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Music reviews

Looe Music Festival.

A fantastic, friendly, folk, rock and indie inspired music festival, in the calming harbour town of Looe, Cornwall.

Looe is satisfyingly far down on the south Cornwall coast. The journey is long, but you will be rewarded.

Cocooned in a bay, this pretty and vibrant, old harbour town is surrounded by high, lush green woodland. Many of the buildings date back to the 16th and 17th century.

Its fascinating history of smuggling, shipping and fishing, is kept alive by way of preserved landmarks, charismatic locals and historic buildings throughout the town and coastline.

It’s busy now, with the festival in full tow. The setting is perfect. Cobbled streets, a sparkling river, venues to suit all genres of music, and plenty of eateries and pubs to amble in-between acts. Folk, fun and frolics here we come! Looe Music Festival.

A cool, Cornish welcome.

Headline acts this year include Brian Ferry, Alabama 3, Fun Loving Criminals and Craig Charles DJ (my fave was Craig Charles), but at the heart are the smaller acts and buskers who play in various locations around the town – in old pubs, small bars, huge tents, the beach main stage, the streets, the harbour, on top of a big van..

Everyone from locals, festival goers, folk lovers, families, bearded hipsters and pirates alike, are out enjoying the music and warm September heat.

Some music highlights

Gilmore and Roberts a folk/indie duo, charmed us with storytelling tunes, seamless harmonies, gorgeous guitar and violin playing, and quirky, funny chats in-between. I liked the one with the guy with an amputated leg or arm…

I caught a rare jazz act – Louise Parker in Zute Bar. Her strong, soulful voice filled the room with some old classics and lively clap along jazz numbers. She sang to our small crowd with ease, and got everyone involved.

Accompanying Louise was a piano playing feind. I didn’t catch his name, please do comment if you know it.

I enjoyed a captivating performance from Elliott Morris. Folk, pop with a rock edge.  A strong and calming voice, each song was heartfelt and warm. His superb, lively and edgy acoustic guitar playing added an extra dimension to his performance.

Musician-by-harbour-in-Looe
Busker on the harbour

Main-Stage-Looe

Choose if you want, to avoid the ticket cost. You could happily amber round the numerous side streets on both sides of the river, explore and catch some great buskers.

There was some bellowing didgeridoo playing, a folk style ukulele Sia tribute, some mythical story telling, and a host of very good traditional folk singers, to name a few.

Food-stall-@-Looe
Enticing food around every corner

Good food is never far away. Street food vendors, venues and pubs offer an array of cuisine from classic Jamaican dishes to freshly caught seafood platters.

Sample some Cornish pasties (they are lovely), sip good quality coffee or herbal tea, or a cool beer. Eat chips, relax in a plush restaurant or chill in a pub of your choosing. I spotted some locals crab catching. They had a bucket full!

After 3 days of glorious music, exploring cobbled streets, some unexpected company from Australian Jess, and many a Cornish treat, I ended the festival on a high and made my way to the last couple of acts.

girl-writing-@-LooeOne of the best things about this festival… big enough crowds to create a great atmosphere, but small enough venues so that you can get up close, if you want.

I caught the start of Fun Loving Criminals with Huey and his no pulling any punches chat, and strong rock performance. I heard good reviews of them, but with a dance head on me, I made my way to see funk and soul connoisseur Craig Charles, with his boundless energy and a funktastic funk & soul DJ set. It was superb.

A good dance finale from myself and a few hundred revellers to round the festival off nicely.

Thank you Looe. I will be returning for sure. 😍

About me

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

I am a freelance copywriter.

If you would like me to write for your blog, publication, or business, please do get in touch. Visit my website to find out more.

Vanessa

Categories
Music reviews

Summer 2016 Music Festivals And Gigs In Pembrokeshire

2016 will see Pembrokeshire host some fine music.

From World renowned musicians, new up-coming acts and a host of local talent.

We have a new Arts festival The Edge. A performance from the great jazz/blues musician Courtney Pine at Aberjazz, and an intimate set from ‘Welsh Tornado’ guitarist Gareth Pearson in Caffe Vista

If you’ve not ventured out in Pembrokeshire recently, you may be pleasantly surprised. 

