I had a brief moment of being proud to be born in this country last night.
I wasn’t dancing to the jingoistic tunes of the likes of Nigel Farage but foot tapping to home-grown folk music in Bath’s Parade Gardens in an early summer celebration of all that’s good about living on these islands.
The event was Fire Folk – the culmination of many year’s work by a local blacksmith to bring in the skills of other iron workers around the country to help create a new and unique balustrade for the old bandstand.
It was good to see so many people enjoying the evening sun, with food and a glass of beer or wine on hand to help enjoy the music.
Andy Thearle has his own ‘smithy’ at Larkhall called IronArt and last year was a leading light – as secretary of the National Heritage Ironwork Group – in organising a Festival of Ironwork in Bath.
Not only celebrate the skills of these talented men and women doing their best to keep the ancient craft of the blacksmith alive – but to collectively work on individual pieces for a new balustrade.
One that would be picked out with part of a musical score from the winner of a competition – run through Bath Spa University. The winning piece was a composition called Hammer & Anvil by Jake Garratt – who was a guest at last night’s ceremonial unveiling.
The eight master blacksmiths involved in the bandstand project were Brian Russell, Sam Pearce, Shona Johnson, David James, Pete Clutterbuck, Andrew Hall, Andy Rowe and Gerard Loughran.
Local youngsters helped forge the musical notes that made a fantastic new decorative globe for the top of the roof.
Half way through the evening the Mayor of Bath, Patrick Anketell-Jones was invited – by MC and local actor, Pavel Douglas – to officially cut the ribbon and declare the new-look bandstand open.
Then Jake Garratt’s musical score – now ‘written’ in iron – would be played.
A grand opening but sponsorship is still need to pay for some new wooden floor edging for the bandstand. If anyone can help – let me know.
Thanks, Richard, for this wonderful post. What a great evening it was. It’s thanks to you I was there, as you set me on the right track of finding out more about the Bandstand refurbishment many months ago; my late father had conducted there a few decades back, and I then followed the creating of the works and build-up. I see from one of your above photos, ‘folk enjoying folk’, that you were standing (and later sitting – I thought you looked familiar but couldn’t place you! ) right by myself and my friend. Glad you enjoyed it so much yourself, and thanks again! Leanda
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