This weekend is always a busy and eventful one on the Norwich calendar, with the Lord Mayor’s Celebrations on the Saturday with stages outside the Birdcage, the NAC stage at The Forum and various other locations around the city, including BBC Introducing in Norfolk at the Chapelfield bandstand. Although last year we had a Lanes Summer Garden Party this was the return of the full and amazing Norwich Lanes Fayre after it had a year off in 2018. The 2019 Lanes Fayre was undoubtedly the biggest and best yet.
The weather put a bit of a dampener on the first part of Saturday’s Lord Mayor’s Celebrations but the forecast looked a bit better, and certainly drier, for Sunday. As it turned out there was no need to worry, the weather was gloriously warm and sunny throughout the day. I arrived in the sunshine at St. Gregory’s just after 10:30am and the Lanes had the bunting out and the rugs on the lawn as I settled down to be eased into the day by the lovely songs of Lucy Grubb who was opening the music on the impressive stage set-up outside the Birdcage. She was followed by the intriguing Vortels who turned out to be Big Steve Arlene and Will Fergusson. They played a few of each others’ songs, and a delightful cover of The Singing Postman’s Have You Got a Light, Boy? which apparently Steve had made a bet with Daniel Farke whereby Steve would play it to the Barclay Stand if Norwich won the Championship. The first home game of the season could be extra interesting! The set ended with a couple of great Elton John covers and a couple of guests.
Music was happening throughout the Lanes, Norwich Arts Centre were hosting Sonic Youths talents on both the front and back lawns with Clutter City taking place in the hall, there were busking spots in Pottergate and St Benedicts with St. Margaret’s Church of Arts hosting Peter Turrell, Tom Conway Trio and the Olinski Onsomble (featuring an electric AND an upright bass) as well as its 57th Art of Norwich exhibition inside this church which holds a special place in my heart.
The Lanes events covered not just Pottergate and St Benedicts but also Lobster Lane, Bedford Street, Bridewell Alley, St John Maddermarket and Upper St Giles where there was a street party.
The Lanes area of the city was lively, bustling and vibrant with a strong sense of community and identity, it made one feel very proud to live here. This is the real Norwich. Throughout the day I consistently heard highly complimentary remarks about the event and even likening it with Notting Hill and Portobello Road, Brighton, and Bristol. Whilst these are perfectly valid comparisons it just felt beautifully and quintessentially Norwich. Friendly and relaxed with seemingly a familiar face everywhere one looked.
With St Benedicts closed to traffic for the day it was a bustling hive of activity with stalls, food outlets, djs outside Soundclash and tables and chairs outside the cafes making for a wonderful and joyous atmosphere.
Towards the end of the day I sought nourishment at the excellent Grosvenor F’sh Bar. Despite being rammed and the staff working flat out in the heat I felt welcomed like family and that really touched me.
This really was a fantastic celebration of Norwich and the Lanes, full of music, food, art, plants, exhibitions, vintage stalls and a strengthening bonding of community. Well done to Norwich Lanes and all involved. This is what Norwich is all about and it was a real celebration of the city and the spirit of the independents in the heart of the city.
Many thanks and congratulations to Norwich Lanes and all involved. The Fayre itself is sponsored by Norwich BID, Norwich Lanes, and LMC, with the music acts on the St Gregory’s Green Stage were sponsored by Frank’s Bar (Lucy Grubb), Moorish Falafel Bar (The Vortels), The Birdcage (The Rum Dogs), Life in a Fine City (The Vagaband), Grosvenor Fish Bar (David Woodcock), FXHome (Hot Junk) and Philip Browne (Soul Stew djs). Extra thanks to Jonty, Norwich Lanes, and Grosvenor Fish Bar. You are all legends!
Even after the fayre finished and the stage was being packed down there was still plenty happening in the city, with psych from LA at Bermuda Bob’s, DF and the Alibis at The Walnut Tree Shades, and I ended my evening back on St Benedicts for the Peter Turrell-hosted Sunday Social at Platform Twelve.
We are delighted to announce the 10th Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre which will take place on Sunday 7th July, 11 am – 5 pm.
On offer you will find live music, DJ’s, pop-up markets, street food, live art, poetry and much, much more besides.
This year’s main sponsor is the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) and it’s safe to say without their involvement this great event would not be taking place.
This is a community event with art at it’s heart. This is the real Norwich – Join us if you will.
On Saturday Gladboy were part of the Norwich Arts Centre curated session on the big stage outside the Forum, as part of the Lord Mayor’s Celebrations. They also played another set about an hour later outside the Birdcage on the Birdstage. All this with a deputising bassist, none other than Ben, formerly of one of my all-time favourite Norwich bands, The Piratones.