Hellfire and Brimstone… Oxford Style

While eating our tea on the Friday before having a foray into town to see if we could find some music (it being the opening evening of Oxford Folk Festival), we were puzzled by a police heli hovering over the town centre for the best part of an hour. Once we walked into town it soon became clear: the iconic Randolph Hotel had been seriously on fire and a chunk of the town centre become a no-go area. To make things worse, there was so much smoke that several other establishments with air conditioning (including – deep irony – The Old Fire Station, Folk Festival HQ and venue) had inhaled enough to set their fire alarms off as well. They all had to be evacuated too and checked out by the Fire Brigade chappies. A cacophony of fire alarms… Still, we managed to get into a nice concert in the Wesleyan church so all was not lost.

Saturday lunchtime saw a concert in the splendidly – nay, almost excessively – ornate St Barnabas Church (would never have guessed it was an Anglican church) . Billed as The Rheingans Sisters plus John Spiers and “a very special guest, the former were musically splendid, with their Scandewegian harmonies ringing in acoustically alive church, although sitting down at floor level to play in front of large audience in unraked seating was a visual error. Only those in the front row could see anything: six rows back all we could see was  the occasional bow tip or banjo machine head waving round over a sea of heads. (Gives new meaning to “mysterious ways” I suppose).

And given that Bellowhead were in town on Saturday night, guessing the identity of the “very special guest” was hardly  going to be taxing. Despite not having played as a duo for over year, they were expectedly splendid. Seeing an entire large church audience cheering The Rochdale Coconut Dance to the rafters and energetically careening around the aisles to Sloe Benga was memorable, even if slightly bizarre given the very high-church surroundings. Concert of the year so far…

The Gospel according to St. SqueezyNo surprise there then..The Gospel according to Spiers and Boden

1 thought on “Hellfire and Brimstone… Oxford Style

  1. Pingback: Banbury Folk Festival | Biggles Goes Boating

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