» CHAPTER TWO – Hot Sunny Days in the Isle of Man

CHAPTER TWO – Hot Sunny Days in the Isle of Man

Well, it was a blistering hot day but extremely worthwhile – another 400 people registered all collected in the middle of a field in the middle of the country in the middle of the Isle of Man. Who? What? Where?

Yes, you’ve guessed it – it was the Royal Show at Sulby. Manx Telecom (just when you think they can’t do any more to help to make a success of next year’s festival they push that bar even further!!) had their own marquee at the Show and Voirrey (I did say to her I would mention how good she is – which she is!)contacted us a few weeks ago to ask did we want a small marquee alongside theirs and they’ll put up banners for us and all we would have to do is ‘man it’ (or in our case ‘lady’ it – my wife, Diane, daughters Peggy and Lucy….well actually that was yesterday, Friday, but today it is ‘man’ it as it is my son Jamie’s turn and also ‘lady’ it as he is there with his girlfriend Hannah.

Their mission today, if they accept it, is to achieve another 400 and we will have tipped the level of 7,000 registrants. STOP PRESS The news has just arrived from the North … we have now tipped the 7,000. Jamie has just phoned to confirm that they signed up just over 500 today – (I’m actually pretending today is still Saturday in true journalistic terms, but I’ve had a sleep since then (well not much of one actually as my shoulder has developed some kind of man flu which kept me awake) and I’ve now started again at 6.23am Sunday morning).

There are a load of advantages to being registered but just a few is that if you do you are ahead of the main rush for the tickets and also you won’t have to endure long queues to stand in for hours as you can book from the comfort of your own comfortable armchair and shooting slippers.

Ironically, I understand the Royal Show moves to Knockaloe in 2011 which we were going to share the fields with them. The idea was we ran the Peel Bay Festival in 2008 from there then shared as soon as they moved. But anyone who has followed this saga will know a rerun of the PBF hit the Peel Bay Rocks after a slight fall out I had with the then Minister of Tourism (or ‘Doomism’ as he was christened by one of our merry band). I suppose that fall out was the reason that the PBF is now confined to the annals of history but for those that were there, it is a story worth telling their grandchildren as they are now in an exclusive club. However, we now have a new Minister of Tourism who is very supportive of another festival and is actually one of our registrants! And with the lessons learned in 2007, it means we are going to ensure we deliver an even better festival in Nobles Park next June so you can tell your grandchildren that you were at the very first Manx Telecom Bay Festival….on the assumption you are there of course! (valid tickets only!!)

Have you seen ‘Transition’ yet? If not, why not? It is our promotional DVD that you can view on this site or YouTube (please type in ‘Bay Festival 2010’). It is heavily symbolic and tells the story of….well if you are interested to read on or if not fast forward to the Epilogue – this is where we split transmissions!

Are you still there? Anyway Diane gave to me at Christmas ‘Chicane’s Greatest Hits’ (which was interesting as I hadn’t really heard of them before but when I listened to it I realised there was a track on there that was my inspiration to actually kick start this Festival again – ‘Don’t Give Up!’ (a collaboration between Chicane and Bryan Adams) Jamie and I watched on Sky last October, by pure chance, this festival that Adams played at in Ireland in circa 2006 and this ‘trance’ track featured in his set and we found it EXTREMELY infectious and prophetic. We recorded it which received a LOT of replays! Listen to the lyrics – it applies to us ALL and it gave me the inspiration/encouragement to try again (so if this next festival fails through lack of support – thus condemning all such large-scale IOM festivals to the annals of history (as if it doesn’t work in Douglas it won’t work anywhere) it will be my wife’s fault for giving me the CD…so she will only have herself to blame!…no point trying to apportion any onto me! You’ve read it here first!!).

So the track on ‘Chicane’s Greatest Hits’ that I felt fitted our profile extremely well is ‘Saltwater’. It is another collaboration, this time between Chicane and Máire Brennan of Clannad. As you will hear it is a strong combination of haunting Celtic vocals and trance/dance music which I thought sat really well with the ‘vision’. I better warn you now that the video is choreographed EXACTLY to the music and some viewers may find the fast-moving aerial photography a bit disorientating or ‘flashing’.

