Summer Fêtes in 2011

On a nice day, playing for a fête can be an enjoyable way of spending an afternoon. So what is a nice day? Comfortably warm, but not too hot, hazy sunshine (low risk of sunburn), and little or no wind, that would be perfect.
Photo of the bandstand at Watermead, Aylesbury

Watermead Bandstand, Aylesbury (photo © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Sadly this is England. Perfect summer days like that are few and far between, and none of the ones the Band played for this summer were blessed with such weather. On Sunday 29th May the problem was wind. The Band was playing for Larks by the Lake at Watermead, a housing development to the north of Aylesbury beside a large lake set in parkland. There is a bandstand built out over the edge of the lake where the band played, battling against the wind threatening to blow music away and making page turns very difficult. Then on 18th June at Cublington fête the problem was rain. The Band is a regular visitor to this event, and set up in the usual place under a spreading tree. All went well during the first session, but during the interval it rained heavily, and even though it had stopped by the start of the second session, too much water continued to drip off the tree. So the band moved to the arena in the centre, out in the open. After a little while, unfortunately, another torrential shower began, and the band had to run for cover before instruments and music were damaged by the rain. That was the end of the music for the day, but the organisers were pleased and impressed with how well the Band had coped with the difficult conditions. Finally on 9th July the Band provided music for Fairford Leys Summer Fayre. Here it was another showery day, but fortunately the Band stayed fairly dry under the roof of the bandstand. Although it poured while the band were waiting to play the first session, it soon eased off to give way to hazy sunshine. The band played three sessions, and although there were further odd showers, this was by far the least difficult of the three engagements. People enjoy a live band at a fête, and once again Aylesbury Concert Band did their best to add atmosphere to these occasions.