Festival on the Close – G4 + Lesley Garrett

Festival on the Close

G4 and Lesley Garrett opened Festival on the Close 2017 in Rugby tonight, representing a whole series of landmarks, and a couple of “firsts” for this writer. This is by far the biggest event of its kind that Rugby School has promoted. It may even be the biggest series of events seen in the town; certainly in recent times.

Festival on the CloseFestival on the Close

Whilst the Festival on the Close is being developed for the future, the background to the events this year is the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the school. Perhaps less famous globally than the game it spawned the school is a major part of the town, and that brings me to me personal “firsts”. I have lived in the area for more than a quarter of a century, and until tonight I have not set foot in the place! It is impressive with an atmosphere of the old-world and tradition, which makes the festival all the more special.

Festival on the Close

The school has opened its doors to the public, contemporary music, and the development of music through the festival. Students from a range of schools and academies are involved in concerts and workshops, and judging from the enthusiasm on show from organisers and attendees, and on the evidence of tonight’s events, this can only be a success.

So onto another of my “firsts”. Tonight is the first time this reviewer would have been within miles of anyone associated with the X-Factor. This is so far outside my standard fare that I didn’t really know what to expect so I sat back and let my fellow audience members give the response.

Festival on the Close

I should qualify the X-Factor reference by noting that G4 were finalists in that competition before it plumbed the depths and became the pantomime we see today. Guildhall graduates to a man, these guys have the voices and personalities to give a great show and that’s what the audience received. It was not necessarily my kind of thing but as an event it was superb, and the crowd loved it.

Festival on the Close

There were two additional elements that made the event special. The first was the appearance of the PQA choir who charmed the audience through their own performance, as well as joining in with G4. The second was Lesley Garrett. The G4 guys know what they are doing and they are to be admired even if, like me, you don’t really get it. Lesley Garrett transcends all that. Like a handful of performers she brings something magical on to the stage. She could sing nursery rhymes and it would still be something special.

Festival on the Close

The set comprised of a mix of material from G4 which included songs from their new Love Songs album.  These included “Love Changes Everything”, “Go the Distance”, “All I Ask of You” with Lesley and their great version of The Osmonds “Love Me for a Reason”.  The two sets were concluded with  all the performers on stage with the choir, singing “Nessun Dorma” to close the first set and a full  “Barcelona” to close the second.

Festival on the Close

Congratulations to Rugby School for a successful opening night of Festival on the Close. They have constructed a venue and set the standard for the rest of the events this week. Brumlive.com will be covering The National Youth Jazz Orchestra and Laura Mvula this week so watch this space for more coverage!

Review: Ian Gelling

Photographs: Stephanie Colledge

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