Gone are the 90s, grungy, grubby, pubs (I know I miss them!).

Music venues have been revamped and re-energised. More musicians are finding their way down and enjoying what’s on offer.

Cosy, friendly music cafes/bars have emerged.

Try Cwtch Coffee Shop and Art Gallery in Pembroke Dock, a welcome burst of culture to the town, or Tenby’s Caffe Vista, a stones throw away from Tenby’s north beach,

Or the lovely French/Welsh inspired venue of Ffwrn in Fishguard, where you can enjoy a freshly baked pastry and an ale of your choice.

Go on your own, go with friends. Explore Pembrokeshire and enjoy the music.

July 2016

Tamsin Waley-Cohen. 2016 Music festivals and gigs in Pembrokeshire.
Tamsin Waley-Cohen.

The Fishguard International Music Festival Thursday 21st July to Tuesday 2nd August. 10 days of song, music and verse in some picturesque and atmospheric locations in Fishguard, St Davids and around Pembrokeshire.

Acts include The Welsh National Opera Orchestra, clarinetist Michael Collins, and violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen.

Kadia a folk inspired trio from Dorset, perform Friday 22nd July in Cwtch Coffee Shop and Art Gallery Pembroke Dock.

Enjoy their unique take on some modern classics, jazz, Irish and traditional folk. Also on Friday 22nd July through Span Arts in The Queens Hall Narberth is Edd Bateman’s West African Love Affair.

Influenced through his experiences touring and performing in Africa, Edd Bateman, a talented bassist, along with his all-star West African band, deliver their unique blend of rhythmic and intoxicating West African inspired music.

On Saturday 23rd July in Caffe Vista Tenby, experience an acoustic performance from Gareth Pearson.The influential and successful Welsh jazz/blues guitarist dubbed ‘The Welsh Tornado’ known for his fingerstyle guitar.

Pembs Fest Music Festival Friday 29th to Saturday 30th July is held inside the castle walls in Haverfordwest. Saturday’s headline act is Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles fronted by former lead guitarist of the BRIT award winning Welsh indie rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Support acts include hip-hop reggae maestros Regime. For the ravers, on the Saturday in the castle’s ‘prison vaults’ over 28 DJ’s bring you drum & bass, dub step, house, hip-hop, electro and techno vibes. It’s hyped to be a night to remember.

Pembroke Beer and Cider Festival Friday 29th July to Sunday 31st July. In conjunction with CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) sample from over 25 ales, including brews from Pembrokeshire (there are many), Wales and beyond.

Enjoy music, dancing and singing on the Friday, with duo Lighthouse on Saturday and Al Davy on Sunday.

August 2016

Monday 1st August Roxy Musique The Queens Hall Narberth. A fantastic tribute act to one of the most influential bands of all time. Go back in time and explore Roxy Music’s daring and creative repertoire from 1972-75.

And of course you’ll be treated to many of their classic hits such as Virginia Plain, Love is the drug and Angel Eyes.

Friday 5th August to Sunday 7th August The Edge Festival, Solva harbour. A new event on the circuit. Inspired by the filming of ‘Under Milk Wood’ on location, an Arts festival was born. A celebration of music, literature, film, food, craft, sport, with coastal outdoor activities.

Live music plays throughout including a performance from Ragsy, who’s recently collaborated with Caroline Harrison on new single My Love – Bring out the Guards. Local talent including the Pembrokeshire Ukulele Pirates, Welsh singer/songwriter Meic Stevens, and a host of local acts in a Battle of the Bands on the Saturday.

Tuesday 9th August. A live broadcast of Glyndebourne Opera:Béatrice et Bénédict by BERLIOZ in The Torch Theatre Milford HavenWith the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Chorus. Sung in French with English subtitles.

The Hot Seats. Summer 2016 music festivals and gigs in Pembrokeshire
The Hot Seats

Wednesday 24th August 2016 The Hot SeatsBurnett’s Hill Chapel Martletwy, Narberth. 

Five hillbilly virtuosos from Richmond, USA perform in the charismatic and old chapel not far from Narberth town. (The chapel has more great acts like this throughout the summer).

Aberjazz jazz n blues festival. Thursday 25th August to Monday 29th August. Over 50 superb acts, in an array of venues around Fishguard and Goodwick.

