Since summer 2009, Caught by the River has hosted a stage annually at Port Eliot Festival in St Germans, Cornwall. When we were first asked to get involved, we were a small blog and the festival was having a fallow year. After falling in love with the site immediately, we agreed to try to bring Caught by the River to life over three days. Since then, it’s been one of the major highlights of our year – somewhere where we’ve mixed together disparate elements such as discussion, rock’n’roll, beer appreciation and acid house on a daily basis. This July (24th – 27th), we’ll be heading out west again for what we think is our best line up yet. The Thursday night will be given over to the good folks behind one of the best record shops in the country – Drift in Totnes (twice voted Music Week Record Shop of the Year); Friday, Saturday and Sunday will feature the usual mix of inspirational talk, carefully selected alcohol and transportational music. Hope you like the look and decide to join us down there. Joining us this year (in no particular order)…
Arguably the greatest British DJ ever (well, we’ll argue it with anyone after a few beers), 2014 will be Andrew’s third headline slot at Port Eliot. The previous two were so monumentally fantastic, we’ve thought it was bad voodoo not to ask him back again. Be prepared to lose yourself to music.
Caught by the River’s resident ornithological artist, Matt has been illustrating our avian friends for the site since 2009. Since then, he has put together two much-loved books for Ebury – Our Garden Birds and Our Song Birds. His third collection, Our Woodland Birds, is due this summer.
Gruff is truly a national treasure. A Super Furry Animal, sometime mainman of Neon Neon and occasional archivist of brilliant, half-remembered lives, Gruff’s work occupies a previously unexplored space somewhere between Glastonbury Festival and the Turner Prize exhibition. American Interior – his fourth solo album/book/app/film – is comes out this spring. This year, we are delighted to have Gruff make two appearances on our stage – most obviously as a musician, performing songs from his record but also as a writer discussing the subject of his forthcoming book for Hamish Hamilton (more details to follow).
Viv is a musician, artist, writer and film-maker. She was guitarist and songwriter in the legendary punk band, The Slits, and made her acting debut in the film Exhibition. Faber publish her memoirs Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys in June and she’ll be discussing her life and times with Emma Warren.
One third of much-missed band Doves, Jimi’s debut solo album Odludek is an early contender for best record of 2014. Wildly eclectic like an old school mixtape, it’s a heady mystic brew steeped in Northern Soul, Southern gospel, hip-hop, psychedelica, ambient, krautrock, dub, funk and acid house. As all great albums should be.
Chris – one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena – has joined Caught by the River in Port Eliot for all but one of the years it’s been at Port Eliot. He makes records for Touch that edit his field recordings into a filmic narrative. In 1971 he was a founding member of the influential Sheffield-based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire. Since then he has developed a particular and passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres from around the world.
Ben is a musician, songwriter, DJ and author. His first book, Patient: The True Story of a Rare Illness was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, voted a Sunday Times Book of the Year by William Boyd and shortlisted for the Esquire Nonfiction Book of the Year. He is perhaps most well known for his twenty-year career in altpop duo Everything But The Girl. He is also an international club and radio DJ, and since 2003 has run his own independent record labels Buzzin’ Fly and Strange Feeling. Having recently returned to songwriting and live performance, his first solo album for thirty years is expected in 2014. At Port Eliot, he will be talking with Ted Kessler about his remarkable second book, Romany and Tom.
A musical collaboration between author and broadcaster Michael Smith, Andrew Weatherall, Franck Alba & Nina Walsh inspired by Michael’s recent book, Unreal City. A Caught by the River exclusive.
The Arcadia 78 rpm Orchestra
A musical installation of sorts that will be present in our area throughout the weekend.
Rob is a writer and musician from East Lancashire. His recent project, Water of Life, a collaboration with sound and visual artist Tommy Perman on Edinburgh’s waterways resulted in a set of writing, prints and 7” single alongside a cassette release on Folklore Tapes. He is a regular contributor to Caught by the River and at Port Eliot he will be performing live as well as being a member of the Field Recording panel.
Mathew lives in the village of Kingston in Sussex. An editor by day, by night he is a co-director of the Port Eliot festival. He commissioned and edited the first Caught by the River book and contributes a monthly column The Wild Flower Calendar.
There’s not much that needs saying about the Dread – his reputation strides before him. Coming to notoriety in the late 70’s as DJ at the Roxy, he single handedly turned a whole generation of punks onto reggae. It was whilst as a DJ at the first punk club – The Roxy – in 1977 that Don adopted the punk D.I.Y ethic and begun to make his first film The Punk Rock Movie. He has contined to DJ and make films ever since. In 2003, he won a Grammy for his Clash film Westway to the World. He currently presents a weekly radio show on BBC 6 Music called ‘Culture Clash Radio’ and still DJs nationally and internationally.
