Back in September 2011, Cavendish Community Primary School PTA came up with the novel idea of inviting local bands to play a fundraiser for the school. It was no ordinary school festival as it featured Jim, Dave and Larry from James and Tom Hingley collaborating on a set of James and Inspiral Carpets songs and Chameleons Vox as well as a load of up and coming local bands. Cavfest is back in 2013 with a real coup of only Badly Drawn Boy’s second Manchester gig in the past few years as well as a slew of the best of Manchester’s new bands.
The full line-up of live music for the festival reads Badly Drawn Boy, The Rainband, The Suns, The Minx, The Cornelius Crane, The Slow Readers Club, The Lazy Maybees, Seventh House and Crossfire Hurricane. It’s enhanced by DJ sets from Clint Boon and The Whip.
The festival isn’t just about music though. There’s seven hours of activities for the kids including a climbing wall, Yoga Bugz, Karate, Penalty Shootout, face painting, dance workshops, a comedy workshop with Big Comedy Shop, drama workshops with Didsbury Theatre School, music workshops with Rock Out Music School, drumming workshops, ‘Diddi Dance’ sessions, a Bollywood Workshop and a series of art and craft workshops, finishing with an Eco Warrior parade at 7pm.
The 2013 Cavfest is also reaching out to the local community, including Hector Boon’s charity raising funds for St Mary’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as a beneficiary of the day and having students from The Manchester College gaining invaluable experience helping to organise the event in advance and on the day.
Following on from his now sold-out show at the Deaf Institute earlier in the month and a performance at Festival Number 6 in Portmeirion the following weekend, Cavfest will be a rare live outing for Badly Drawn Boy, who’s been relatively quiet other than a couple of film soundtracks since his 2010 album It’s What I’m Thinking Part 1 – Photographing Snowflakes. He was originally scheduled to headline the original Cavfest but had to pull out because of other commitments and is making good his promise to come back and play. There are rumours his radio silence has been a productive time and it’s hoped we’ll get to hear some new material at the show.
Second on the bill are The Rainband and they are proof of the impact the first Cavfest had on the school and the bands that played it. They are now involved in the organisation of the festival as well as coming into the school for music workshops with the children. Formed in 2009, they’ve received backing from Manchester music legends such as Johnny Marr, Tim Booth, Peter Hook and Liam Gallagher. They’ve just released new single World We Seek as a free download, which will hopefully build on the success of their debut single Rise Again.
Another band returning to Cavfest are Chester five-piece The Suns. They’re about to drop their next single on Howling Rhythm entitled Surf Nightmare on August 26th on limited edition 7 inch vinyl and download. It has a real 60s garage/freak beat type feel to it. They’ve certainly caught the ear of Inspiral Carpet Clint Boon who described them as “The Suns are one of the few bands around making real garage music with a totally contemporary feel. Live, they’re brilliant. They’re the kind of band I want to be in”
Next up are a band much-loved at Louder Than War. The Minx, you’ll have seen their stickers plastered around Manchester, have just released their Hey Mr Warden EP on the back of a successful support slot with Inspiral Carpets and their own sold-out show at The Soup Kitchen and their biggest headline show to date recently announced for The Deaf Institute on September 14. They’re delighted to be involved in Cavfest. Singer Chris Haddon told us “We’re really pleased to be part of this years CavFest, a great local festival raising money for kids taking part in artistic activities.. Why not? They shape the future!”
The Cornelius Crane are another Louder Than War favourite and have been causing quite a stir around the Manchester gig scene with their effervescent alt-country live shows. They have just released their second EP on Stereokill Records which we reviewed. It’ll be interesting to see what the festival crowd make of their self-styled “experimental outward bound attempt at live music from the seventies”.
The Slow Readers Club formed out of the ashes of the hugely-tipped Omerta and released a superb self-titled debut album last year, which won the coveted Album Of The Month on manchestermusic.co.uk. They’ve been in the studio recently to work on new material and the first fruit of those sessions will be a new single Forever In Your Debt, to be released around the time of Cavfest.
Five-piece The Lazy Maybees released their self-financed debut album at the back end of 2011 with the intriguing title of Lining Up Spoons. Their press describes them as a sound which ranges from funky summer riffs to heart achingly beautiful acoustic ballads, and stop off everywhere in between as well as honest, rhythmic and always soulful.
Seventh House are a mellow soul acoustic harmony five piece from Manchester formed in March 2013 around the beautiful voice and songs of Rod Smith. The band have all played with one another in various bands including Madchester legends Paris Angels. They’ve only played a couple of low-key gigs so far, but their shared love of soul classics and Beatles harmonies make them the perfect act for a (hopefully) sunny Saturday afternoon.
Opening proceedings will be local band Crossfire Hurricane, regulars on the local pub gig scene, playing covers by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Primal Scream, The Beatles, Oasis and Kasabian.
Cavfest takes place at the school’s playing fields on Cavendish Road on Saturday September 21st. Tickets are £20 in advance from the website and there are no facilities to purchase tickets on the door.
All words by David Brown. You can read more of his articles for Louder Than War here.