Be it traditional jazz n blues, ska, roots, country, rock, folk, gypsy jazz, dance, you are likely to find something to satisfy your ears and eyes. Venues range from art galleries to cafe/bars, to old traditional pubs.

Highlights include Courtney Pine in the Theatr Gwaun on Thursday,  The Jasmine Power Quintet in Peppers on Friday, and Tipitina in Ffwrn on Saturday.

Friendly and welcoming music and dance workshops are open to everyone. Try the Blues Harmonica Workshop with Rick Asherson in Ffwrn on Sunday.

Aberjazz is by far the biggest festival in Pembrokeshire. One not to be missed.

The relaxed feel, the calmness of Cardigan Bay, intimate venues, the end of summer, it all adds to the good feeling Aberjazz creates.

Other music venues in Pembrokeshire.

Food at Williams Pembroke, a warm and tastefully decorated cafe with gourmet food. Friendly hosts with a communal guitar on the wall.

They occasionally have music events in their garden. Cromwells Bar and Tavern in Pembroke (opposite the castle) host music from local bands and a weekday open mike night.

Pembroke Castle hold large music events in the castle grounds.

The magnificent St Davids Cathedral hold events throughout the year.

Try the Castle Inn in the beautiful coastal village of Newport, North Pembrokeshire. A relaxing pub with a nice outdoor space where they often showcase local music.

Narberth has an independent and family-friendly vibe.

By day it’s a foodie, craft and boutique hub, by night there is a friendly vibe with a foray of locals and musicians coming together to talk music and enjoy the creative atmosphere.

Explore and enjoy Pembrokeshire. A warm welcome and live music awaits!

*Feel free to comment, and promote your venue or music gig/event

Vanessa

About me.

Categories
Marketing blog

Fifty Shades of Grey. Take inspiration and boost your business’s marketing.

Earlier this week on a dreary February evening I broke my usual weekday routine to see movie of the moment Fifty Shades of Grey.

Despite the bad reviews I enjoyed it. It made interesting conversation and debate with a friend, her teenage son and girlfriend.

What’s the secret to this film’s success? 

Curiosity and the focus on raw human emotion?

A gap in the market?

This subject is not often broached and used as a main story-line for a major film. You’ve also got the build-up and fan base. It was huge. Millions of books have been sold across the globe.

Love or hate it, you can’t deny that Fifty Shades of Grey is a marketing triumph.

What can you do to give your marketing campaigns a boost?

1. A bold and noticeable campaign.

For a while now the trend in marketing has focused on subtle ways to promote a business through content marketing and social media.

All good, but maybe a bold and out-there campaign is what’s needed to jolt people away from their routine and take notice.

Break the mould and surprise your customers.

I’m thinking real life models (in place of manikins) in clothes shop windows – it would get people looking.

A coffee shop revamp that introduces 20 new teas and a free salsa lesson with every 20th coffee bought.

Or a performance from a local group in a electrical shop, showcasing the latest amps and speakers.

2. Jump on the bandwagon.

As per this blog talk about what’s current. Put your own spin on news and local issues. Blog and use social media to express your thoughts.

Views, likes and shares will draw people to your business and website.

Google favours a popular blog or social media post.

Do this regularly and your website hits and ranking will soar.

3. Go back to basics.

Remind people what you do.

When promoting your own business, it’s easy to get side-tracked and miss out important details in promotions.

Everyone’s in their own world, and new customers follow you on social media.

Show how your service or product will benefit them.

If you need inspiration on what to talk about, get out there and talk to your customers. 

You could hold a workshop, event or inspirational talk, give away free samples etc.

Take feedback on what people like about you and use the answers as a basis for a blog, social media update, newsletter, email or marketing campaign.

4. Timing.

Valentine’s Day was an obvious date to release the film but, it’s also that time of year when everyone needs a boost.

Can you take advantage of up-and-coming local and national events?

Or special occasions and times of the year?

Start planning. Draw up a promotion plan for the year ahead.

You can build up the momentum with teasers on what’s coming up, or for an event, offer incentives like early-bird offers and extra benefits for booking early.

Plan promotions across a variety of platforms.

A well thought-out, creative campaign can perform better than lots of one-off promotions.

