Grassroots music is alive and well at The Bell & Crown, Snaith as local weekender Snaithfest returns.
By Graeme Smith
Photos by Andy Argyle
Snaithfest started in 1999, which makes it exactly one week younger than neighbouring Leeds Festival and no less important. Having run every year since, firstly as a two-day event, then later as a three-day one, the festival was forced to take its first break for over twenty years during 2020. It returned this weekend once again as a two-dayer as festival organiser Chris Miley of Strange Reality Music got back into the groove.
When we arrived at the Bell & Crown on Sunday afternoon we were treated to a set by a young band called Offbeat who had come out of Chris’s School of Rock in Goole. The four-piece were playing their second ever gig so you could forgive them for being a little nervous! Nevertheless, they belted out a set of rock and pop covers that ranged from Arctic Monkeys to Olivia Rodrigo and I was most impressed by frontwoman Olivia’s stunning voice. I look forward to hearing their originals.
Snaithfest is something of a hybrid event. Scheduled bands share the stage with open mic participants so that the full cross-section of the local scene is represented. As such, acoustic singer and guitarist Alan Place followed Offbeat with a trio of George Ezra covers.
I was struck by the sense of community at the festival. The pub was full of families and the musicians all had a kind word to say of one another. The next act on – The Beth Hubbard Band – were well-known among the punters and the band provided the first set of originals for the day. Beth, who we last covered as a solo artist, writes melodic indie pop something akin to Robyn and delivered a passionate performance. The set included tracks from her latest EP Sapphic.
As the evening set in, so did the rock. First in acoustic form from Jon Lacey and Rob Miley and then finally from “Goole supergroup” The Shuffleton C**lies. The latter proved to be perfect evening closer, delivering a lively set of folk, surf and psych rock which included some accomplished covers and originals from their new three-track EP All That Stuff.
It’s great to see that, even after the world fell apart last year, local live music has survived. It’s so important that we have these events as part of the world of music and Chris has done a great job keeping it alive. Who knows, maybe in twenty years time we’ll see acts covering some of the originals we heard that day in the Bell & Crown.
Snaithfest took place on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September 2021.