For four Friday nights every summer the fortress that has protected Guernsey’s harbour for hundreds of years (and is now something of a museum of the more military and maritime sides of island life) becomes the venue for live music and entertainment with the Castle Nights events.
I headed down on Friday 26th July as The Phantom Cosmonaut was playing and had a chance to catch a few of the other acts playing too.
The evening’s music started on the Guernsey Arts Commission Acoustic Stage with Jo and Lydia. Both young ladies are known for their musical skills both solo and in bands and other groups and tonight they showed that, as a duo, they also sound excellent.
With Lydia on the piano and both her and Jo adding vocals the sound was a great start to a relaxed evening of music with many covers from The Eurythmics to Dolly Parton giving a varied feel to their set.
After them on the acoustic stage was Nathan Le Bretton. Armed with just an acoustic guitar his style of rock upped the energy a little but was still spot on to sit and listen to on this sunny evening.
Nathan ended his set with a pair of rarely touched classics in Stairway To Heaven and Space Oddity but he did both justice.
While this was going on to the south of the castle, at its centre, I guess what could be dubbed the main stage, was getting jumping (well a few youngsters were anyway) to The John Wesley Stone.
While their sound was a little on the unbalanced side to start with they soon sorted things out and, while most were content sitting down enjoying a picnic, and the band suitably played a comparatively toned down set, it was clear many were enjoying the country-folk sounds on offer. By the end of the band’s set they had many youngsters (and a few others) up and dancing and it has to be said that for a sunny family night out there are few better on the island than The John Wesley Stone.
Before my alter-ego made a racket on the acoustic stage, Dominique Ogier continued the mellow theme with her selection of tunes. Having only seen her perform a couple of times over the last few years it was nice to catch her set again as she combines and excellent voice (which can now be heard fronting new band Static Alice) with some great guitar work and certainly she is a performer worth keeping an eye out for.
With around 2000 people once again heading down to Castle Cornet this event has become a great place for bands and musicians to showcase their sounds to an audience who don’t necessarily usually head to gigs in the island’s pubs and, if tonight was anything to go by, they enjoy it a lot.