Friday, 19 September 2014

Celebrate the harvest with Lancaster's Local Food Month

Click image for the Food Month programme
October is the season of fruitfulness and harvests and this year it will also be Lancaster's first Local Food Month, featuring a month of free events, talks and tours, held in venues throughout Lancaster and celebrating Lancaster's local food movement. 

Coordinated by Transition City Lancaster, and organised by an array of local community groups and organisations, there should be something to tempt everyone. As the Incredible Edible group says, “if you eat, you’re in!”

Here are a few tasty teasers: a Forage walk, a Pot Luck evening, Tree planting, Community food cycle tour, Seed library launch, seed bombing, talks on exciting new projects hoping to make the buying and eating of local food* more easy...

You can view the full programme as a pdf here or find the 'Food Month' events on our Virtual-Lancaster events calendar.

Local Food Assembly Plans
On Wednesday 1st October from 7.30pm at the Quaker Meeting House you can find out about plans to set up a local food assembly in Lancaster.  This is a new way of buying and selling food where you can buy local food directly from farmers and food producers online and collect it from a local venue where you can also meet the people who made it! Check out Lancaster Food Assembly on facebook.

The first Food Assembly took place in France in 2011 and there are now over 500 across France, Belgium and Spain.  Joanne Halliwell is organising a Food Assembly for the Lancaster area to make local food more accessible to those of  us who are at work during the week, and to help build connections with our local producers. Come along  and find out what it involves.   Bring questions and ideas for how we can make Lancaster’s Food Assembly fit our local needs and preferences.

Growing Our Local Food Economy
Local sustainability champion LESS UK is a Lancaster based not-for-profit organisation that has put together an online directory of local food producers (you can see it here) and is in the process of launching a new project called  GOLFE - the Growing Our Local Food Economy project.

The GOLFE project aims, to support people living in the Lancaster district to buy and eat more local food and you can find out more about all this at the ‘Reclaiming Our Food System debate’ on October 23rd at 7pm at the Storey.

LESS would like to find out about your experiences and what might be done to help you eat more local food. They have put together a survey and would greatly appreciate it if people could take a moment or two to complete it online here.

*'Local food' means food grown, produced or processed within a 20 mile radius of Lancaster. This includes Blackpool, Garstang, Ingleton and South Lakeland. Local food also includes food grown by you at home. 

Bands at the Brewery rock up for charity

On Saturday 4 October from 7.30pm, local charity Thumbprint is hosting Bands at the Brewery at Lancaster Brewery, raising funds to cover essential overhead costs at their base at Cornerstone 
in Lancaster.  On the bill are four up-and-coming northern bands: The Alleys, The Hymek, mylittlebrother and The Unsung. With a variety of rock, indie, funk and acoustic music it'll be a great night out!

This fun and friendly night will give you the chance to sample some Lancashire ales and ciders fresh from the tap, tuck into local food and listen to a festival of Northern musical talent. All while raising money for a very useful cause.

Thumbprint is a Lancaster based charity that was established in 2002. They work to help people with learning difficulties to set up and run projects, develop their employability skills and have fun! 

Current projects run by members with the support of Thumbprint are: an ink cartridge recycling company, a social enterprise project that makes custom mosaic signs and a food growing project on land made available by Lancaster Brewery, which is based at Lancaster Leisure Park on Wyresdale Road, LA1 3LA.
Tickets are £15 (£10 Concessions)* and include two Lancaster Brewery Beer / soft drink Vouchers and Fish & Chips (Vegetarian, gluten free and alternative 'chip shop' options are also available). 

You can buy tickets: in person from Lancaster Visitor Information Centre and Lancaster Brewery, and 
online (plus £1.50bf) at, or by phone on 01524 582394.Find Thumbprint online:, @thumbprintteam, and

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sunday Assembly Lancaster relaunches - Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More

On September 28 the Sunday Assembly Lancaster will become one of 100 Sunday Assemblies across the globe meeting simultaneously. They'll be getting together at 11am at the Gregson Centre and the month's theme will be ‘Gathering’.

In particular they'll be gathering donations and useful items for Lancaster Women’s Shelter [see list of useful items below].

Sunday Assembly is a non-religious group that meets once a month to hear short inspiring talks, sing secular (non-religious) songs together, drink tea and eat cake (please feel free to bake / bring cake to share :-), and to build a community – families are welcome.

It's a cultural phenomenon started in London by stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans. The Sunday Assembly motto is: Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More. Anyone is welcome – and the content is purely secular (no references to god), but people of any religion are also invited to join.

To find out more visit their facebook page or call James on 01524 35757.

List of particularly useful items for Women's Shelter:
- Second hand women's clothes
- food treats such as biscuits, chocolates
- shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, bubble bath,
- unwanted birthday and christmas pressies (not wrapped as they will unwrap everything when it arrives so they can give it to the most appropriate person)
-seconds hand pans, plates, bowls, cutlery, towels, single bedding
- new underwear (all sizes and styles!)
- new nightwear
- new gifts for children such as children's bubble bath, colouring sets etc, (no second hand children's toys)

From October (19) onwards the Assembly will meet at the Gregson at 11am on the third Sunday of every month.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dock of the Bay Music Festival 2014 at Glasson this Saturday

This Saturday 20 September sees the Dock of the Bay Festival 2014 bring 12+ hours of music to Glasson Dock. From 12 noon to 6.45pm the Melodrome Stage will sit in a handy field exhibiting an eclectic line-up of popular performers from near and far - as can be seen in the line-up below - and from 6pm until whenever there will be music in Glasson Village Hall from an excellent line-up, including Emma and the Professor and the very, very funny Captain Hotknives.

We are still trying to find out the deal regarding tickets (and will update here when we do) but I wouldn't worry about it. In previous years it has been donations-based (£5 - £10) for music events and camping, with monies raised going towards the upkeep of the village hall.

Speaking of camping, there will be camping from Friday until Sunday, food, jam sessions of various genres, a bonfire and considerable bucolic joie-de-vivre and conviviality. Here's the line-up:

Melodrome Stage

12pm 78s
12.30pm Chas Ambler
12.50pm Carole MacMillan
1.05pm Maudlin Hertz
1.30pm Freya Daisy
1.55pm Paul Pearson
2.20pm Ronnie French
2.40pm plus Laura Andrews
2.50pm Laura Andrews quartet
3.10pm Matt Cowe
3.35pm Hiroshima Twinkie
4.00pm Jay Blackburn
4.25pm Chas Ambler
4.45pm tbc
5.00pm Sam Johnston Ensemble
5.25pm Mini-king
5.50pm Trevor Meaney
6.00pm Paddy Rogan
6.25pm My friend and I

line up for the village hall (pm)
6.00 - 6.25 Dead Republic
6.40 - 7.05 Antivist
7.15 - 7.40 Ark
7.50 - 815 Hairpiece Suite
8.30 - 8.55 Owen Saunders
9.10 - 9.45 Emma and the Professor
9.55 - 10.30 Captain Hotknives
10.40 - 11.20 Guns of Navarone
11.30 till they drop: Convulsions

Local Cinema Round-Up for 17th to 25th September by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

We have three new releases during this period. There is drama with The Riot Club (15), action/adventure with A Walk Among the Tombstones (15), and science fiction with The Giver (12A). In addition we see the return of three favourites. Animation with Frozen & Wreck-it Ralph, comedy with Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie.

We have lost the horror film As Above, So Below and the excellent Maleficent. In addition it is likely that The Inbetweeners 2 and The Nut Job will soon cease to be screened.

Recommended for high culture is Madame Butterfly; Salome & Wilde Salome and RSC Encore: The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Given the dearth of main stream horror films at the moment, there is a welcome screening of the Gothic masterpiece from the 1920s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at the Dukes.


