So, Liverpool’s MSF has finally been axed in an torrent of righteous civic reasoning: its cost, its burden on the rate payer, the fact that it didn’t give Liverpool good marketing head, the dire quality of its lookalikee, soundalottee-like the Beatles bands and the staple rhetorical ingredient that has everyone nodding vigorously: the plethora of out of control drunken youth and elders who should know better who spitted and slavered and vomited their way through days of debauchery, inchoate vileness and early morning urban horror when you forgot where you parked your car and which hedge you left that stash of Special Brew under. Oh sorry, where they forgot to park their car and forgot the hedge that they left that stash of Special Brew under.
The inability to find anyone who will speak up for the MSF is curious. Is there no-one out there who admits to having affectionate memories of its tawdriness? I for one will remember it fondly; the afternoons of hanging out with the squash team and assorted wives, girl friends and partners, strolling through the deserted commercial district, bereft of business purpose for a few short hours, as we guzzled down can upon can, stuffed kebabs into our faces and generally appreciated the diabolical renderings of songs we knew, loved and now felt sorry for as they were being mutilated by bands of cough cough aged hairy blokes thrashing at their guitars in misguided attempts to recreate Woodstock in the back alleys off Duke Street.
For all the mess and spit and spew, many of us did have some good times during those August afternoons and whilst the booking of the RLPO in Sefton Park might be useful in civilising us all a tad more, and those family friendly days will bring out the tots with their previously scared mums and dads, nothing will quite beat the experience of listening, astonished, to those assorted ‘tribute’ bands with hackneyed names and shocking hair styles.
No doubt within a couple of years, though, the call will go out for a city centre music festival that can capture the mess, sound and incoherent fury that all good rock and pop encapsulates. Until then, we’ll sit around Sefton Park lake like the good modern citizens we are, and applaud the endeavours of our city fathers in helping make the city a reasonable, polite place to live in.
4 thoughts on “Farewell then, the Matthew Street Festival: you will not be missed it seems…”
I might add that the ‘booking’ of the RLPO happens every year anyway, always gets a massive crowd and is therefore already popular in it’s own right. It has merely been moved from Pier Head to Sefton Park for this year…
Terrific Brendan. I’ve been myself too on several occasions and have always enjoyed it. My wistfulness here is the seemingly inexorable desire to clean up everything in the city: coupled to a puzzle as to why no-one seems to want to speak up for the MSF. That kind of silence is always un-nerving.
It’s about time Liverpool moved on from all that is ‘The Beatles’ related isn’t it? Furthermore, just as in Cardiff and Nottingham, the local council has cut funding completely to all of the professional touring theatre/music companies anyway so the ‘look-a-likes’ would not get a look in (and rightly so, given the circs.)The Phil have played large open air venues since I moved to Liverpool in 1992. So it was never ‘either or’. The orchestra plays lots of ‘pop’ songs anyway. (Quel domage).