01 October, 2009

Culture Show

Bideford Bay Creatives are a not-for-profit group of creative practitioners, established in July 2009. Practitioners include visual artists, crafts people, musicians and performers who are based in the Bideford area and who wish to raise their profile, whilst creating opportunities for the local community (people, businesses, voluntary groups, arts and non-arts organisations) to host events and activities and get involved with the arts. This watercolour by Ian Hudson.

Our aims are to promote the Creative small businesses and practitioners in the Bideford Bay area by various means, including the generation of projects to promote members’ work and to develop cultural tourism initiatives for the town.

One of the BBC’s aims is to ‘Promote awareness of the arts as a means for creative practitioners to share their experiences with communities on a District/County, Regional, National or International scale’ – which is where a relationship with our ‘twin town’ Manteo comes in. This textile by Sue Russell.

The Bideford Bay Creatives are introducing to Bideford a new project called ‘Culture Show‘ in various businesses in Bideford and will run for the whole month of October 2009. The project brings the arts into the public realm; places where people go on a regular basis and as part of their ‘normal’ day to day business. For example shops, cafes, hairdressers, the library, building societies and pubs. These places, in turn, are venues for hanging and placing creative artworks, sounds or performances.

The project brings the arts to the people and places where the public go – the creative works will be both discovered unintentionally by visiting a shop or cafĂ© and intentionally by following the Culture Trail. It also raises the profile of and promotes creative practitioners in the area. Above all it creates an event that can introduce the arts and practitioners not only to the locals but also adds value as a tourist attraction and a quality cultural experience in Bideford. This batik by Janet Jopson.

A trail map will enable members of the public to follow the Culture trail and to see as many venues and artworks as they wish. Also members of the public will come across creative work as part of their visit to the town centre and the businesses there. There will be an ‘opening’ of the event to raise awareness of it and for the Culture Show to be officially launched. The BBC group wish to develop the Culture Show into an annual event.

You’ll find more about the Bideford Bay Creatives at the following website: http://www.bbcdevon.org/
For a photostream of the show follow the following link:


08 September, 2009

Bideford Folk Festival 2009

We’ve just enjoyed our week long Folk Festival in Bideford. What a fantastic week. We get some big national and international names in the world of ‘folk’, but what makes the festival for me are the relatively unknown musicians playing and singing their hearts out in one of the many sessions which take place in the local pubs. These sessions often include known folk musicians and are used as training grounds for future rising stars.

Bideford is a buzz of song, dance and music during the week. We had innumerable groups of Morris dancers, traditional folk dance troops, from all over the country, with their lively, colourful costumes, sticks, bells and white handkerchiefs. Also some great Irish Dancing from 15 year old Niamh Boadle, Dartmoor step dancers and clog dancers cumulating in the Demon Barber Roadshow, Saturdays highlight.

Days started from 10.30am with ‘meet the performer’ type events and workshops. These events continued throughout the day and were joined by lunchtime concerts by local musicians ‘Lunch with a Local’, sessions sometimes lasting all day (just for the record one session started at 4pm and ended at 3.30am and covered three different venues).

There were workshops for children, workshops on playing various instruments from guitar to whistle to small pipes, workshops on various dances and workshops which produced the ‘Festival (dance) Band’, and the under 16 Folksprings Band, which both performed at the end of the festival.

The main concerts were in the evenings in four separate venues and this was followed every night with late night sessions in the campsite session tent which allegedly went on until daybreak!

The arts community are often involved in the festival either as musicians, stewards, organisers, artiste liaison or as myself the photographer. All of the photographs here and for the programme were taken by me and here’s a link the more so you can get a flavour of the Festival from my flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/greengallery/sets/72157622184464235/

and a link to the festival's own site: http://www.bidefordfolkfestival.co.uk/

28 June, 2009

More Tea, Vicar?

Some things in England don’t change very much over the years – sadly, our red telephone boxes have mostly been flogged off and you don’t see that many helmeted bobbies on the beat nowadays - but come this time of year, you can still see village fetes springing up all over the country. This one took place at the weekend on the Vicarage lawn at Northam.

More pictures here...... http://www.flickr.com/photos/throughstones/sets/72157620672284760/

And for more of my posts and personal views on this part of North Devon, please see Throughstones, and click the NORTH DEVON category in the sidebar.

17 May, 2009

Northam, Bideford

OK - the blog is here now, and working well. Only problem is, what to say! I live in the village of Northam, on the outskirts of Bideford - but don't go into town very often as I am mostly interested in the landscape and the fabulous Northam Burrows here on the Torridge estuary.

I was going to show you a few pics of the Burrows - but haven't figured out how to get them to do what I want when uploading. The only survivor is this photo here, taken back in the winter. It looks quite different now of course - all green and abundant. The land is used for grazing sheep and horses, as well as leisure pursuits like walking, surfing or playing golf.

I would love to see some images of your home surroundings over there in Manteo. To see what makes the place special and distinctive to you.

16 May, 2009

Combining Manteo with Bideford

The Bideford Manteo Blog was set up in Bideford but I would like to see an equal balance each side of the pond. The image used as a banner at the top of this page shows Bideford Quay and the new Torridge Bridge. I would like this banner to be a combination print joining Manteo with Bideford. Ideally an animated gif, alternating between Manteo and Bideford would be the best with Bideford-Manteo on one image and Manteo-Bideford on the other but I haven’t worked out how to add this to the blog yet – suggestions please. If anyone from Manteo has pictures of their town that I might combine with those of Bideford please send them to me and I will attempt a combined image of the two.

12 May, 2009

Why Bideford and Manteo?

Bideford and Manteo are about to become official twin towns, or sister cities.

Bideford has a long and fascinating association with the Eastern Seaboard of America, with the trade in pottery, tobacco and other goods being prominent in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Ships sailed to and from Bideford’s busy port up the river Torridge exporting goods to the Colonies and bringing back a variety of goods that helped the town to develop and prosper. Much of this can be viewed today as part of Bideford’s walking Heritage trail.

In particular, the ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke Island (where the town of Manteo is situated) is an amazing story of the colonisation of this Island with 117 people sailing from Bideford. They travelled to Roanoke Island with the promise of a new life but instead disappeared. A mystery still unsolved. What is mysterious is that there is no proof that they died or moved on; nor is there proof that they survived, despite documented stories of blue-eyed Indians and sightings of white men. Are any of their ancestors still alive today? DNA testing is taking place which provides the means to establish and determine whether the Lost Colonists did survive long enough to produce off-spring. If so, Roanoke Island will be considered as the birth place of America - some 33 years before the Mayflower set sail and the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia.
This is incredible and will totally re-write the history books if the evidence is found. Indeed this connection is already celebrated in Manteo through various tourist attractions such as the Lost Colony outdoor drama, Roanoke Island Festival Park and Fort Raleigh National Historic site.

We can continue to develop these strong links through the arts and creative people of both towns and countries and celebrate our special historical relationship. The arts provide a mechanism to bring communities together and to share in the past as well as to look towards the future.

01 May, 2009

Welcome to this blog

Welcome to this blog which celebrates the forthcoming twinning between Bideford and Manteo. The blog is designed to encourage the creative communities on both sides of the pond to interact, communicate with and inspire each other.

If you are a creative practitioner based in Bideford or Manteo and wish to add a post about yourself and your work, or about the creative scene where you live, please email me, Sadie Green, so I can set you up as a user of this blog @ info@experiencedevon.com