Petworth Festival launches its new Angel Hat Sessions for young musicians

Petworth Festival organisers are looking for musicians to fill nine informal music-night slots in their new Angel Hat Sessions initiative.

The festival has teamed up with the Angel Inn at Petworth to try to get young, local, up-and-coming musical talent in front of festival-goers as part of a new platform showcase series.

They need local musicians/small bands who are, as the festival says, crying out for a chance to perform in front of a “captured, merry and musically-appreciative audience” during the festival.

The nine sessions will happen over the nine Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the festival, kicking off at 9.30pm (just as the main festival concerts finish). Running on July 16, 17 and 18, July 23, 24 and 25 and July 30, 31 and August 1, the idea is that each will feature a smallish band/solo performer and last about an hour and a quarter.

The sessions will be “hat sessions” in the sense that there will be no fee as such, but a hat will be handed around for donations. Musicians will also be able to plug and sell their own CDs.

Petworth Festival artistic director Stewart Collins said: “The idea comes from a number of different directions, one of which is that after festival events, a festival gang often goes off to various drinking places, particularly the Angel. We always thought it was a shame it didn’t have a festival feel. The atmosphere is always great, but we just thought it would be lovely to continue the festival vibe.

“We spoke with the Angel about putting on some music, and they were very, very up for it, so the idea became to put on some nice festival sessions with young, up-and-coming musicians who are wanting to showcase themselves but perhaps people we wouldn’t otherwise be able to welcome as part of the festival.

“We get a lot of approaches from young musicians wanting to take part, and this will be a nice way of offering them that chance. It’s a little extra something and a way of giving a platform to some young performers who deserve to be seen.”

Stewart is asking anyone keen to take part to get in touch via, including details, background about themselves, plus sound files or links to their music.

“We just need a little bit of information and the chance to hear what they do so that we can come up with the choices and present nine interesting and varied acts as part of this year’s festival.

“We are looking for… whatever! I would think it would have to be smaller groups or individuals, but if they need any kind of amplification, we would need them to be self-sufficient and provide their own.”

As for the festival itself, which runs from July 15-August 1, Stewart is delighted at the response to the programme: “We are ahead of this time last year, and last year break broke all records!”