The Eastbourne Accordion Festival event was held on 8th – 11th February 2019… what a weekend it was if a trifle windy on the South Coast! Artists blown in for the show were Harry Hussey, Jean Corrighan, Julie Best, The Buchanan Ceilidh Duo, John Romero and Gennaro Fiondella. Teachers were Sammie Peckover, Angie Lukins and Jean Hanger, along with Harry Kipling’s Accordion Treasures and The Accordion Shop sporting fantastic trade stands the weekend was a resounding success.
This year’s festival kicked off with Harry Hussey doing what he does best at the welcome party, ‘Pick a tune…. any tune!’ Harry, as always, was more often than not seen attached to an accordion over the weekend delighting everyone’s minds with his knowledge of jazz chords, harmony and well, just music really!
On to the evening concert but before that John Romero announced that he and Jackie have passed ownership of the festival to Colette McKeown and Gennaro Fiondella (CGF Music). He thanked all their previous guests, artists, teachers and traders for their support over the years. We were then wowed by Julie Best and Jean Corrighan taking us on a whistle-stop tour of the world. John Romero played his electronic accordion finishing up with ‘War of the Worlds’. Rosemary Wright’s cheerful set continued with the Cuckoo Waltz and The Flintstones. It was then the turn of Gennaro Fiondella to entertain in the bar ‘til late.
Saturday morning brought the start of the workshops. The orchestras were enjoyed by everyone. A variety of pieces from Memory (Cats) to The Oom Pah Pah Song with some ragtime, folk and waltzes in between, catered for all levels of playing. John Romero held a Midi and Electronic workshop was well attended by those eager to learn all about accordion electronics. The guests had their time to shine later in the afternoon and shine they did. There was some lovely playing and even some singing. It was great to listen to what everyone had been working on at home.
Julie and Jean donned berets and onions for their Saturday night concert. The pair looked very much the part and set about playing and speaking in French! Rosemary Wright followed with some really enjoyable pieces making way for party night. This was a Ceilidh with the Sussex pair David Buchanan and Simon Buck, ‘The Buchanan Ceilidh Duo’. It was great fun. The dances were well explained with demonstrations from willing volunteers, the dances were alternated with songs which were gratefully received allowing a moment to catch your breath and rest your feet before the next dance. The dancing continued with John Romero stepping up the tempo with some Status Quo classics!
Rehearsals for the Orchestral concerts and workshops continued in earnest on Sunday Morning. The afternoon brought the Orchestra concerts and more guests who were keen to show their talents.
After dinner, Julie Best kicked off the evening playing solo beautifully and Jean joining in to round off another delightful set. Gennaro Fiondella then called up Colette McKeown and they played several duet pieces. It was then Harry Hussey and Alan Young’s turn for an impromptu trio with Gennaro. A break was taken for the raffle which raised £97 for Winston’s Wish. The new organisers have said that they will continue to support this fabulous charity in their future festivals. John Romero played a short set and then rounded up the artists for the jam session finale.
Everyone had a fabulous time during the weekend. Although sad John & Jackie were finishing running the festivals all said that Colette & Gennaro are the perfect couple to keep the events going into the future.
Comments from our guests
“What a great weekend. Very enjoyable. Great crowd of people and lovely music. I enjoyed all 4 orchestras, and I think the level of difficulty was perfect for all levels. Ceilidh was enormous fun. Wonderful performances from Julie and Jean.” David Blackford
“Great weekend fantastic artists, all the orchestras on top form, and all like-minded people I had a great time thank you again to the organisers.” Gordon Priestley
“Great festival this year! Looking forward to next year BTW I love the photo‘s” Stan Shakespeare