Newcastle’s brightest stars, Bridie Jackson and the Arbour recently won Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent competition. They pipped thousands of other artists to the post and their reward is to play Glastonbury’s main stage this summer. Hurrah for the lasses from Heaton, the boho Newcastle neighbourhood that spawned Chas Chandler, bassist of The Animals and musical big bruv of Hendrix and Slade.
I saw Bridie Jackson and the Arbour perform their “Frog Rock” (that’s a mixture of Folk and Prog!) a couple of weeks ago in Newcastle. They supported international dub legend Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze who was back from Jamaica for the gig. Jean was amazing. She had the audience in the palm of her hand. She loved Bridie Jackson. So did Newcastle legend, Peter Mortimer who saw the band play a fair few months ago and signed them up for his forthcoming seaside words and music festival taking place in Cullercoats next month.
Peter Mortimer is a writer (poet, playwright, journalist) and publisher. He’s a legend up here in North East England. In 1973 he set up the fiercely independent Iron Press and this year he’s celebrating it’s 40th birthday with a five day literary festival with a difference.
The Iron Age festival runs from May 15th to the 19th in Cullercoats, a fishing village 20 minutes from Newcastle city centre. The festival includes performances by Ian McMillan, David Almond, Bridie Jackson and the Arbour, Sean O’Brien and Melvyn Bragg. I’ve signed up for a “maritime adventure” on the Saturday. This involves going out on a fishing boat and hopefully being inspired to write haiku. My words will then be honed in a haiku workshop the following day and I will be rewarded with a fish and chip lunch overlooking Cullercoats harbour.
Throughout the festival a Snooker tournament will take place but only those published by Iron can take part!
It’s gonna be great. I’ve got myself a festival pass and am looking forward to it.*
For more information visit http://www.ironpress.co.uk/ironage.html
* I’m also reading some of my poems at the festival’s club on the Saturday evening!