Also by planning in advance you get everything done in good time and allow for distractions and delays.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas for your business.

Good luck with your marketing projects.

Vanessa

My service.

Categories
Marketing blog

What does a copywriter do?

I recently received a call from someone who wanted me to copyright their newly written children’s book.

It’s misleading but a copywriter has nothing to do with copyright law.

We have the almighty task of writing for business.

We wear many hats.

We could be a journalist one day, writing a blog the next, and then move onto writing for a website and doing all the research, SEO and behind the scenes tasks that you don’t think about.

The exact role of a copywriter varies.

Some will have a specific job within a company, or if you’re a freelancer every job is different.

Many will have a background in marketing or journalism, and some are skilled in writing for a specific audience such as the medical or law community.

It’s hard to define but we are all writers.

We aim to find the most effective way to connect with the audience and achieve the desired outcome of the job.

Whether it’s to sell, promote a brand, or move up the pages on Google.

Today’s copywriter.

Before online marketing, a copywriter’s role was to research and creatively write for various types of media such as magazines, newspapers, flyers, posters, radio etc.

We still do the above but the role has evolved to writing for and competing in the online world. 

We now

Write with SEO in mind.

Essential to get found by the target audience.

Write for various online platforms.

Such as websites, blogs, emails and social media. There are techniques, tactics and behind the scenes tasks for all.

Develop an all-round marketing strategy.

Looking at each business type, target audience, goals and tactics.

Effectively write for print.

It’s still a good option. It will help compete with online marketing.

Copywriting and marketing go hand-in-hand.

A good copywriter will ask lots of questions.

Be up to speed in the latest SEO techniques, and have experience in writing for different audiences across different platforms.

Example questions a copywriter will ask.

  • What would you like to achieve by hiring me?
  • Tell me about your customers, who do you want to target?
  • What do you want customers to do?
  • What’s your background and what inspires you?
  • How do you differ from the competition?
  • Describe your brand.

I might encourage you to build-up your reviews and testimonials online to help with your SEO and building trust with your customers.

Or suggest trying a print or email campaign for customers what are not on, or responding to social media.

It’s also about knowing when less is more.

Where a few words or decisive sentence is all that’s needed to entice action.

Or when a lengthy blog piece will benefit.

Who can benefit from hiring a copywriter?

Anyone that needs help finding the right words.

If you’re struggling to find the right approach, pondering on how to connect with your customers, or if you simply need some tips on how to write successfully online, a copywriter will cut through the confusion and guide you in the right direction.

A marketing company or a graphic designer.

A perfect combination. Copywriters can write for individual pieces or help out on large marketing projects.

Publications.

A copywriter writes to attract, humour, provoke, gain attention and is well suited to write for magazines and newspapers. Many copywriters are journalists.

Direct with a business.

You could be a small business looking to improve your marketing and attract new customers, or a large established company looking for someone to take a new approach with campaigns and projects.

Whatever your needs, a copywriter will rise to the challenge of the job and help you achieve your goals.

I hope you enjoyed my blog. 

I am a freelance copywriter.

If you would like me to write for your business or publication I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.

Vanessa

My service.

Categories
Marketing blog

The small Welsh businesses doing it for themselves

A Costa coffee? Or a smoother, higher quality coffee at a slightly lower price in calm, cosy and more imaginative surroundings.

Or for tea lovers how about an orange and lemon rooibos tea with a luxurious handmade rose and vanilla truffle to set it off.

A tongue-in-cheek Welsh humoured gift, or maybe some hand made ethical and affordable Welsh jewellery.

Or go vintage and pick up a one off gem of a present that will outshine the rest.

I always notice a small business and there seems to be more popping up in Pembrokeshire and throughout Wales.

And with this re-emergence comes plusher, brighter stores with imaginative surroundings, strong brands, Welsh produced goods, quirky websites and followings on social media that the branded giants just can’t compete with.

Here’s just a taster of the many inspiring small businesses in Wales today.

Small businesses leading the way in Wales

The Chocolate Froglet, TenbyThe Chocolate Froglet Tenby An old fishmongers in a side street of Tenby, is now transformed into a tantalising and charming chocolate shop.

Watch as Karen makes the chocolates in front of you, and choose from the huge selection of truffles, chocolates, fudges, treats and hot drinks. The quality of the chocolate is superb.

