A strange thing happened to me on Saturday. I attended a live music event with my camera and I barely took any photographs. Why? Simply because I was having too good a time.
Bostin Days was the brainchild of my good mate Addie Burns who dreamt up the idea of putting together an album of Levellers songs covered by other artists as a way to raise funds for Devon Air ambulance.
The concept came about after two workers were injured in an accident during the breakdown phase at the Levellers “Beautiful Days” festival in 2014. Addie approached a number of bands and was overwhelmed by the response when some 30 bands agreed to get involved in the project and Bostin Days was born. Never one to do things by halves Addie and Steve Bentley then came up with the idea of putting together a live event involving as many of the bands who contributed to the album as possible.
Saturday saw Shirley and I head north to Nuneaton and making our way to Queens Hall for what was to prove an incredible days entertainment. It should never be underestimated as to just what a challenge it is to put on an event involving over 20 bands at one venue in a single day. Band commitments change, illness strikes, tickets have to be sold, merchandise organised and 1001 other things sorted and there was many a headache along the way, including one band who let down the organisers with less than two hours notice.
Despite the hiccups behind the scenes none of that was apparent on the day. The entire event seemed to run like clockwork to those of us who just turned up to have fun. And what fun we had.
The wonderful thing about events like Bostin Days is that there is an incredible sense of belonging. It is difficult to understand what draws us together in this way. Certainly we all share a love of music. It is probably fair to say that many of us lie to the left of the political spectrum and that most of us distrust the establishment. It is more than that though.
Davey Malone of Hobo Jones and The Junkyard Dogs probably said it best when he explained that we are all a little different from societies mainstream. We have a shared outlook on life and we accept each other unconditionally. We understand and accept each others right to live life in the way we choose. It is an unspoken belief but it is tangible. Saturday saw 500 people drawn together united by a single cause. We come from different parts of the country, we have different backgrounds, different politics but we share a heart.
No-one cares if you are black or white, straight or gay, have different abilities or what religion you may or may not practice. Gathered together we simply extend a hand and say “welcome friend.” Admittedly at these events most of us recognise each other. We may not know everyones name but I bet everyone there on Saturday knew at least 50 other people there personally and more than that by sight. I would also bet that we were never more than one or two steps separated from everyone at the event.
I am not going to single out individual bands for praise because every single act that played on Saturday was outstanding. They came along and shared themselves with us and we with them. I know that every artist, every person attending and the organisers could feel the love. It was wonderful to meet with so many friends, to have a laugh, hear some wonderful music and raise some cash for a fantastic cause.
Sadly I had to leave a little before the end of proceedings as I was feeling ill and had a terrible migraine headache so I missed saying goodbye to my friends. It doesn’t matter though. I will see them all down the road a ways.
Thank you to everyone of you and remember always: There is only ONE way of life, and that’s your own!