Music fes­ti­vals have been a bit thin on the ground in Crouch End of late. All cred­it, then, to Tom Bright, a young and enthu­si­as­tic musi­cian / pro­duc­er / fes­ti­val cre­ator for bring­ing a diverse line­up to the north Lon­don ‘vil­lage’ for the sec­ond year run­ning; a free week­end fundrais­er for the leg­endary Joe Strum­mer Foun­da­tion, packed with up and com­ing musi­cians, pro­vid­ing a sur­feit of amaz­ing and sur­pris­ing talent.

Bright Fest is tak­ing place at The Har­ringay Arms in what was the old bar­rel stor­age room. It’s a small, nar­row space but turn the lights down, get going with the music and fairy­lights and you have an atmos­pher­ic, cozy spot, which encour­ages the crowd to min­gle. And it gets rammed to the rafters dur­ing the evenings.

Over two days, 24 artists each get a 20 minute slot. Some musi­cians are known to Tom, some have arrived cour­tesy of his cura­tion skills, all pro­vid­ing their ser­vices to sup­port the Joe Strum­mer Foundation.

With its tiny stage area, the line­up unsur­pris­ing­ly fea­tures a num­ber of solo singer-song­writ­ers deliv­er­ing stripped back sets. Although a moment of mad­ness ensues at the entrance of Matthew One Man and Any­way Tha God, who wheeled the biggest loop suit­case through the crowd and pre­sent­ed a superb mash of dreamy loops with Any­way Tha God’s steady rap adding an extra dimension.

Local musi­cian Alex RV Phillips took part, just back from Chi­na by way of Paris on a musi­cal, and lit­er­al, jour­ney. His per­for­mance allows his emo­tion­al vocals come to the fore. And Har­ry Quinn, a musi­cian based in Nor­folk, demon­strat­ed his mes­meris­ing, flu­id gui­tar play­ing – there’s a com­plex­i­ty and matu­ri­ty about his pop/soul com­po­si­tions that was very appealing.

Will Pur­due deliv­ered a mem­o­rable set, name­ly for his rich, deep bari­tone which I could have hap­pi­ly spent the whole evening lis­ten­ing to, and his com­po­si­tions too, naked­ly emo­tion­al, raw – one mem­o­rable song about the death of a friend through drugs. He’s just record­ed at The Church record­ing stu­dios next door with the EP com­ing out today.

Will Pur­due

A wow moment came about as the utter­ly poised Natal­ie Lin­di start­ed her set (main pho­to). A warm, engag­ing pres­ence and flaw­less vocals, soul­ful with an influ­ence of Ella Fitzger­ald, are the hall­marks of this recent grad­u­ate. She tells me she’s going to be play­ing at The Trou­ba­dour and Brix­ton’s Oxjam soon. Natal­ie steps down from the stage to rap­tur­ous applause.

Tom is a con­fi­dent, engag­ing per­former with a strong, soul­ful voice. He intro­duces a moment of lev­i­ty with a cheeky song about a romance with a much old­er woman (a non auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal tale, he is at pains to tell us) but he can just as eas­i­ly turn his hand to more seri­ous and polit­i­cal mate­r­i­al too.

Tom Bright

Bright Fest was a lumi­nous event on a rainy autum­nal week­end and pro­vid­ed a plat­form for a whole col­lec­tion of artists. And with the recent clo­sure of two main Crouch End venues (Earl Haig and Hornsey Town Hall), it’s great to have The Har­ringay Arms pro­vid­ing a wel­com­ing home to live music.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *