Monday, March 25, 2013

After everything, now this.

Rumour and speculation have been building on social media over the weekend that the BBC or, more prosaically, long-standing musical adept Stephen Foster will not be curating a stage at this year’s Ipswich Music Day (Music in the Park to us local veterans of the pub rock wars). If true, this is a sad reflection of the current climes in a number of ways. Firstly – personally - I feel for Foz, who was instrumental (hah!) in getting the festival rolling in the first place and has subsequently made the day a high point not only of his live music year but certainly for the many who get a good spot in front of the stage early on and camp out for the day safe in the knowledge that this bastion of the public service broadcaster will provide a balanced days’ entertainment, even if on occasion some of the individual courses aren’t to one’s taste.
The live broadcast (I’ve been on one or two, and the temptation toward profanity is almost unbearable) used to fill a big chunk of the Sunday radio schedule and then bits of the rest of it were filleted to provide more music to be put out at a latter date. Blues, soul, rock, reggae, cover bands and, importantly, home-grown original material all went to make up the mix. For every fifteen minute version of Sweet Home Chicago there were a clutch of singer-songwriters trying out their stuff on a big stage for the first time (even if slotted conveniently in at the start of the day where they wouldn’t frighten the picnickers)  

With the increasing hiving off of local content across all aspects of the BBC I suppose it was inevitable that sooner or later someone would pick up on the cost and inconvenience of using publicly subscribed funds to support a day involving musicians expressing themselves at the BBC’s expense (although lord knows none of that expense ever made it our way). I think that’s a little sad, unfortunate and wrong. As a public service broadcaster I believe that the BBC should not only educate, entertain and inform, but reflect their constituency, and having (literally) a platform to once a year throw a party to which we’re all invited is the right and proper thing to do.
I hope that these stories turn out to be without foundation, as it would be a bitter pill to swallow to see the broadcast media represented on the day by sub-karaoke commercial interests whose presenters’ main raison d’etre in attending seems to be having someone to shout at. Farewell, Soul Kitchen, we hardly knew you…   

(pic - Matt White and The Emulsions. Matt White pictured)    
Addenda, 24/5/13 - the line up for the BBC Stage has just been announced. As ever, it finishes with Soul Kitchen...  

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