A Most Wanted Man
Director: Anton Corbijn
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Rachel McAdams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe, Grigoriy Dabrygin
The film is an adaptation of John le Carre's novel of the same name and is also the last role of the late Philip Hoffman. Gunther Bachmann (Hoffman) is an intelligence officer working in Hamburg who becomes aware of a tortured half Chechen half Russian immigrant Issar Karpov (Dabrygin) who has arrived in Hamburg to claim asylum and seek his fathers fortune. However is the immigrant a victim or is he a terrorist? If the latter could he be played to lead the security forces to others higher in the terrorist chain? Hoffman steals much of the film with his world weary character and the movie unfolds by covert meetings and dark conversations. This is an intricate, well directed, gripping espionage film.

A Walk Among The Tombstones
Director: Scott Frank
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Liam Neeson, Ruth Wilson, David Harbour, Robert Boyd Holbrook, Dan Stevens, Adam David Thompson, Brian Bradley
Set in 1999 and based on the tenth book in Lawrence Block's best selling crime series. Matt Scudder (Neeson) used to be an alcoholic police officer until a disastrous shootout caused him to give up both. Now he works as an unlicensed private eye and, with some reluctance, he agrees to help find the men who kidnapped and killed the wife of a drug trafficker (Stevens). Scudder discovers the kidnappers are serial killers and, helped by a homeless teenager (Bradley), who acts as his apprentice he tracks them down. Neeson gives a strong performance in this atmospheric thriller. There are quite a few sub plots during the course of this movie as it builds to up a violent conclusion. A fine film.

Before I Go to Sleep
Director: Rowan Joffe
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Anne-Marie Duff, Mark Strong
A movie based on the best selling 2011 book by S J Watson. Christine Lucas (Kidman) suffered a head trauma thirteen years ago, with the consequence that she starts each day with no memories of the past thirteen years. She does not recognise her husband, her doctor nor even her own face. To try make sense of her world, she starts to keep a video diary and in this way can begin to get some continuity in her thoughts. However this reveals that her husband Ben (Firth) and her doctor (Strong) are concealing something from her. This film is a psychological thriller which successfully builds suspense with twists to the plot and some false trails. An enjoyable thriller.

Earth to Echo
Director: Dave Green
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Teo Halm, Ella Linnea Wahlestedt, Reese C. Hartwig, Jason Gray-Stanford
A construction project is destroying a neighbourhood when a group of friends start to receive strange signals on their phones. They search for the origin of the signals and discover an alien who has become trapped on earth. The film tells the story of the youngsters as they battle the government and help the alien return to his home. It is hard not to compare this film with 'E.T.' However the movie is really about the youthful friendships rather than an extra-terrestrial. A entertaining if rather average family film.

Director: Chris Buck
Certificate PG
Cast Includes Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad,Alan Tudyk, Jonathan Groff
This Disney musical animation is loosely based on the fairy tale 'The Snow Queen' who has condemned a kingdom to eternal winter. It is up to Anna (sister to the snow queen) and a loner Kristoff to undertake an epic journey to find the Snow Queen and convince her to lift the icy spell. This is a magical movie destined to become a classic. It will appeal to families and children of all ages.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Michael Rooker, Lee Pace
An action packed space adventure from Marvel. Adventurer Peter Quill (Pratt) steals a mysterious artifact which is wanted by the villain Ronan (Pace) who wishes to use it to destroy the planet of Xandar. This forces Quill into a truce with a group of misfits (including Rocket a talking raccoon and groot a walking tree) who find they must make a stand to determine the fate of the galaxy. This is a very 'busy' film with lots of spectacular action, plenty of great characters, great one liners and lots of jokes. The plot seemed a little convoluted, but just go with it and enjoy the action. The movie does not take itself very seriously and will be loved by teenagers and adults alike.

Director: Luc Besson
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
Lucy (Johansson), a rather average American woman visiting Taiwan, is kidnapped by gangsters, abused and made to smuggle an experimental new drug which is sewn into her stomach. However a beating received by one of the gangsters causes the bag to rupture and she absorbs the drug, with the effect of increasing the efficiency of her brain. This leads her to outgrow her physical and mental limitations as she develops vast intellect and formidable psychic powers. Lucy can now take her revenge. This is a fun film with the story told from Lucy's point of view. However as her powers develop the revenge part of the movie becomes very one sided and the film sacrifices action sequences for a quest to understand her evolution into something that is beyond human.

Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
Director: Ben Kellett
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Brendan O'Carroll
Agnes Brown (O'Carroll) is a market trader who finds her livelihood under threat from a property developer. Supported by her family she embarks on a crusade to save her stall. This is a movie adaption of the well known and much loved BBC comedy and was extremely successful in its opening weekend. The film is a very capable comedy that captures the spirit of the TV series.

Director: Matthew Warchus
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Bill Nighty, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton Joe Gilgun, Ben Schnetzer
The film is based on a true story and is set in the summer of 1984 during the miners strike. Mark Ashton, a member of a London based gay and lesbian group organises a collection for the miners. However when the group came to offer the donation, they were rebuffed due to prejudice (the AIDs epidemic is one of the backdrops to the film). The group therefore decide to bus to a mining village in the Welsh Dulais Valley to make the donation personally. This movie is played for laughs. It is an excellent comedy supported by an excellent cast and it explores the clash of two very different cultures.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez
Certificate: 18
Cast includes: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Eva Green, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Clive Owen
It has been nine years since the initial Sin City was released, based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller. This film has the same spirit (and some of the same characters) as the original and again is shot in black and white (relieved with effective splashes of colour). It is shot in a style half way between live action and animation. The film comprises a couple of interlocking narratives. There is the return of Senator Roark (Boothe) which gives some of the characters motive for revenge. Also there is the relationship between Dwight McCarthy (Owen) and his ex Ava (Green) who gets him to commit murder. The film has an impressive cast, nudity and stylised violence as it explores power and its abuse.

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon
A Walt Disney adaptation of the 2010 novel by Richard C Morais. The Kadam's are an Indian family that were displaced due to political rioting. They arrive at a quaint but rather conservative French Village and decide to open an Indian Restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. However just across the road is a classical, Michelin starred restaurant Le Saule Pleureur run by Madame Mallory (Mirren). This leads to fall-outs and ultimately sabotage between the two institutions. Meanwhile Hassan (Dayal) the master cook of the Indian restaurant begins a flirtation with Marguerite (Le Bon), the sous chef of Mme Mallory's restaurant. This is a well acted and endearing movie with plenty of laughs. Entertaining but lacking suspense.

The Nut Job
Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl
Set in the 1950s, this animation follows the adventures of Surly the squirrel who, with his friend Buddy the rat, plan to steal from Maury's Nut shop. However the shop proves to be a front for gangsters who are planning to rob the nearby bank. This combination leads to action, car chases jokes and general mayhem. This is an inoffensive film that will amuse children but leave parents a little bored. An enjoyable romp, but not destined to be a cartoon classic.

Wreck it Ralph
Director: Rich Moore
Certificate: PG
Film animation starring video game characters. Wreck it Ralph rebels against continually being the bad guy and being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix. He jumps into different video games to prove himself a hero. He meets a champion (Sargent Calhoun) from a first person action game and the trouble-making Vanellope von Schweetz from a racing game. Ralph inadvertently unleashes the enemy of the arcade and must strive to made amends. This film is a great and very enjoyable piece of hokum. Kids will be enthralled and computer gamers will revel in the in-jokes and gaming references.

More Fool Me: Stephen Fry By Satellite at The Dukes

Enjoy an evening in the company of Stephen Fry live by satellite at Lancaster’s Dukes cinema this autumn.
This national treasure famous for his prolific television and radio work, celebrates the release of his latest autobiography with an event broadcast live into cinemas from London’s Royal Festival Hall on 1st October.
The celebrated actor, presenter, writer and polymath will be reading extracts from his book full of witty anecdotes and insightful observations.
• Tickets for Stephen Fry: More Fool Me are £13/£12concessions (a £1 per transaction fee applies when booking online). For more information and to book, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit

Appeal after 22 year old man assaulted in Lancaster town centre

Police are appealing for information after a 22-year-old man was assaulted in Lancaster town centre.

The incident happened at around 2.30am on the morning of Sunday 7th September. The victim was at the Halifax cash machine on Penny Street talking to three women who had been on a night out.

