Caught by the River

Port by the River

27th July 2011

Trevor Moss, Hannah-Lou & Jakub, Caught by the River

Words: Robin
Pictures: Neil Thomson.

It’s becoming a familiar feeling. Back to normal life after four days of glorious Cornish weather (and one day when we were pretty glad we were doing everything in a tent) and you can’t help feel a little weepy. Looking back at the Port Eliot Festival from the other side of the weekend tends to have that sort of effect.

Pete Fowler opens the bar on Friday

We’ve been doing the festival for three years now; hopefully finding our feet each year, working out which bits work and which bits need work. The 2011 line up may have been the best on paper but we were a little unsure as to how it might pan out – Andrew Weatherall on the same bill as a symposium about extinction in bird life? In the spirit of the festival – sod it, let’s give it a go. In the end, it seemed to work perfectly. Two hours of Weatherall’s pummelling space disco segued into a quarry shuddering set by British Sea Power while talks on everything from Land Art to the British underground music press packed out the tent. Receptive audiences listened to country rock and countryside talk; people fished the banks then dredged the bar.

Roy Wilkinson & Jock Scott, Do It For Your Mum, Saturday

It seems to me that there’s something about that little tent down by the estuary in the festival that’s tucked just inside the top pocket of Cornwall. It seems to encourage diversity and exploration and maybe just a little hedonism too. The success of each year gives us the confidence to push the envelope not just when thinking about future events but on the site too. Knowing that supposedly clashing ideas sit perfectly next to each other – (why can’t you sit and listen to someone talking about cycling around the coast of Britain and also be down the front at the Secret Sisters? Hell, why can’t you BE the person talking about cycling AND be the person down the front?) – is inspiration enough to keep trying new things however random they might seem.

Berry, Yates, Andrews, Rangeley; Words Under Water

One of my personal highlights has to have been watching Jeff – one of my oldest mates and architect of much of this year’s bill – pretty much bouncing with excitement after the talk between On Nature contributors and longtime Friends of the River John Andrews, Charles Rangeley, Jon Berry and Chris Yates. He was as exhilarated as I’ve seen him after any gig or club in nearly twenty years of hanging out. I can’t say I understood all of the talk – I don’t fish. What I did get from it though was the unassailable joy that those four angler’s collective passion projected outwards to a tent full of folks hanging off their every word.

It’s the moments like that capture the essence of what Caught By The River is. Roll on 2012.


We’d like to thank each and every one of you that came to the tent, that stopped and listened, applauded, asked questions, bought a drink in the bar and stuck around for a bit. Would have been a bit boring and a bit lonely without you.

Also, there’s a few people we’d like to thank personally. For having us down – Cathy, Perry, Mathew and Louis (esp for stepping in to breach a gap for us with an ace acoustic set on Saturday, Christmas song an’ all). For her incredible patience in dealing with the admin of our bookings and putting up with Jeff, Roberta McCaughan. The propaganda department: Helen Gilchrist and the Stranger Collective, Michael & Kirsten at the Press Office plus Jackie Butler at the Western Morning News for the coverage given.

Carl Gosling, for ensuring things ran smoothly. Carey Davies for the exceptional sound. Ruth, Cal and the team for quenching our thirst. Danny, Tomo, Briony, Jamie, Sunny and Emily.

British Sea Power, David Taylor and Roy Wilkinson. Andrew Weatherall, Rob Pursey, Seahawks. Gravenhurst, Colorama, The Rockingbirds. Hannah Peel, Caitlin Rose, Secret Sisters, Sea of Bees and Gaggle (rockin’ birds, all of ’em). Ceri Levy, Errol Fuller, Mark Cocker, Stephen Moss, Rob Lambert, Harriet Mead. Jock Scott and Simon English. Mick Houghton, Andy Childs, Emma Warren, Geoff Travis (great selection of records, Geoff). Richard King, John Niven, Nick Hand. Treecreeper, James Walbourne, Willy Vlautin, Peter Bruntnell. Chris Yates, Jon Berry, Charles Rangeley. Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou, Johnny Trunk, Stephen ‘Spoonful’ Parker. Will, Nina & Pete from Rough Trade. Brewed Boy Rob and Byron Burger for sustenance.
And last but not least, Jimi Goodwin, a dear friend and co-writer of the song that gave us our name.
Special thanks to John Andrews – a true Friend of the River.
Andrews of Arcadia

See more of Neil’s pictures from the weekend on his Tomoland blog.