Live Music Review: Nottingham Waterfront Festival 2018 at Canalhouse

24 August 18 words: Anna Marshall
photos: Tom Morley

A whole array of galactic delights awaited us at this year’s Nottingham Waterfront Festival…

Where else can you get 32 acts, sci-fi fancy dress, and not a portaloo in sight for a mere £7, with all proceeds going to local charities? 

This year the Nottingham Waterfront Festival raised money for Emmanuel House, which provides food, nursing and advice to homeless and vulnerable people in the city centre, as well as Nottingham University Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Centre. 

There was a healthy mix of female artists this year, including band Witches Mark; a laid-back blues act with punk riffs. They are unusual in that the female drummer is also the vocalist, who entertained with jokes in between songs.  It was nice to see a drummer getting some of the limelight for a change. Outside on the Under The Tree Stage rapper Alice Short gave a gritty honest performance, packed full of emotion and attitude. Her lyrics paint a picture of the gutsy determination of someone born and raised in Nottingham. The canal back dropping her performance gave it an added atmospheric resonance. 

Upstairs on the LeftLion stage Madeline Rust engaged us with ambient prog-rock distortion, and for some variety we were treated to a graffiti battle with Rikki Marr and Raphael Achache which ended up as a man with a moustache riding a dolphin and throwing a grenade at a monster.

We Notts folk always turn out for a good cause, and we like to do it in style.

Taking us into the unknown, Stacey McMullen performed alongside a drummer and bass player for the first time. Although the passion and the melodies could be heard, his lyrics and intricate guitar playing were drowned out compared to his usual solo act. His song Who Gives a Damn, in Nottingham? was fitting for the event, as its purpose was to raise money for local good causes.

There was also plenty to keep metal fans busy, with performances from Baby Tap, White Skull Death Snakes of Death and Unqualified Nurse Band to names but a few. No sci-fi themed event would be complete without a cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity, performed in beautiful harmonies by female duo Bonbinome.

In keeping with the fundraising vibe there was a raffle with prizes, including a free manicure at Code and twenty pounds for you and your mates to get sloshed at Brewdog. Vegetarian and meat burgers were also on offer outside, so there was no need to lose your seat walking to the local kebab shop halfway through the day. The Canalhouse Bar also open an extra bar outside for events and busy days so there was no queues to get a drink despite the event being a sell-out. 

This year the festival managed to raise a whoopin’ £3989 for charity. I'm already looking forward to seeing what the festival will muster up for 2019.

Waterfront Festival 2018 took place at Canalhouse on Saturday 18 August

Waterfront Festival website

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