It’s Heaven Up Here – LIMF 2015

LIMF - 27This year’s Liverpool International Music Festival, we’re up to Year 3 of these already, happened in Sefton Park, and I was there keeping an eye on things. The Park itself as much as the music. Three perfect Liverpool days. Here’s what they looked like to me. Three days in fields full of friends. Good to meet you all.

MondayLIMF3 - 34

The whole thing was to end with Bunnymen, the Liverpool Philharmonic and fireworks. But I arrived mid-afternoon in the rain.LIMF3 - 1

And to the strangest sight the Liverpool Stage has seen since the Bonnacons of Doom a couple of years back. Meet Barberos. ‘Electro-noise’ they call it. Well I was on my way to somewhere else before the noise started and it drew me right in. Think Van Der Graff Generator and then get a bit tougher.LIMF3 - 2 LIMF3 - 3 LIMF3 - 4 LIMF3 - 5

Lightening up at the Academy Stage!
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Back to It’s Liverpool for my favourites of the day, the imperious Liverpool sounds of the Tea Street Band – who blissfully bring the sun out.LIMF3 - 10 LIMF3 - 11 LIMF3 - 12 LIMF3 - 13 LIMF3 - 14 LIMF3 - 15 LIMF3 - 16 LIMF3 - 17 LIMF3 - 18

Then Loveless with extra beautiful singing added by Esco Williams.LIMF3 - 19 LIMF3 - 20 LIMF3 - 21 LIMF3 - 22 LIMF3 - 23

Over to the main stage for Laura Mvula.LIMF3 - 24

Then as the sun went down it was time for the big finish to a perfect weekend. So well done everyone involved. I’ts Heaven Up Here!LIMF3 - 25 LIMF3 - 26 LIMF3 - 27 LIMF3 - 28 LIMF3 - 29 LIMF3 - 30 LIMF3 - 31 LIMF3 - 32 LIMF3 - 33 LIMF3 - 34 LIMF3 - 35 LIMF3 - 36 LIMF3 - 37


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Day Two, Sunday and the people are seriously in stride now. As I pass through Ellie Phillips is playing the records on the main stage.LIMF2 - 3

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I walk through to the Bandstand.LIMF2 - 5

West Coast sounds to bring the sun out from Smokestack Jones.LIMF2 - 6 LIMF2 - 7 LIMF2 - 8

Then round to the Palm House for the next hour or so. Deeply discussing Blues nights, the Ibo, Earthbeat, soul music and more besides in Liverpool with, amongst others Stephen Nze from Africa Oyé.LIMF2 - 9 LIMF2 - 10 LIMF2 - 11

This was a brilliant idea. It’s almost too easy at festivals to simply celebrate and do ‘best of’ sets. For me this talking helped put it in all in context. In our delight at this great big festival of us all, let us never forget, never, that we are sat here in a direct line through, oh where do you start? The Blues, Louis Jordan, Billie Holiday, Atlantic Records, Howlin’ Wolf, R’n’B, Elvis, the Chants to the Real Thing, Four from Eight, the Big Three, The Beatles, Merseybeat and the Cavern, Motown and Stax, Hope Hall, the Liverpool Scene, Deaf School, Jimmy Campbell, the L8 Blues and the Ibo, the Somali and the clubs on Princes and everywhere, Trojan and King Tubby, to Probe Records, Eric’s, Larks in the Park, the Bunnymen, Pete Wylie, Earthbeat and Africa Oyé, Cream and eveywhere and everyone I’ve forgotten to mention, sorry – to here. It bears talking about.

