Above The Beaten Track

The Bluecoat
30th August 2014

Review and photographs by Steve Lamb

‘Above The Beaten Track’ is a local grass roots arts festival held by the Bluecoat and this year’s was the first after a 2 year gap. As a local photographer, I responded to a call out for people to volunteer for the day and my remit was to cover all aspects of the festival.

As I’d not heard of this event before I had no idea what to expect but was attracted by the eclectic mix of bands, musicians, DJs, and exhibitions. The first thing that hit me when I arrived was the friendly and welcoming atmosphere at the venue. The potentially intimidating mood of bearded hipsters being WAY cooler than me was not a problem; the vibe was laid back and accessible (don’t get me the wrong, the hipsters were present in all their excessively groomed beardy glory, but it was fine). This accessibility was no doubt helped by the varied audience covering a wide span of ages and backgrounds. It was busy, people were happy, and I didn’t see any trouble – surely the benchmarks by which any Summer event should be judged.

The backbone of the festival was undoubtedly the music in the garden stage and though I didn’t hear it all, what I did hear I liked. Bands like Sunstack Jones, Silent Cities, and Thom Morecroft Band were a good accompaniment to a partly sunny day. The rain did make an appearance but you can’t blame the Bluecoat for that. Merseyside folk stalwart and harpist Stan Ambrose lent a reassuring presence to the Bluecoat’s main hall where various art activities were taking place.

If this event is on next year, which hopefully it will be, I would recommend you get yourselves there. It’s family friendly, enjoyable, and importantly in these times when we’re all being financially battered – free. If the Bluecoat held these kind of events more often it may be able to shake off the slightly elitist image some people feel it has. That’s not a backhanded compliment, simply a word of advice to an excellent venue which sometimes needs to give its head a wobble and shake off some of that deliberate obscurity.


Printer friendly page

Sorry Comments Closed

Comment left by Kevin fFtmaurice-Brown on 16th October, 2014 at 18:57
Interesting, enlightening and excellent snaps