GUEST BLOG. LANGFEST BY MIKE NUTTALL - A Langford inspired weekend to remember.
The festival opened last weekend with the legendary band 'The Mekon's headlining at Freds. Mike Nuttall, a local promoter combined a Beer and Cider Festival with a weekend of fantastic live music and art centred around the fantastic Jon Langford. Mike has written a blogpost about an amazing weekend. PHOTOS BY RACHEL BEVAN.
"On the 16th December 2015, local promoter, Jezebel Music Presents, brought one of their more unusual shows to our venue. A band called Jon Langford's Men of Gwent were booked to play a live session at BBC Radio 6 Music in Salford for Marc Riley and fancied playing a live show, after the radio session. Jezebel Music decided to make it a free entry event and pass a hat around for donations. The band appreciated the gesture and around sixty people ended up attending what remains one of the most special nights that we have ever hosted.
Now, this Jon Langford guy has quite a history and his previous bands include: The Mekons, The Three Johns and The Waco Brothers. He is also something of a renowned artist and on that December night, Jon Langford fell in love with our art gallery, our ale and our venue. A few beers after the show ended, he nodded to the idea of a festival in his name, whereby he would play with a couple of his previous bands, throw in a set from the Men of Gwent and display some art in our gallery. Those present for that conversation were Mike of Jezebel Music, local music legend, Mog and Mr Langford himself. Hours later, in Mog's kitchen, long after Jon Langford had departed to his lodgings, the festival was even given a name: LANGFEST.
Did any of those present truly believe that Langfest would come to pass? Probably not. However, in August of 2016, Jon Langford got in touch to say "Let's do this thing". And so it came to pass, that on the weekend of the 22nd & 23rd October 2016, Langfest took place in our venue and art gallery.
The Jon Langford bands who agreed to play the festival were:
The Three Johns
Men of Gwent
We added Quiet Loner (aka Matt Hill), the man who had originally gone to Mog in 2015, to request that Fred's be the host for Men of Gwent. Jon Langford added Red Zip, Abstract Man, Tom Hyatt and a bunch of his art and the festival line-up was complete. Or so we thought...
Now The Mekons have continued to play to this day, under a variety of line-ups, but Jon Langford had something extra special in mind. In mid-September 2016, long after The Mekons day had sold-out, he announced that the version of The Mekons he had booked to grace Langfest would be the seminal line-up of Ros Allen, Andy Corrigan, Tom Greenhalgh, Jon Langford, Kevin Lycett & Mark White, a line-up that last shared a stage together in 1978. With the date already sold-out, Jezebel Music decided not to announce this news and the shock on the faces of the audience, as they realised what they were witnessing, was a joy to behold.
A review of the two days of Langfest is best left to other people. Suffice it to say that it was the most exhilarating, thrilling and joyous celebration that we have ever had the pleasure to host, with people flying in from all over the world to share the experience with us.
During the day on the Sunday, Jon Langford was asked why on earth he had chosen to host the event at Fred's Ale House in Levenshulme. His response:
"They are my mates and they asked me. Besides which, I love this place."
On stage during Sunday's Three Johns set, he described us as "the best venue in the North West" and before he left, late on Sunday night, he agreed to do it all again next year. Do we believe him? Just maybe."
PHOTOS USED BY KIND PERMISSION FROM RACHEL BEVAN