The Annual 'Dusting of the Plaque' 2009
"A Middletonia Review"
I went to my first 'Dusting of the Plaque' event at the Olde Boar's Head on Saturday. I thought I might do a little write up here and get some pictures for a nice little article on the do. However it wasn't to be!
The event is held in memory of the late local musical legend that is Pete Cowap. I believe this years was the 10th anniversary of the establishing of the event and many die-hard fans and musicians continue to pack out this venue to pay tribute to Pete, perform their own music, catch up with each other and generally have a great day!
It soon became clear to me that I should have gotten there well in advance of the 1pm kick-off to secure myself a seat to be held on to for dear life, but nobody warned me of this in advance! I got there shortly after 2pm hoping to chat to a few people and take some photos of the artistes' performing and write short reviews on them.
After some time waiting to be served at the bar, it was evident I had no chance of getting anywhere near the 'sessions' room where all the action was! The whole place was overflowing with people spilling onto the street at the front and in the beer garden at the rear. As for the sessions room itself, there were literally queues at both doorways in, and it was a case of waiting for someone to come out before one more could squeeze in!
I did however manage to get into the Long Street entrance for a while and caught part of Tony Auton and his bands' performance which was very impressive. A friend of mine has always raved about them and now I know why! Very talented guys that more people should know about. Unfortunately it wasn't worth trying to get any pictures because from that doorway we were looking largely at the back of the bands members heads!
I felt it was such a shame I couldn't really get to see more of the acts which were billed to be Hard Times, Rock of Ages, Tom's Rigg (All sixties beat), Victor Brox (Blues), Stringtheory (Country/rock), Red Hoffman (Blues/soul), WYSIWYG (Rock), Random Harvest (Eagles sound) and Palomino (Buddy Holly). There were some rather 'colourful' characters walking around, as musicians often are.
I spent most of the day in the beer garden where you had at least a little breathing space around you. The event is so popular that the venue is much too small to accomodate it, although as this is where 'the plaque' is, it can hardly be held anywhere else!
I noted various comments such as, perhaps they could give over a room on the other side of the pub to another performing area so that two of the acts could play simultaneously and people get a choice which one they want to watch allowing them more chance of seeing who they want to see the most, or even in the beer garden.
Failing this, I noticed you couldn't hear any of the music from the beer garden even though there is a large speaker on the wall out there. This is probably connected to the juke box but I can't see much being involved in connecting this so people can at least hear the bands playing and still be able to enjoy the music, even if they can't get in the room to watch the performance. After all the switch over to enable this would only have to be done once a year.
So that concludes my personal experience of my first 'dusting'. Perhaps the pub and organisers could think about some of these ideas for next years event as the opinion was shared by others settling for the comfort and space of the beer garden who also were a little disappointed they couldn't get to see more of what they went to see. Still bearing this in mind I had a very enjoyable day out and Pete's plaque continues to sparkle for another year!
Written by the editor. 26.04.09.
Some pictures supplied by Danny Hardman
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