To the Liverpool Stage tonight.LIMF2 - 13

Joe Farrag is here from Granby 4 Streets with Bob Lambanana, publicising our next Street Market this coming Saturday.LIMF2 - 14

Young Emily is celebrating being alive in ways most of us, quite simply, never were.LIMF2 - 15

And of course there is music.  Beautifully, from Silent Sleep.LIMF2 - 16 LIMF2 - 17

Christopher McIntosh here, tenderly playing us his lovely songs. Supported by his top band, top brass and top xylophone, from Claire Heaslip – full disclosure – sister of my good friend Marianne.DSC06837 DSC06839

And next?LIMF2 - 24

Next, a very big deal. For one night only, Herstory. Siobhan Maher-Kennedy, Natalie McCool, Jennifer John and the Sense of Sound Choir.LIMF2 - 25 LIMF2 - 30 LIMF2 - 29 LIMF2 - 28 LIMF2 - 27 LIMF2 - 26

Fourteen joyous women on the stage and how do I pick the highlights? Other than to pray this was not in fact a one off? Natalie and Jennifer’s own and gorgeous songs. The soaring heritage celebrations of the Mamas, the Papas and the Lotus Eaters? The gentle remembrance of Step Inside Love? Or ‘Fortress?’ Brand new from Natalie and the whole field singing?

No need to pick. Simply magnificent. And then ‘Queen’ Jayne Casey came on and sang Woody Guthrie’s ‘All you fascists bound to lose.’LIMF2 - 31 LIMF2 - 32

And I for one didn’t think things could have got more family, more Liverpool, more all that lineage I wrote about earlier. Until the Real Thing via The Chants came on next.

Liverpool Royalty. Can’t get by without you – No Way.LIMF2 - 34 LIMF2 - 39 LIMF2 - 37 LIMF2 - 35The Amoo family on the stage and in front of it dancing. And the rest of us? This is what late summer happiness at the Liverpool International Music Festival looks like this year.LIMF2 - 40

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And still another day to go? Bring on the dancing horses.

Saturday evening

A beautiful late summer evening to get going with a Saturday evening full of dance music. Most of the dressed up for a Saturday night arrivals not even half my age. I leave well before headliners Basement Jaxx come roaring on. But as things got going this is how it was all looking.LIMF - 1 LIMF - 2 LIMF - 3I’m not good on numbers but the main field, the only one open tonight, is filling steadily. At the height of things last year there were apparently 60,000 people on here.LIMF - 4 LIMF - 5 LIMF - 6 LIMF - 7Still plenty of room though.LIMF - 8 LIMF - 9 LIMF - 10 LIMF - 11As usual, a special seating area with a good view of the stage for people with different abilities. I saw the security staff going round telling people about this. Well done you.LIMF - 12Tonight, as the music gets underway, is clearly a dancing occasion.LIMF - 13 LIMF - 14 LIMF - 15 LIMF - 16All working up to Basement Jaxx. Even I know this is their logo.LIMF - 17Good and varied food and drinks supplies? Not bad. Not as varied as Africa Oyé, but maybe there’ll be more choice on the full days on Saturday and Sunday? (There is, by the way, a funfair for the children.)LIMF - 18 LIMF - 19As serious numbers continued to arrive for a dancing Saturday night, I slunk off home.LIMF - 20 LIMF - 21Past the ever excellent Two Red Eds. Only real musicians sighted so far.LIMF - 22There’ll be lots more tomorrow though, especially on the #it’sliverpool Stage. Maybe see you there?LIMF - 23 LIMF - 24If you do come don’t even think about bringing your car. Most of the roads around the Park are closed or no parking. So buses, trains, taxis or walking?LIMF - 25 LIMF - 26But it’s all looking idyllic. So see you tomorrow after an 11o’clock breakfast at the Real Junk Food Café in Everton?LIMF - 27

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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  1. Lovely pictures and words, as usual Ronnie! Me & Sal have thoroughly enjoyed LIMF so far. We agree that the It’s Liverpool stage last night was a joyous place to be. Such a wonderful atmosphere and great music. It’s always a delight to see Silent Sleep, and the performance by the Herstory collective was simply stunning.

    I got the feeling The Real Thing would’ve played until midnight had the curfew allowed, and the crowd would’ve lapped it up! We loved how mixed the audience was, too. Kids, grannies, hipsters, families, all dancing and singing along. What a great night!

    1. Yes it was great. And great to be in a field of friends.

      We get so good at looking back on great moments it’s almost a surprise for me when I’m standing in the middle of something, taking my photographs, to suddenly realise I’m in a great moment right now. Last night at the Liverpool stage was great in every conceivable way.

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