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Paris, 25-26 April: Two orchestras, three shows

The Bristol and Paris chapters of the Fantasy Orchestra came together in Paris at the end of April for three shows over one weekend.

Show #1: Jardin Villemin

On the bandstand, with a dozen or so Bristol players arriving hotfoot from the airport to join the orchestra for a lunchtime set.



Show #2: L’Albatros, Montreuil

An evening show, to a capacity audience, in the auditorium of an arts complex housed in the old Pathé movie studios.

alb 1 alb 2

Some clips from youtube:

Show #3: Aux Petits Joueurs

A final show the following evening, in a café near the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, sharing a bill with Paris horn ensemble La Band’Originale .

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See the whole collection of photos from the trip on Flickr.


St Werburghs Hill, Easter Sunday

A goodly number of Fantasists put on a free Easter show atop St Werburghs Hill in Bristol, in co-operation with the The Narroways Trust.


New arrangements of numbers by Queen and the Beatles got their first public airing, and old chestnuts by Les Baxter, Ennio Morricone, Jimi Hendrix and the like were given a springtime runaround. Eggs were painted, bubbles blown, and battery-powered amps triumphant.


Many more photos:



Colston Hall Foyer, 27 February 2015

The foyer of the Colston Hall resounded to the strains of the Fantasy Orchestra at full tilt, during a free one-hour set on Friday 27 February (before the Bournemouth Symphony played in the main hall).


The playlist featured film music by the likes of Nino Rota, John Barry, Ennio Morricone and RD Burman, and, as news broke of the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the FO offered its own tribute:

There’s also a multi-angle edit of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the same set:

Photos from the gig are on the Fantasy Orchestra’s Flickr page.

Navidad Nuestra 6 jan 15 – El Rincon, Bristol

a lite FO team performed the Navidad, still ringing in our ears from the 21st december performance at the Trinity, in the tiny bedminster bar El Rincon. Stan was MC and trumpet, George leader and lead vox. Other soloists were tony, marcos and john. Ole, on bass recorded and filmed the whole thing.

here are the links:

1. La Anunciacion – –
2. La Peregrincion –
3.  El Nacimiento –
4. Los Pastores –
5. Los Reyes Magos –
6. La Huida –
7. encore, Los Reyes Magos

21st dec 14 – Navidad Nuestra (with This Is The Kit)

We celebrate the longest night this winter with a rare opportunity to witness Bristols best loved psychedelic folk act and Bristols biggest community orchestra 

// This Is The Kit will feature members of The Fantasy Orchestra and the Fantasy Orchestra will be presenting Navidad Nuestra, a seasonal work from Argentina by Ariel Ramirez. Other festive and seasonal stuff will be occurring.


FB event:

The Fantasy Orch have prepared a special festive and joyous set and This IsThe Kit will be in full metal jacket mode bolstered by some ofthe orchestras most sublime talents.
spectral psychedelic spiritual, shiny-eyed, soul stirring: it will be like the wicker man but instead of edward woodward burning it will be your hearts on fire
hey, its worth coming just for the poster alone
TITKflyer3_trinityhere are a couple of videos
La Annunciacion –
La Huida –
Cold and Got Colder (this is the kit) :
review by Tony Benjamin:
Here was an early Christmas present, a gig of three halves as it turned out, with ostensible headliners This Is The Kit performing their set between two bashes from the Fantasy Orchestra. It was a generous move by TITK’s Kate Stables that made for a satisfying and entertaining evening and in no way diminished the impact of her set of crystalline folk-rock. It was a band of familiar faces around her, too, with Rozi Plain on bass, Neil Smith and Jesse ‘Morningstar’ Vernon on guitars and Jamie Whitby-Coles drumming. Kate was the presiding folk-rock goddess here though, the thoughtful optimism of her personality imprinted in the elliptical poetry of the songs and the judicious clarity of the music. The faux-mystical Bright Showers gained a resonance from the solstice night, Kate’s beautiful vocal harmonies with Rozi on Greasy Goose was just one spine-chilling moment and an old-time gospel acappella opening made Earthquake an even bigger crowd-pleaser. As composed as ever, Kate whistled her way out of Two Wooden Spoons and left the crowded Trinity room aglow. She was followed by the second Fantasy Orchestra set – ‘Our fun stuff’ as Jesse Vernon described it. The stage was crowded to capacity with random glam and poncho chic for Morricone, Hendrix, Bowie and more, all delivered in sumptuous arrangements for choir and orchestra. The texture of the music was formidable thanks to great work at the sound desk and the discipline of the 50-plus musicians, yet the mood was never less than playful and audience participation plentiful. An extraordinary rendition of the Star Trek theme was a particularly happy affair. But the real peak of the evening had happened right back at the beginning: the Fantasy Orchestra’s first set being a performance of Navidad Nuestra, a six-song Christmas suite by Argentinian composer Ramirez. This was powerful music, folk-rooted yet classically constructed, a three way mix of orchestra, choir and solo vocalists that swept Jesse’s flippancy (and those ponchos) aside with its sheer beauty. Space Oddity might be their singalong calling card but Navidad Nuestra gave the game away: for all the fun-filled antics the Bristol Fantasy Orchestra is actually a seriously brilliant musical experience.

