Sheffield’s Devonshire Green witnessed a pretty good free (as in municipally funded) festival today. There were rides and face painting for the kids, there was jerk chicken and beef patties for the hungry (with rice and peas, though the season was not really kickin’, which would have disappointed Fat Bastard) and there were good vibes aplenty, with lots of totally unknown loca acts doing really pretty accomplished performances. Being a geek I noticed how promptly the acts got and off — some stage manager has enviable organisational chops. All the music was that mix of r’n’b, hip-hop, bashment, and grime that seems to be the mainstay of urban these days, with a leaning to reggae. Yes I said grime — it’s just part of the amalgam now instead of being an outsider, which seemed good today. The MC of the show was Richard Blackwood, who much to my surprise was fantastic. At one stage he even got people in he audience on to freestyle, one of whom, Inspector, was corking. No trace of arrogance from our Richard.
Best of all was the appearance of that legend of Brit fast chat, Tippa Irie. I love hi just for having survived, but I love him more for the fact that he still has magisterial authority on the mic and a natural showman’s instinct for working the crowd. He’s still on it, kicking off with an excerpt from Hello Darling, slagging off talent-free pop stars and generally making his poppy version of dancehall do devestating business. He even threatened to burst into Lyric Maker, but time was short. After years of obsessing over Tippa Irie I finally got to see him and he didn’t disappoint. Lovely.