Last Saturday saw the first-ever True North Music event in a wonderful venue – the Carlile Institute in Meltham, Huddersfield – home of Meltham Carlile Community Hub. The Carlile is a beautiful 19th Century building (originally a mechanics’ institute) which was taken into community ownership a couple of years ago. The community association have been working tirelessly since then to bring life and local activity back to the Carlile, including hosting the local Post Office and library in the ground floor space. They were also successful in gaining a significant grant to help complete the refurbishment of the building. I’ve been
watching developments with interest and spoke to the committee some months ago about the possibility of using the Carlile as a concert venue. My contacts there were really enthusiastic about this idea and so we agreed that I would organise and promote my first True North Music concert there on 8th October, as part of the month long 125th Anniversary celebrations. I also played a small part in helping the community association access some Arts in the Neighbourhood funding, which they decided to use to subsidise the month long series of Anniversary events.
I was delighted to present British bluegrass band Tilter Wheel as the featured artist in this inaugural bluegrass concert at the Carlile. Featuring four excellent musicians from across the north of England, including local banjo ace Jonny Hulme from Marsden (also a member of Celtic/bluegrass fusion band the House Devils) and mandolinist/guitarist and singer extraordinaire Simon Brady from Preston (ex Swing Commanders), guitar maestro Paul Higham and talented double bass player Ray Walmsley make up the quartet. They didn’t disappoint, delighting the capacity audience with two fine and highly entertaining sets, showcasing their superb musicianship and sense of fun. Mixing traditional standards, a sprinkling of original songs and tunes and an array of crowd-pleasing cover versions, Tilter Wheel made a lot of new fans among an audience that was mostly new to the bluegrass genre.
All in all, the evening was a huge success. The concert took place in the beautiful concert room on the first floor and volunteers set up the bar on the landing area beside the new lift (which makes the upstairs spaces accessible to everyone). Huge thanks go to all the volunteers who helped to make the event such a great occasion, putting out chairs, taking tickets, serving at the bar, washing glasses and more. I won’t name them all here as I will surely forget someone! Thanks are also due to all those who sold tickets, put up posters and helped to spread the word about the concert. It was a marvellous evening of music, in a gorgeous space at the heart of this village community. I hope to build on this positive start and that I’ll be able to bring more smashing concerts to this venue in the coming months.