First Rays Of The New Rising Sun – Hendrix and Soul at the Cube 17th october 2014


The Fantasy Orchestra present “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” fri 17th october £10. doors 7:30pm. Bristols highly acclaimed community orchestra will be performing, for the first time ever, the music of Jimi Hendrix (carefully transcribed for full orchestra). The event is scheduled to coincide with the recently released Hendrix biopic ” All is By My Side”  currently showing at the watershed. with film and soul music

here are some vids from the night filmed by Owain and Sue Jones:
the Bristol Guitar and Mandolin Ensemble started us off:

then The Fantasy Orchestra took to the stage

Upcoming Events

Tues 6 Jan – El Rincon, Navidad Nuestra set (limited orchestra)
Fri 27 feb – Colston Hall Foyer
Sun 5 April – easter concert
Fri 15 May – Bristol Museum
Fri 17 July – Bristol Harbour Festival
Sat 22 Aug – Porter Family Blues Festival
past events:
As the Greatness Of The Magnificence Orchestra
26 Nov 10 Wrestling With Ennio Morricone; Cube Microplex – The Gothmag Orchestra, The Rumble-ohs, Pop Parker
23 Feb 12 The Greatness Of The Magnificence Orchestra plays Morricone, St Georges, Bristol
03 March 12 Greatness Orchestra Plays Morricone, Colston Hall Bristol
29 April 12 Still Looking For Ennio, Cube Microplex

As The Fantasy Orchestra
6th Sept 13 – Bristol Old Vic “Don’t Look Now”
28th Nov 13 – Bristol Spiegel Tent
31st Dec 13 – Cube Cinema – Wildermann Party

26 jan 14 – Roll For The Soul Cafe, Bristol
11 march 14 – the Canteen, Bristol
Fri 4th April – prema art centre uley, gloucestershire
Sun 6th April – the southbank centre, bristol. With The Rumble-Os
Sun 11 may 14 – Trinity Garden PartyBristol
Thurs 19th June – Bristol Museum, “Bowie Night”
Tues 1st July – busking in Paris
Sat 5 July 14 – The Colston Hall, Bristol “A Night At The Movies” with the Gert Lush Choir
thurs 10 july – Rondo Theatre, Bath (Bicycle Tour)
Fri 9 july – Three Horseshoes Pub, Bradford-on-Avon (Bicycle Tour)
Sat 10 july – Frome somewhere(Bicycle Tour)
Sat 19 July – Orchestival, Glastonbury, Somerset, 2pm
Sun 20 July, Bristol Harbour Festival, 5pm
10th-16th August workshops and performance, Jersey
Sat 20 sept – Priston Festival (afternoon)
Sat 11 oct – Bristol Rowing Club Snazzy Party at Kings Weston Country House
Fri 17 oct – The Cube Cinema “Hendrix and Soul “
Sat 18th oct – Pill Music Festival afternoon and evening performances
Sat 6th Decembre – Le Grand Bouillion, Aubervilliers, Paris
Thurs 14 Dec – Espace B (avec MorningStar et Catherine Hershey), Paris
Sun 21st december – The Trinity Bristol “Navidad Nuestra” by Ariel Ramirez (with This Is The Kit)