This CD received a lot of plays in my car as I traveled around with my work but mainly between our house in Peel and the plantation I take our dog for a walk, some 5 miles away. I listened to this track so many times in the car from January to June (trying to come up with the best storyline to fit and then fine tune it) that the dog could hum the tune by June! Which just bears out the news headline I’ve just heard whilst writing this that some dogs are as intelligent as 2-year-old children! Have they met our dog?

Trying to explain to the helicopter crew what I wanted was an interesting experience. I hired the helicopter that was over filming the TT this year for North One, who was extremely helpful in arranging the availability. However, I did feel that the cost of hire for the hour’s filming should have entitled me to shares in the helicopter but that is another matter.

For insurance purposes I wasn’t allowed to go up in the helicopter – even though I thought I owned shares in this by now, but that is another matter. So Jamie and I are sat in the fire station at the end of Ronaldsway airport on the Thursday afternoon of Race Week trying to explain what I wanted. I had written a second by second ‘storyboard’ and gave the Pilot and the Cameraman a copy. I had also prepared a map. “Are you sure I can’t come up with you as it would be FAR easier?” “No sorry mate it’s the insurance!” They were two extremely pleasant and helpful people but rules are unfortunately rules!..even though I thought I owned shares, but that is another matter.

I said “any way the most important bit out of the whole lot by far is when you do 2 circles over Peel you have to make sure your crossover point is EXACTLY the same as when you do your run through to Port Erin i.e. I need to ‘reverse out’ of the footage of the PBF in slow-mo to create the feel of uncertainty of its future and on the crossover point I’ll stop the footage for a split second and then we hurtle forwards off to Port Erin”.

Knowing they had another job to do whilst they were ‘up there’ which they were running late so I had to ‘download’ to them in 3 minutes something I had been living with for 6 months! “So do we turn left here”, “no you turn right, it tells you here on the script…although I admit not very clear ”. “How low can you fly?” “Lower than you might think, do you want me to fly low coming into Peel and rise up as we reach land? We did something similar the other night for the TT broadcast, hovering over the Grandstand.” “Perfect!” I said, “just train your camera on the sea and hold it there until you are near the breakwater.” “Where’s the breakwater?” “You’ll find it”. “Do you want me to enter Port Erin sweeping clockwise or anti-clockwise?” “Anti-clockwise, it tells you here on the script …although I admit not very clearly. Port Erin is anti, Castletown is clockwise, Ramsey is anti and Douglas is anti”. “How many circles do you want of each bay?” “Two, it tells you here on the script …although I admit not very clearly. Are you sure I can’t come with you? I think I now own shares in this helicopter anyway!” “No, sorry but I think we’ve got the gist of it now…. but we’ll have to rush.”

I thought if this turns out ANYTHING like I have scripted it will be an absolute miracle. So I resigned myself to just accepting whatever they gave me (as they were filming in it HD and there was no way I could view it until it was converted and by then they will have left the Island) and writing the story around whatever I had. Anyway, after an hour and a half, they arrived back at the Fire Station, handed me the raw footage and I’m extremely pleased to report that when I eventually viewed it they had done EXACTLY what I wanted – what pros!

However, what was that missile they filmed over Laxey Bay turning back on itself and crisscrossing? Take a look.

The next stage was to cut all this footage from the PBF in 2007 (7 nights worth) and 1 hour of aerial photography into a 3 minute and 35 second DVD. I met up with Peter Duke from Duke Video who introduced me to Simon who runs his editing suite. Simon converted the raw footage from HD into a standard DVD so I spent the weekend viewing it over and over again making notes. But in the meantime, I left the soundtrack and storyboard script with Simon.

