Godiva Festival Preview: the thoughts of local artistsFeature
The Godiva Festival is many things to different people: indeed that is alone one of its glories: how is manages to cover so many bases at once is greatly commendable.
You might well come (as fans from across the country do) to see your favourite "big" acts on the Main Stage: for example The Libertines or Bananarama this year.
You might come also for the relaxed vibe or to bring your family to a whole range of activities of which music is only one part.
However one aspect which I feel the mainstream media in particular (with one honourable exception of our local BBC Coventry & Warwickshire station) fail to grasp or articulate sufficiently, is how important the festival is for the local music scene covered by "Hot Music Live".
Please consider the following thoughts:
No other single event features more than a fraction of the number of local musicians performing here
The majority of the hundred plus acts playing are from the local area
No other event offers those artists the chance to be heard for the first time by such large new audiences, both local & those coming from further afield to see the headliners.
In addition, many each year have their performances broadcast live & are interviewed live by BBC Coventry & Warwickshire: invaluable exposure.
And all this within the context of a huge & diverse festival which manages to be both community based & yet professionally run to the highest standards so the artists' talents can be enjoyed properly: it's close to unprecedented really.
I'd certainly strongly advance the proposition that the Godiva Festival is one of the single most powerful engines for boosting the careers of local artists.
We try each year to reflect as much of this as we can in the magazine, but this year I thought it might be worth saying so before the event & hopefully persuading as many people as possible to attend in order to support Coventry & Warwickshire artists, discover talents they haven't yet come across and frankly have a great time.
Therefore I asked several artists who originate locally, grew their careers locally, played the Godiva Festival & have now got national reputations & profiles (and in some cases international) how the Festival has affected them:
"Over the last decade Godiva has been really great to me. From hosting the Acoustic Stage, to performing on the Main Stage. I've got a lot of great memories from the festival over the years. This year I'm happy to have been invited to perform for BBC CWR on their stage on Saturday at 3:30pm. The festival itself really puts Coventry on the map and is a great opportunity to celebrate the local talent in the city" (Emma McGann)
You can catch Emma McGann, just back from her US dates, on the BBC CWR Stage on Saturday 3rd September at 1530.
"We played Godiva in 2006, it was a truly wild experience, I believe a free event back then, and our first chance to celebrate with our local crowd our December 2005 No1 hit ("The JCB Song"). Apart from hearing a huge amount of people singing along, and often louder than us, it was our local big festival, a chance for us smaller local acts to not only rub shoulders with the bigger acts, but show them how we do live music in the Midlands, that year many of my friends played, Wes Finch, Lewis Garland and the Kett Rebellion, and Vijay Kishore, all of us had been doing gigs together: we were a Midlands musical movement. This year is no exception, again many great local acts are playing, it's what makes this festival and Coventry's live scene so special." (John Parker of Nizlopi)
"Godiva was one of the first shows that I ever played. I was just 15 at the time and played on the Acoustic Stage. In the years since it's always been quite special for me. It's both a hometown festival and one of the places my musical journey first began. I think that it's a great place for new talent to play, because it is well attended by local musicians and music enthusiasts, making it the perfect opportunity to meet like minded people." (Izzie Derry)
"Godiva holds a very special place in my heart: for many local artists or musicians Godiva festival is a huge gig on the bucket-list to play, as one of the most prestigious events in our area. I have been incredibly lucky to perform at Godiva a number of times over the years and have very fond memories of some truly special shows there, both as a solo artist headlining the Acoustic Stage or performing in the Rhythm Tent as well as pop up performances for the fantastic BBC Introducing CWR team, as well as accompanying Tom Clarke (The Enemy) in his headline slot there in 2017. The community of musicians & organisers that are involved in Godiva each year is full of true heroes of the local music scene, and I'm confident I will always feel truly blessed to have been in such good company, as I would be again if I was ever to be invited back. Godiva is a real testament to Coventry & Warwickshire and I feel very lucky to have such a number of amazing memories & experiences from it!" (Joe Dolman)
You can catch Joe Dolman on the Acoustic Stage on Sunday 4th September at 1800
"Godiva Festival has been the place to perform for Coventry & local musicians for so long now, It's our annual gathering of friends, family & live music lovers. I've got so many great memories of performing at the Godiva over 15 times . I've performed on the Main Stage , the Acoustic Stage & the BBC Stage and loved every year . Godiva … what a great festival , we the people of Coventry are so lucky to have it .. long may it continue" (Danny Ansell)
You can catch Danny Ansell on the Acoustic Stage on Friday 2nd September at 2100.
However there is yet one more category of artist for whom the Festival has extra special resonance: one which defies easy categorisation as it depends on responding to unique circumstances, but which reveals the heart of the community nature of the event: I'll leave it to Andriy who will open the Godiva Festival 2022 as part of Cov Kozaks to articulate: none of you will need to be informed as to the tragic circumstances which underlie this invitation: they are the same ones which led to their having the opening track on "Hot Music Live Presents Volume Eight":
"As a Coventry band we have always looked out for Godiva as the flagship local event for Coventry. We are equally proud of being Cov lads as we are of our Ukrainian roots, so being asked to open Godiva is a real privilege for us. This year is particularly poignant given the war in Ukraine, so having an opportunity to showcase Ukrainian music and our heritage to a large audience and put a spotlight on something positive that is Ukrainian is something we are relishing. It's great to have a festival that local bands can get involved in, and the fact that bands like ours can share the main stage with huge acts like The Libertines is awesome." (Andriy Buniak of Cov Kozaks)
You can catch Cov Kozaks on the Main Stage on Friday 2nd September at 1810.