Flavour combinations are inspired by cuisine and ingredients from across the globe. In a nut shell, going in this shop will make you and your kids smile.

Cwtch Cafe Pembroke Dock A calm and warm haven Cwtch Cafe is artistically decorated with doors for tables and local art on display.

With friendly owners enjoy quality coffee, home made breads and flavoursome food. The odd cocktail and film night is on offer, and I hear a gallery down stairs may be in the pipeline…

Ffwrn Fishguard A new offering in Fishguard, the owners (very nice French and Welsh), have converted the old town hall into a beautiful French influenced open-plan café/bar.

A long banquet style table sets the scene for social gatherings, and the large French paintings, piano, vintage TV, barrels of beer and delicious fresh pastries all help to create a lovely homely atmosphere.

A perfect setting for musicians to do their thing, they recently showcased some of the best acts at jazz n blues festival Aberjazz.

More like this in Pembrokeshire please!

Vintage GoodsGigi, Fishguard Vintage is big in the cities, but the branded clothes seem to take over in the Shire. So when I come across this little shop I was thrilled.

It was so homely and well decorated I thought it had been there for months but it had just opened. Find old radios, one-off designer clothes and vintage accessories.

The pulling power is simple, be different, stand out from the crowd and discover a new you with a classic vintage find.

No website as yet, but the shop has opened as an extension to Edelweiss Antiques, Gigi is situated at 8a Main Street, Fishguard.

Nom Nom Chocolate Founder Liam Burgess is a Carmarthenshire lad with a love for chocolate. Liam and the team use local produce to create luscious chocolate with interesting flavours such as Welsh lavender and peanut butter.

I sense a strong brand that appeals to the locals, the foodies and those in the know. I look forward to the website and growing popularity of Nom Nom Chocolate.

Black Dragon Crafts In the Carmarthenshire countryside, Annie Wealleans and her team create Celtic inspired, hand crafted jewellery from scratch using pure, naked pewter.

This is an inspiring, ethical and environmentally friendly business.

To give you a taste of how this is achieved take a look at the website, they take you through the process of the jewellery making. I hear they’ve recently enjoyed success in the US..

Cadwaladers

Cadwaladers Starting out in 1927 in Criccieth making ice cream, they’ve expanded their offerings to hot food and drink with cafes throughout Wales.

Their friendly and positive nature (and delicious ice-cream) has helped to build up a huge following and compete with the branded coffee shops.

They post tweets of their ice creams, welcome dogs and give a 10% discount to NHS staff. There’re onto a winner.

Llaeth y Llan Yogurts I had to include this great little co. The draw is simple, high quality yogurt produced in the lush countryside of North Wales.

It’s become a familiar staple in the supermarket (along with a whole load of other Welsh produce). The website is friendly and open, with their story, recipes, competitions and easy contact routes.

The yogurt is delicious and its always good to hear the non Welsh pronounce the ll!

I Loves The DiffI Loves The ‘Diff An innovative company selling quirky Welsh humoured inspired gifts.

They make everything fun and keep their business at the heart of Cardiff and Welsh goings on. Always tweeting and posting funny pics, they’ve built up a huge following.

The website is the right combination of not too cluttered but with enough links and images to keep you interested, it’s also very user friendly and easy to buy from.

Confused.com They’ve made it big using their Welsh roots and humour as a basis for their marketing campaigns…

LandofsavingmoneyandgettingtherightdealgogoGoCompare.com.

Just a few examples of the many out there, it’s clear the small business is making a comeback.

And it’s great to see the Welsh brand growing outside of Wales. It seems we (the Welsh) are finally starting to realise our potential!

If they can do it so can you

In future posts I will explore what it is that makes a small business successful.

I’ll give some practical ideas based on my own and others’ experiences, on how you can find your unique pulling power and give yourself an edge to draw in the customers and keep them coming in.

There are so many more great small businesses out there in all shapes and sizes, which I will no doubt include in later posts.

Let me know if you are one and have something to offer to small business enthusiasts, I’ll write about you in my blog.

About Me

I’m a freelance writer with a background in marketing.

If you would like me to write for your website, marketing or for your publication, then please do get in touch.