This weekend’s Deep South Music Festival has two days of family entertainment – from storytelling to gigs by rock guitarists – with a full programme designed to keep even the least musical amused.
When organiser Chris Carr began the festival last year, he said he hoped it would be the island’s answer to Woodstock, and given the energy and enthusiasm surrounding this year’s festival, that idea seems to have already taken hold.
‘We are all really excited about it,’ he said. ‘Hopefully the Isle of Man will back it, we have been overwhelmed with the interest from the island and to get celebrities is a real bonus.’
The celebrities are rock guitarist Simon Townshend (currently touring with The Who but also a respected, talented solo artist) who takes to the stage on Saturday night. In the other tent there is RTE Radio’s Jacqui Carroll presenting her DJ set ‘Ready Steady Go’ with soul, 1960s, and ska music.
Local talent includes the island’s own Chris Gray and Mae Challis also Christian Sterio and friends ‘Source of Gravity’, performing remixes of 1980s music, (recently returned from playing in Philadelphia) among other places.
Chris said: ‘We are so proud to have signed up someone of Simon’s stature from the music world and experience of playing festivals around the world. Simon has also mentored our very own star Chris Gray, when Chris has been in the UK’s capital, so I think it is only fitting that we should give Simon a great Manx welcome when he comes to our lovely island!’
While adults enjoy music from international and local stars, young people can enjoy some Norse culture, thanks to an appearance by the Vikings of Mann, who open the festival on Saturday after a procession from Port St Mary town hall to the stone field, leaving at 11.45am.
There will be Segways, Zorbs, fairground rides and storytelling. Local food producers will also be there to keep everyone well nourished – and there’s a beer tent courtesy of Bushy’s.
Drawing together different aspects of island life, there are Manx and Filipino dancers, a talk on island archaeological digs, presentations from the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch team, workshops from the Guild of Crofters and Weavers, saxophonists and twirlers, a pantomime presentation by Arbory Players, and local artist Gavin Carter will be carving – with help from festival goers – a Viking sculpture from an old railway sleeper.
There is even an appearance by Robbie, son of the world’s biggest rabbit, thanks to Dolittle’s animal centre.
Switched On Events will supply rides for the children to play on (on Sunday rides will be free for all children courtesy of Port St Mary Commissioners).
And if it’s wet and windy? Most events are under cover in tents but more importantly, Chris said: ‘When rock and roll is involved you do not feel the weather.’
The festival is from noon until 11pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are £5; £10 for families and £2 for the elderly and under-16s, available from www.villagaiety.com, the Welcome Centre at the Sea Terminal, Patchwork Cafe (Port St Mary), Northern Lights (Ramsey), Thompson Travel (Port Erin), Castle Deli (Castletown), and Celtic Gold (Peel).All profits go to charities.