Emma was a founding contributor to Jockey Slut. She now makes documentaries for BBC Radio when not working as Editorial Mentor at youth-run publication LIVE Magazine. She likes to bring together things previously not brought together.
My Old Man
The genius brainchild of Ted Kessler, a writer and editor who has spent the last two decades destroying the music press – firstly as an NME staffer during their 90s heyday and then as an editor on Q ever since. My Old Man began in the summer of 2013 as somewhere where contributors were encouraged to post stories about their dads, be they glowing tributes, teary laments or a V-sign and raspberry. A book featuring the best of the blog alongside many new contributions is due in October 2014. Ted will have a couple of slots over the weekend where he’ll be talking to special guests about their special Dads.
Melissa is a writer, amateur naturalist and photographer who lives in South London with her husband, Anthony, and rescue dog Scout. She was the winner of the John Muir Trust’s ‘Wild Writing’ Award in 2010, and her first novel, Clay, was chosen for Amazon’s Rising Stars programme and won the Portsmouth First Fiction prize when it was published in 2013. She is currently working on her second book.
Devon Folklore Tapes is an on-going cassette-based cult devoted to exploring the folkloric arcana of the farthest-flung recesses Great Britain, via divinatory research, abstracted musical reinterpretations and experimental visuals. They explore mysteries, myths, topography and strange phenomena of the old counties. At Port Eliot you’ll find them in a tented installation beside the boathouse where, amongst other things, they will be telling the story of Theo Brown and the Folklore of Dartmoor.
Treading somewhere between the weird folk world of John Fahey or Glenn Jones and an altogether more outsider pop of Robert Wyatt; Lux Harmonium manage to take a menagerie of influences and make them sound altogether… well… old! It really is an analogue affair, timeless and strangely classic. “While the production feels contemporary, the music itself has a most pleasant untimeliness.” Byron Coley, Wire Magazine.
Richard is a best-selling author whose writing blends memoir, reportage and social history in moving accounts of ordinary life in modern Britain. The Farm, his memoir about the sale his family’s farm in Yorkshire, was a number one best-seller. His new book, The Valley: 100 Years in the Life of a Family, tells a factual story of 20th-century England through the experiences of four generations of his mother’s family in the south Yorkshire coalfield, and is published by Bloomsbury in 2014. Richard Benson is a former editor of The Face magazine, and his writing has appeared in various publications including The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The New York Times and Caught By The River.
Ultramarine are the London/Essex-based duo of Ian Cooper and Paul Hammond. Formed in 1989, they were initially inspired by early UK House music and long-standing schoolboy crushes on the post-punk funk of A Certain Ratio, 23 Skidoo and Cabaret Voltaire. The duo’s second LP Every Man and Woman is a Star (initially released in 1991 by Brainiak Records and reissued as an expanded version by Rough Trade in 1992) received great critical acclaim and was neatly described by music writer Simon Reynolds in his book Energy Flash as: “Perhaps the first and best stab at that seeming contradiction-in-terms, pastoral techno… all sun-ripened, meandering lassitude and undulant dub-sway tempos… like acid-house suffused with the folky-jazzy ambience of the Canterbury scene.” After a long sabbatical, Ultramarine re-emerged with their sixth album, ‘This Time Last Year’, in September 2013.
Spellbinding garage pop-stomp from London saturated with primal riffs and beats and spikily sugar-coated vocals. Girl group melodies, mystic organ sounds and punchy bass ascend into the heart-shaped soundwave.
Will’s first book – the Moor – is published in the spring. It is described as “a deeply personal journey across our nation’s most forbidding and most mysterious terrain taking the reader from south to north, in search of the heart of this elusive landscape. Will’s account is both travelogue and natural history, and an exploration of moorland’s uniquely captivating position in our literature, history and psyche.
Patrick was born in 1975 in Norfolk and was educated at Cambridge University. He is a features writer for the Guardian, where he has reported on everything from the Iraq War to climate change. He is the author of The Butterfly Isles. He lives in Norfolk. At Port Eliot Patrick will be presenting his latest book, Badgerlands.
English singer-songwriter duo Kami Thompson and James Walbourne have reached deep into their rich musical histories to concoct the kind of sharp, true folk rock blend rarely heard since the Seventies. Produced with indie legend Edwyn Collins and featuring folk frontierswoman Eliza Carthy on fiddle, The Rails debut album Fair Warning is a little wonder, packed with traditional and original songs that stand outside of time yet resonate with contemporary urgency. Recognising perfection when they hear it, Island records have revived their vintage Pink Label for the duo, home to John Martyn, Nick Drake and Fairport Convention.
Very much marked as a band on all the ‘rising radars’, Matthew & Me have developed a fanatical following in their native Devon and 2014 looks like their time to step into the wider conscious with their forthcoming EP on Blanket Recordings.