On Monday afternoon I went in and was introduced to Mike who had been given the unenviable task of working with me to edit it. The first thing Mike said, “I’ve gone through it this morning and it’s too long at 3.5 minutes, we need to cut it down.” I thought ‘aw Gawd, another potential problem… a battle of wills is going to ensue here’. So I said, “let’s see how my script pans out and if at the end you don’t see the merit then we will look to cut it”. Mike replied, “fair enough, I’m just used to people coming in here not really knowing exactly what they want but I can see you do.“ And from that point on we got on like a house on fire and we bounced ideas off each other and democracy ruled and it just got better and better.

After 3 days we had a ‘rough draft’ and I took it home to show the family. After about 10 reruns we started with ideas: Jamie suggested we show the energy/spirit of the PBF being transported to Douglas; Diane suggested that the energy/spirit explodes into Nobles Park; Peggy suggested we had a load of flame swirling behind the appearing logo and Lucy suggested we all had a cup of tea.

All very useful and welcome comments, especially the tea. I went back to Mike who in the meantime had very brilliantly edited The Who footage to choreograph exactly to the music – please watch it and you’ll see what I mean…especially the bit where Roger Daltrey catches the microphone on the finish of the riff. Also, I like the way that he ‘ghosted’ Townshend and Daltrey over Peel Castle.

The ‘crossover’ bit I referred to earlier from the helicopter was the only thing that didn’t happen the way I wanted. The Pilot had the right path but just too high. I said fly towards the PBF field so we can cut in the PBF footage and then turnaround by the Switchback and fly back over the crossover point and then head to Port Erin. Unfortunately, his entry height to the second sweep of the Bay was too low compared to his fly over heading south. However, Mike did some very clever editing which works probably better than originally intended. At that point, I told him to ‘suck out of the ground’ from the Festival field the ENERGY/SPIRIT ORB and he came up with the idea of the swirling mass you see on the footage which the camera follows in its search for a new home.

So what does it all mean? It portrays the ‘Transition’ between the PBF roots of 2007 and moving all that knowledge and energy to put this event onto a national footing into the heart of the Island’s capital. It starts with the swirling cloud of the ‘pre-birth’, then the idea is born and the cloud starts to break and as the idea starts to develop the ‘fog’ starts to completely clear and we gain some momentum as we sweep in over Peel Bay and then the rush starts to get it ready in time as the flight breaks to the right over Peel Castle and does 2 laps of the Bay and then bang the PBF is in ‘full flight’. There then follows 69 seconds of the actual PBF footage (memorable stuff!) and then the festival is over and there is all the ‘fog’ of uncertainty – will it or will it not happen again? Is it finished forevermore?

After 2 years finally, the decision is taken to hold it again and the ‘fog’ lifts and then all that PBF energy/spirit is to be set free in the search of another home. The search then begins seeking out all the major bays of the Isle of Man and ends up exploding into Nobles Park where it will be held next June between 18th and 20th.

So, in the end, did Mike agree that it was still too long?….No, he thought the timing was just right based on the context. I would like to register a BIG thank you for his good humor, accommodation, and brilliant editing skills – nearly as good as the script!!

And finally….
”and so who’ve you got for next year then?” is a question I get asked all the time. In fact, if I had a pound for every time I have been asked that it would have gone a long way to plugging the financial hole of 2007. However, the honest answer right this minute (and the next) is NO ONE! However, Lenny Conroy from Triskel Promotions (the chap who is bringing the Kaiser Chiefs to the Island this month)and myself are on to it!

The problem is that all the London agents I used in 2006 for 2007 have all said that they are still trying to sort their artists’ tours for the rest of this year first. And ALL have said, “come back early September”.

So we’ll be there on Tuesday 1st September at 11 am (they start late and finish late) chasing them all to see if we can get our ‘wish list’ to come true. However, we will have our line up finalized by the end of September and be on sale early November…keep watching this space.

So tune in next time for “Good God…. it’s like the Gestapo have arrived”.… I know I said that at the end of the last Chapter but it is now 8.50PM NOW on Sunday 9th August and I’ve had enough for today and I think you’ve had more than enough if indeed you are still there, after all, it is Sunday and I’m meant to be pretending it’s still Saturday…life is so confusing!

So tune in next time for “Good God…. it’s like the Gestapo have arrived”.

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