then good luck to them. The hundred million payday to each boxer was probably more than all other boxers earned in their entire life certainly in the UK. I suppose ultimately it is showbiz and entertainment and if that’s how people want to spend their own time and money in an act of free will there is really nothing much to say. I was spellbound by the authoritative commentary on Radio Five Live UK – well done people. PS I think you need an East London accent to be convincing

As a special treat this morning we had smoked salmon on buttered bread (my own lovely bread cooked the night before) accompanied by a generous portion of scrambled egg. Later on today we will tackle the formidable pile of leftovers from yesterday but meanwhile we are going to an arts day.

Chilcompton, a local village, is definitely boxing above its weight. its website cannot be accused of self depreciation. It starts by saying that Chilcompton is a vibrant, electric village nestling in the northern slopes of the Mendip Hills. I think that is what is referred to as talking up a place. There are a couple of pubs, an attractive stream, a sports field and club, a lively village hall and a rather famous quilting outlet. That’s all the features I am aware of.

Unfortunately, like so many local directories, the website is not kept up to date in all respects. Under “Events” we find the last entry to the Chilcompton Society Flower Show Saturday, September 5, 2015 to 15 p.m. at the village hall. It sounds like the Webmaster has retired and there is no one else to replace him or her.

General comment: the golden rule of websites is better no information than out of date information or simply wrong information. It annoys the visitor If you say – with or without a friendly icon – that ‘we are working on this page’. In my experience this ‘temporary’ notice can last for months or even years in which case why do you bother with the site at all?  You can use all the wonderful words you want but if it is not backed up by the appropriate integrity of the data the reputation will suffer.

<after further examination> It looks like the site is run by the Parish Clerk who had at one point voluntary temporary help (guess).Parish Clerks have lots to do and it is my guess that she could do with a bit more help and cooperation.

I very much enjoy maintaining websites. Though my technical knowledge of HTML is very small, there are so many DIY sites where anyone capable of typing can put something halfway decent together. There are certain rules of protocol to bear in mind because you don’t want to let your product look amateurish.

Part two of today’s diary will consist of a very lengthy report on the Chilcompton Fringe Festival event taking place this afternoon and evening, Sunday, 27 August 2017, in the middle of the bank holiday weekend.