The three women are reported to have been arguing with a man who then went on to follow the 22 year old into an alleyway and punched him several times in the face.

The victim was treated at Royal Lancaster Infirmary for a suspected broken cheekbone.

The man is described as a white, approximately 5ft 6 tall with short straight blonde hair. He was wearing a blue Ralph Lauren t-shirt with a logo on the front. 

The three women who may have witnessed the incident are thought to be in their early 20s. One is described as a black female and two of the women are described as white.

“I am keen to speak to anyone that may have witnessed this incident," said DC Trevor Walker of Lancaster Police, "and particularly the three women that had been speaking with the victim as I believe they may hold vital information about what happened.”

• Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting BA1407010. Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court

Police launch "Week of Action" to highlight dangers of irresponsible drinking

Police across Lancashire are highlighting the dangers of irresponsible drinking as part of a week of action calling for residents to drink sensibly and consider the impact of excessive drinking on police resources.

Drink related anti-social behaviour is the most common form that people experience and 72% of assaults requiring treatment are alcohol related.

Officers are particularly keen to engage with Lancashire’s students, with thousands set to descend on the county over the next few weeks as universities gear up for their annual Freshers’ celebrations.

Superintendent Samuel Mackenzie, Lancashire’s Constabulary’s strategic lead for alcohol, said: “The damage alcohol does to communities and the impact it has on police resources cannot be underestimated.

“Nearly half of all violent crime in the UK is alcohol related," he added. "Every weekend, the emergency services have resources diverted to our town centres dealing with people who have consumed alcohol in such a way as to cause themselves or others real harm.

“Drunkenness is a big problem and we all need to do more to address this issue, one thing that would really help is people taking responsibility for themselves on a night out.

“If you drink excessively, you are more likely to end up becoming involved in crime – either as a victim or as the offender. That’s not a risk worth taking on a night out - it could have a lasting impact.”

Alcohol costs services in Lancashire around £634m a year and accounts for 10 per cent of all crime, with people who have been drinking excessively more likely to become a victim of crime, be injured or be involved in violence.

Lancashire’s week of action has been timed to coincide with ACPO’s national campaign to highlight the realities of dealing with drunkenness and alcohol-related incidents and the impact on the police service.

In Lancashire it will see officers join forces with other agencies, including local councils Trading Standards and the health service, to carry out test purchasing operations, visit schools to give talks on the dangers associated with consuming alcohol and work with licensed premises across the county.

They will also be visiting universities to highlight the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption to students and will provide training to security and bar staff, in addition to their own front line officers.

People often ‘pre-load’ before going into town drinking making them 2.5 times more likely to be involved in violence as a victim or an offender.

This weekend officers will be out on the streets at violence ‘hot spots’, where they will tackle binge drinking by issuing warnings to those heavily under the influence of alcohol, with some being asked to leave the city or town centre.

Superintendent Mackenzie continued: “The Constabulary do all they can to make sure the county’s towns and cities are safe places to be at night, but we really do need people to help by taking personal responsibility for their drinking. 

“The level of social tolerance for excessive drinking is unhelpful and it is considered normal to be so drunk that people are not in control of themselves. This not only puts people at increased risk of harm but it puts an enormous burden on police and health services and affects the service we offer to all our communities.”

• You can follow the police activity on Twitter by following @LancsPolice and #alcoholharm

Temporary closure of Lancaster car park

The Nelson Street pay and display car park in Lancaster is scheduled to be closed temporarily from Monday 29th September until approximately Friday 3rd October for resurfacing works.
It is the latest car park to be resurfaced as part of Lancaster City Council’s ongoing Car Parks Improvement Programme.

Earlier this month the Auction Mart car park off Thurnham Street was resurfaced and the previously unmarked car park now benefits from lined bays, providing spaces for approximately 120 cars.

Once the programme of improvement works to city centre car parks is complete an additional 16 disabled spaces will have been created for blue badge holders to use for free.

