Mathew Street Music Festival 2008
in fine fettle on Sunday and Monday, when its annual Mathew St.
Music Festival got under way. This is now the world's largest,
free music festival and what a feast it has become! Liverpudlians,
who love a bargain, flocked into the city in droves and were well
rewarded for their efforts.
There were 6 large themed stages in the city centre. Traffic
was diverted and the Queensway Tunnel was closed whilst over 80
hours of live music blasted out across the city from these and from
many indoor and fringe venues in pubs, clubs, hotels and cafes all
around, both official and impromptu. Over 95 bands from across
the world were performing.
The weather, despite
the occasional shower, was warm and often sunny and the public was
in party mood. Huge hordes can be mildly daunting, even
intimidating, when ranging freely around but these crowds were
relaxed and friendly.
Liverpool wit and good nature prevailed and the City extended its
welcome to the many British and international visitors, who in turn
expressed their pleasure in the occasion and their warm reception
here. People of all ages, from babes in arms to very senior
citizens and from all sorts of backgrounds, race and culture united
in response to the beat. This was family entertainment at its
best. Liverpool has been deemed the most musical city in
Britain, in an Arts Council poll and it lived up to its reputation.
All the bands and performers were of a high standard, some up and
coming youngsters eager to make their way. There were ,sadly,
less old timers around but Connie Lush was still going strong on the
Exchange St East stage, the Merseybeat and BritPop venue. Born
and bred in Liverpool, she was a regular performer at nearby
Walter's Bar in days of yore, we were told. She had her band
of admirers around. Derby Square was a must for Beatle tribute
band followers. It had its fair share of those reliving their
60s youth. It proved a popular site and also afforded good
viewing access for wheelchair users. The Superlambbanana had
its back to the goings on in Tithebarn St. where afficionados of Pub
Rock and Blues & Soul were catered for. Further down in Water
St. The Diva and Guitar Hero events were staged. Williamson
Square hosted Streetwave and many new bands, whilst the area around
the main Tunnel stage, in Byrom St. was thronged. As were the
adjacent St John's Gardens, where people disported themselves on the
grass in the sunshine as music wafted across whilst children got
together for spontaneous games with a football.
There were also childrens rides and a variety of food and drink
outlets. The smaller venues offered a similar range along with
popular liquid refreshments. Elsewhere in the city, away from
the stages the good humour continued and the streets were a hive of
activity. hopefully all this will continue beyond Liverpool's
reign in 08. Liverpudlians seem upbeat, even without the bands
playing and rightfully confident of the enormous gifts it can
contribute to the nation, not least in Music and the Arts.
Bridging the city festivities with the waterfront, the Albert Dock
had a range of other musical showcases and the Beatles Museum,
whilst at Salthouse Dock, a Sing-a-long, Hey Jude, was led by some
of the 3,000 participants in the World Fire Fighter Games, which
opened that morning with a large parade from the new arena and will
be on for the next week at various sites around the area.
Once again, Liverpool showed the world that it can party in style.
Apart from a few minor problems, the whole event passed of
peacefully and successfully. Behind the scenes, as usual, much
careful planning and hard work must have been put in to achieve this
and we hope they and all the performers and their backers, are
pleased with their success. Thanks are also due to the army of
diligent street cleaners, who kept the roads clean and tidy
throughout. The public, perhaps inspired by their efforts,
seemed more careful with litter, despite the numbers picnicking
happily in mid road, a real sight to behold, and other fast food and
Thanks also to the Police and security staff who, although
reassuringly highly visible remained good humoured and friendly
throughout. So too to the other emergency workers, fire,
ambulance and St John Ambulance, All of whom it is easy to forget
but who play such an essential role in such events. Liverpool
citizens neighbours and visitors all seem to have had a whale of a
time. Here's to next year!
- Page 1 of 16
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