Tim is the author of The Running Sky and co-editor of The Poetry of Birds. His latest book Four Fields was published last August. He has been a radio producer at the BBC for nearly thirty years.
Artist, musician, sound recordist, dapper chap and longtime Friend of the River. Pete Fowler is one half of Seahawks and lord and creator of Monsterism Island. Pete will be getting up to art mischief in and around the Caught by the River area all weekend.
The Kane Players
Bernard Kane fell in love with music at the age of seven whilst on holiday in St. Ives, Cornwall. As his dad played a recording of the overture to Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and regaled the family with the tale of the doomed captain and crew of this famous ghost-ship, Bernard looked out over the Atlantic and was gripped by the image the music created. A real epiphany. Not long after, he began singing with the Choir of St David’s Cathedral and picked up the violin, then the viola. In the years since, Bernard has worked for organisations as diverse as the ENO and Manic Street Preachers. His own compositions – played and recorded with the Kane Players – include a hugely emotional song cycle inspired by the great rivers of Wales.
Born in 1967, Trevor Cox is professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford and president of the Institute of Acoustics. He has presented numerous science radio documentaries and has written for the New Scientist. He is an associate editor for an international journal of acoustics. His latest book, Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound was a Caught by the River Book of the Month earlier this year. Trevor will be joining our panel of experts on the ‘field recording’ panel on Sunday afternoon.
Ceri Levy is a filmmaker, writer, curator, and activist. Levy began his career making music videos and is perhaps best known for his (2009) film Bananaz, which documents the cartoon-band Gorillaz. His forthcoming film is The Bird Effect (2014), which examines his journey through the bird world from meeting birdwatchers to working with conservationists and all points in between. One of the by products of this has been the collaboration with Ralph Steadman, which has resulted in Extinct Boids, a book that tells the tale of the birds that we have lost to extinction. Their next book, Nextinction, will look at the raft of birds that we could potentially lose in the next few years. Both are published by Bloomsbury. Ceri is also a regular contributor to Caught By The River.
Know as Andrews of Arcadia to his friends; author, angler, raconteur and the kind of bloke you’d want on your side if you found yourself dealing with the extremes of nature. As well as chairing a couple of talks over the weekend John will also be acting MC.
Jeb Loy Nichols is an award winning musician, writer and artist living and working in mid-Wales. Mojo magazine called his most recent LP – ‘The Jeb Loy Nichols Special’ (released in 2012 on Decca Records) ‘an instant classic.” As a printmaker, he’s had successful exhibitions in New York, Berlin, Tokyo, London, and Cardiff. His first novel, The Untogether, was published in 2009. Jeb contributes a hidden gems column to Caught by the River (Jeb’s Jukebox). “Nichols is the high priest of country cool.” – Rolling Stone
“Cult balladeer” (The Word) and “Blighty’s answer to Bon Iver” (Mojo) R.G. Morrison runs The Drift Record Shop and is the curator of our Thursday evening’s entertainment. Together with his band, he’ll be performing tracks from his new LP, Diamond Valley a country rock and roll album.
Charles was once a painter and is now a writer. He has published two books with Random House, Somewhere Else and The Accidental Angler and writes features for magazines and newspapers. He has worked on two films for the BBC, most recently Fish! A Japanese Obsession, a sideways look at Japan and the Japanese through a shared obsession with all things fishy. He is a passionate about conservation and advises WWF UK, The Wild Trout Trust and the Norfolk Rivers Trust. His most recent book, Silt Road, tells the story of a lost river.
Described in the Financial Times as, “One of Britain’s most compelling artists”, Kurt Jackson has had a distinguished career spanning over thirty years; his work reflects his fascination and commitment to the natural world and the environment. He moved to Cornwall in 1984 where he still lives and works.
Cheryl is the curator of wildlife sound recordings at the British Library and a contributor to Caught by the River’s last collection, On Nature. Having recently edited a special ‘field recording’ issue of our Antidote fanzine Cheryl will be sharing her knowledge as the chair of a ‘sonic arts’ panel taking place on the Sunday afternoon.
Geoff Travis opened the Rough Trade Record Shop in Ladbroke Grove in 1976 after an inspirational trip to San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore. In the years since, Geoff has been at the beating heart of the independent music scene, his name synonymous with many of the greatest left-of-centre musical artists of the last forty years.
Bizarre Rituals x Drift Record Shop
Bizarre Rituals are another splendid addition to the cult Wrong Music roster (shitmat, Ebola, Baconhead) who will be teaming up with the Drift Shop DJs to drop musical voodoo on the Thursday night.
Also returning will be Roy Wilkinson with his Pop & Nature Quiz plus resident record spinners across the weekend – Stephen ‘Spoonful’ Parker, Pete Wiggs and the Heavenly Jukebox.
Tickets are available now from the Port Eliot website. See you in the summer.