• Information on local car parks can be found at  or by calling the parking team tel. 01524 582648

Lancaster People's Climate Picnic this Sunday joins global call for climate action

This Sunday 21 September, people will take to the streets in towns and cities all over the planet to demand real action to tackle climate change.

It's set to be a momentous day, one not to be missed. While many Lancastrians will be travelling to London, Manchester (outside the Labour Party Conference) and Edinburgh to join the climate marches there, others will be holding a 'People's Climate Picnic' in Market Square, in Lancaster, from 1pm.

It's a bring and share event  - bring food, instruments, your friends and family and get together and talk about real, practical, local initiatives. If you plan to attend it would be good to quickly register online so that a global picture can be obtained about all the local activities. You can do that here.

You can also sign the global petition on the avaaz website here.

The timing is important. In the final week of September, world leaders will assemble in New York for a landmark climate summit - called by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

Like everyone else,  Ban Ki-moon knows that, unless rapid action is taken soon, the world is headed for a climate catastrophe. That’s why he’s called this unprecedented summit now.

While leaders sit down at the UN building in New York, 100,000 people will gather on the streets outside. Here in the UK people will march in solidarity in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and throughout the country.

Climate change is the biggest threat that humanity is facing - or has ever faced. Because of this, our present generations will be remembered forever - and hopefully because we took constructive action and not because we wasted our time fighting over dwindling resources.

Ever since the industrial revolution humanity has been adapting to changes in technology and globalisation. Our numbers have expanded exponentially - between 1960 and 2010, the world population rose from 3 billion to 6.8 billion - more than double.  Currently the rate of population increase is 1.2% per year, which means the planet’s human population is on a trajectory to double again in 58 years. It's a problem and it will get far worse and make much bigger problems until it's dealt with.

In 1950, about 15% of the Earth's land surface was covered by rainforest. In fewer than fifty years, more than half of the world's tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw, and approximately 150,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day. In addition to this, the burning of fossil fuels and intensive beef and dairy production release vast amounts of carbon and methane into the atmosphere, accelerating the warming effect.

The melting of the Arctic ice caps is also releasing vast quantities of methane stored in the ice and it is likely that this will accelerate climate change as it continues, unchecked. You can find out more about the science here:

Our major corporations and politicians seem to understand the issues in theory but don't appear to be equipped to connect this into their decision-making to adapt to changing circumstances,

This Sunday is about sending them a message, to stop the playground games and to start acting responsibly. The demand is to mobilize the world to shift to 100% clean energy.  Already, 20% of the world's electricity comes from clean energy. We just need to get our leaders to agree to speed up the changeover.

Transition City Lancaster has a great many projects running locally aimed at supporting the transition to clean energy. To find out more and to find out how you can get involved visit:

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Lancaster Jazz Festival this weekend!

Warming us up for the Lancaster Music Festival next month, from this Thursday 18 September through 'til Sunday 21 September Lancaster Jazz Festival will be treating us to four days of live music, sessions and workshops. From breakfast til bedtime (whenever that is) there will be live jazz performances at various venues in the City, many of them free and the rest of them with hefty discounts. You can see the full schedule here at:

The Festival kicks off on Thursday evening with the legendary Courtney Pine, who is bringing his House of Legends tour to the Dukes at 7.30pm (tickets £20). Following on from this gig, The Initiative will be hosting a free Open House session from 10.30pm at the Golden Lion.

Dennis Rollins
On Friday you can groove through from your Jazz Breakfast at the Robert Gillow to see Swerve Trio at the Hall Cafe around the corner,  and there's even a workshop at the Dukes about getting more gigs. In the evening head up to the Lancaster Brewery Youth Jazz Stage at Lancaster Leisure Park for the Tom Green Septet,  Zeitgeist, the LRGS Big Band and try out the Jam Experiment. Tickets for the night are just £5/£3.

There will be free taxi rides from Dalton Square to the Lancaster Brewery and back later for the first 30 people to apply on the website.

