To mark the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, we premiered a new set of arrangements of tunes from ’67, including music by the Velvet Underground, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors and The Association.
With the help of several friends from our Paris chapter, we took over Kings Weston House on 17 June for our big summer event, featuring oil projectors, floral outfits and several different mini-ensembles.
Besides our main outdoor set, there were plenty of mellow happenings within. It all came to a storming climax around midnight from prog rock maestros Asteroid Deluxe.
How’s your year gone so far? Go anywhere nice this summer? Right, we’ve got some catching up to do.
Our 2017 gigs started with ‘Love In Outer Space’ on 18 February at All Hallows Hall, Easton. We debuted some new arrangements of tunes by Sun Ra, the Velvet Underground and the Andrews Sisters. To prove that it happened, there’s a handy montage on YouTube:
Then, among a few smaller gigs, we sent our crack Morricone Squad to the Salt Café on 8 April to play an evening of lovely soundtrack music; and our Wedding Corps was dispatched to Glastonbury on 26 May to gild a knuptial knees-up with psuitable psychedelic psounds. Oh, and we helped someone special propose to another someone special in a flashmob sort of a thing at Café Kino.
If you were at the Folk House on 9 April, you’ll know that we played a show there, too, and ditto 27 May in the Bear Pit:
That gets us up to the end of May – and we’d only just got started…
Fantasy Orchestra leader and guiding light, Jesse D Vernon, writes:
As committed-for-life fans of Ursula Le Guin, my wife Kate and I decided to start running appreciation days when we discovered some amazing music, composed by Todd Barton, to accompany one of her books, Always Coming Home. Published in 1985, about a cultural group of humans—the Kesh—who “might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California.” (p. i) Part novel, part textbook, part anthropologist’s record, Always Coming Home describes the life and culture of the Kesh people.
Todd Barton wrote a selection of folk songs and music which the Kesh might have been going to sing and they make wonderful listening and a great subject for a singing workshop and performance.
We played our annual fixture at Priston on 17 September…
…followed by a workshop and show on 22 October at the Creative Arts School in Plymouth…
…and two supporting slots with This Is The Kit at Bristol’s Trinity Centre and the legendary Union Chapel in London, featuring Rachael Dadd (below left), Rozi Plain and TITK’s Kate Stables on vocals with us.
We celebrated the World’s Most Famous Unknown People at the Cube on 2 April, with a set including music by Connie Converse, Judee Sill and – in person – Andy Skellam and (below) Rita Lynch:
we popped along the M4 for a set at the Ivy House in Nunhead on 23 April;
we donned appropriate cossies for an Apes Alliance benefit at the University of Bristol on 28 April;
and we played two sets at the Big Love Festival in Hay-on-Wye on 30 April/1 May.
We then split ourselves in two on the weekend of 7 May: while most of our number played at the Park Row Sustrans Festival in Bristol, several of us hopped on Eurostar to join our friends in the Paris Fantasy Orchestra’s for their Bowie Party.
We beguiled the long dark evenings with a few gigs and polished up some new material, which we unveiled at Bristol I Beseech You, our contribution to the Fringe events supported by the BBC6 Music Festival in Bristol.
Having besought Bristol, we celebrated Bowie on 5 March at a show hosted by Backwell Festival — a fond and full-throated tribute delivered with support from The Ambling Band and Invisible Circus. Joining us were old FO friends and guest singers Chris Apthomas (also keyboards) and Jimmy Goodrich: