British alternative indie band, Stornoway, opened the festival at the Crown Hotel Ballroom, wowing the crowd with a selection of tracks including several from their 2015 UK Top 20 album ‘Bonxie’.
The contemporary four-piece band enthralled a mixed audience from across the country, performing the most beautiful harmonies and including their version of “The Only Way is Up”.
Indie folk rock duo, Smoke Fairies mesmerised the Crown Hotel Ballroom crowd with their haunting performance before making their way to London the following day for an interview with Jonathan Ross.
Dr John Cooper Clarke, performance punk poet, was one of the most anticipated gigs of the whole week. Back to the festival by popular demand, John Cooper Clarke did not disappoint. The show, to a sold-out Nantwich Civic Hall, came just a day after the release of his and Hugh Cornwell’s album ’This Time it’s Personal’.
Scottish singer/songwriter Eddi Reader and her band played on the second night of the festival, in the beautiful setting of St Mary’s Church in the heart of Nantwich town. Over 300 people packed the 14th century building to experience the musical treasure of Eddi Reader, who performed a mix of tracks from her recent years and her time with Fairground Attraction.
Internationally acclaimed singer songwriter, Words & Music Festival director and Nantwich resident Thea Gilmore is the only artist to have performed at all nine of the Nantwich based festivals. The show was introduced by legendary radio and TV broadcaster “Whispering” Bob Harris, who addressed the Civic Hall the following day to speak about his iconic 40 year career.
Annual tradition of the festival is to hold a Commemorative Celebration, with this year featuring Nigel Stonier and “friends”. As founder and director of the festival, Nigel welcomed other musicians and members of the festival steering group – Thea Gilmore, Clare “Fluff” Smith and Jonathan Tarplee – to join him on stage. He began with a solo set on the guitar then moved on to piano, before welcoming the others to join him.
Co-founder of the Festival, Thea Gilmore, took the opportunity to thank Nigel for his work on the festival. She said: “Nigel makes reference to Fluff and I and the volunteers who we love dearly for their hard work, but without Nigel there would be no Words & Music Festival – please can we put our hands together for Nigel.”
Poetry thrived throughout the week with award-winning poet Elisabeth Sennitt Clough PhD reading from her pamphlet Glass, before announcing the poetry competition winners. Here, she announced commended poetry then revealed the top three entries, after which Roger Elkin then read his winning poem.
The Railway Hotel held the Poetry Slam on Sunday afternoon, where 15 entrants performed their poems in a competitive ‘slam’, with Nick Lovell named as the winner.
Nigel Stonier, said: “People in the area look forward to this festival all year and we have been overwhelmed with the positive comments about the mix of acts and the venues this year.
“This year’s festival couldn’t have started better than it has. Stornoway and Smoke Fairies were both phenomenal and quite honestly, Eddi Reader finishing her show with “Moon River” was one of the most special gig moments I’ve experienced.”
Chris Brooks, from Manchester, attended most of the festival’s gigs this year. He said: “It has been another brilliant festival. The last few years I have taken time off work to attend as much of this festival as I can because it always draws really good acts in small venues.
“The festival has a great friendly ‘feel’. I’ve discovered lots of fantastic artists from attending this festival, like Gilmore and Roberts last year. This year, I’d say the Smoke Fairies were my highlight and I’ve already been looking at where they’re next playing.”
Glen Matlock’s gig was re-scheduled to 18th November due to scheduling conflicts on Glen’s part. Tickets bought for the original performance will still be valid for the re-scheduled gig – contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a refund for the gig.
Stornaway Photograph – taken by Chris Driver
John Cooper Clarke Photograph – taken by Jamie Hilman