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Rocking Out At WestFest2011

September 11, 2011

For this year’s WestFest, we decided to try and add a new dimension. Although it’s primarily a celebration of our gorgeous independent West Didsbury businesses, it’s also an opportunity to have a bit pf a party. So, we put a few tweets asking if any acoustic musicians/singers would  like to take part and we were amazed by the response. For some, the timescale and logistics proved a bit too difficult to get around, so maybe next year, but we did manage to pull together some really amazing people to entertain visitors to our third WestFest…

Rootsman plays at Folk, West Didsbury

Rootsman plays at Folk, West Didsbury

Introduced to us by our friend Gregg,  Rootsman, a very enigmatic performer, literally rolled up with his guitar and did a couple of sets over the Saturday. His acoustic style was perfectly suited to a Saturday afternoon in Folk and we think he’ll be nailed on to make a return at some point in the near future.

Kurtis Starkie at Folk Cafe Bar

Kurtis Starkie at Folk Cafe Bar

We were also delighted that Kurtis Starkie contacted us – he’s a familiar face around West Didsbury and is a regular musical fixture at Mary & Archies, amongst 0thers, on Burton Road. Kurtis entertained the BBQ crowd at Thyme Out Deli on Nell Lane and then moved onto Folk to perform an acoustic set which went down a storm. We didn’t get a chance to record Kurtis, but here’s a flavour…

We also had Al McDonald who joined Kurtis at both Thyme and Folk Cafe Bar, doing a couple of acoustic guitar sets –

Al McDonald, Folk Cafe Bar

Al McDonald, Folk Cafe Bar

Folk also had the return of *The Band With No Name*. True – they have no name, but they have a whole load of talent! They appeared first in WestFest 2009 and were pretty amazing. This year, we could only see them from across the road at The Rose Garden, but the fact that Folk was packed to the rafters is testimony to how good they are. Bistro West had a Spanish themed weekend, and in keeping with the theme, they had two amazing Spanish guitarists who entertained the non-stop diners who enjoyed the tapas treats.

Spanish vibes at Bistro West

Spanish vibes at Bistro West

We also managed, by pure chance, to have the lovely Kristyna Myles (ex-West Didsbury resident), play a couple of sets on the Sunday afternoon. A photoshoot in the week previous at Frog Furniture & Steranko Clothes, led to a chance conversation, a phone call, a meet up and hey presto. Kristyna was playing at WestFest. For some who’s just signed to a major record record label and is about to release a new album, she’s a girl with her feet very firmly on the ground.

Kristyna Myles, WestFest2011

Kristyna Myles, WestFest2011

From Kristyna’s website :

Singer-songwriter Kristyna Myles began her musical career in the same place as James Morrison, KT Tunstall and Bob Dylan – busking on the streets. Playing on the streets of Manchester paid dividends when Kristyna won the 2005 BBC Radio 5 Live Busker of the Year Award. Since then she has performed her songs on BBC television and radio, recorded at Abbey Road studios, played dates across Europe, duetted on a hit single with Chris de Burgh in Germany and supported Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall on his UK tour. She has has also been nominated for a MOBO award as part of the acclaimed gospel act DTWG. In 2009 Kristyna broke into the UK album chart Top 10 when one of her songs appeared alongside tracks from Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu on the Universal Music TV advertised compilation album ‘Songbird’. Kristyna was the only then unsigned artist to be featured on the album. In March 2010 Kristyna performed at the famous SxSW Festival in Austin, Texas and in July signed a five album deal with Decca Records. Kristyna is currently finishing her début self-written album working with acclaimed, multi-award winning producer Ken Nelson (Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy, Gomez). The album will be released in the Autumn.

So, we were delighted that she agreed to play at WestFest – and, as if on cue, out came the sun and we had a glorious afternoon!

Kristyna Myles at WestFest2011

Kristyna Myles at WestFest2011

Kristyna Myles at WestFest2011

Kristyna Myles at WestFest2011

And here’s a preview of Kristyna, performing at Alexanders in Chester, if you didn’t catch her at WestFest –

More WestFest info & images in next blog post…

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