On Saturday 20 September after your Jazz Breakfast you can slide down to Sun Square for the day starting with an Off The Rails Workshop, followed by the Paul Edis Sextet, an Off The Rails Performance, the Slowlight Quartet and Samuel Eagles. Saturday night headliners are the Dennis Rollin's Velocity Trio at the Dukes (Tickets from £4 - £20) followed by an Open Jam Session at the Golden Lion.

On Sunday you can set your self right up again with your Jazz Breakfast and then slope along round the corner to the Hall Cafe to see Pete Edwards, Deep Cabaret, Leo Geyer and the Elliot Galvin Trio.

See for the full schedule and ticket / venue info.
You can also visit on facebook and follows the tweets at

Monday, 15 September 2014

Chaotic City Centre road closure to last for two months

(Updated 16/9/14): As local drivers may have noticed, United Utilities have today moved into Phase 4 of their upgrade of the local sewer system, which involves closing part of North Road from the car park facing Marco's Restaurant to the Friary pub in the north-east corner of the one-way system, and diverting traffic along Bulk Road and St Leonardgate.

You can download a map and explanation of the road changes here.

The bad news  is that North Road will remain closed for two months from today.

City centre traffic ground to a halt today, on the first day of closures with traffic inching along Cable Street, Parliament Street and Bulk Road and backed up around the one-way system, across Skerton Bridge and for about a mile coming in on Caton Road, giving drivers ample opportunity to admire the new green-coloured signs declaring that Lancaster is open as usual for business.

Part of the problem was the lack of warning signage along the route and along other affected tributary roads, which meant that drivers are not apprised of road layout changes and have little way of working out where they needed to go along the diversion to arrive at their destination - resulting in a stream of traffic re-entering North Road and having to be re-diverted through the car park for another circuit around the diversion.

Although some notice was given in the Lancaster Guardian, it is not clear why warnings about the severity of the disruption were not posted along the actual roads due to be affected in the month prior to the works, which is the standard and most direct means of communicating with the drivers regularly using these routes. Posting signs saying that the city is "Open for business" is somewhat missing the point.

There is still no indication when approaching Lancaster city centre that the northern end of the city is gridlocked and so drivers are not offered the opportunity to select alternative routes.

However, all businesses are indeed still open as usual, so please continue to support them.

Here's a rundown of the temporary road changes (please refer to map above):

North Road and Rosemary Lane

  • North Road is closed at the junction with Rosemary Lane and Chapel Street
  • Rosemary Lane is now made two-way to allow traffic to gain access up to the junction with North Road
  • Chapel Street is made two-way to allow traffic to gain access up to the junction with North Road
  • Delivery traffic and cars wanting to use the car park off North Road will turn left out of Bulk Road and onto Parliament Street
  • North Road is made two-way between the junction with Chapel Street and Phoenix Street. All traffic from this area will exit onto Parliament Street via a temporary opening in the central reservation at the bottom of Phoenix Street
St. Leonardgate, Bulk Road and Phoenix Street 
  • Through traffic and City Centre traffic is being redirected to St. Leonardgate which is now one-way only between Bulk Road and Great John Street
  • Bulk Road between Ridge Lane and St. Leonardgate remains two way but with access restricted to buses and residents only. The junction with St. Leonardgate is now a bus gate with only buses allowed to exit onto St. Leonardgate
  • Bulk Road between St. Leonardgate to Caton Road is one-way with through traffic and City Centre traffic turning left off Caton Road
  • Bulk Road is restricted to one lane of traffic outside the retail park with access clearly signposted for customers to the retail park
  • Phoenix Street will be closed to all traffic, except deliveries to the retail park unloading bay

Some bus services are currently unable to serve Lancaster bus station and are operating instead from Dalton Square or Common Garden Street.  There will also be some temporary timetable changes to allow extra time for diversions and congestion. Information and new timetables are available from the Tourist Information Centre, the Bus Station Travel Shop or phone 0871 200 22 33. You can also download an overview of the temporary bus terminus plan here


Pedestrians can still use the footpaths around the working area.

The Good News

The good news is that the traffic that does eventually manage to reach the Greyhound Bridge is moving very freely there and along Morecambe Road towards Morecambe for the first time in years. 

Lancaster Music Festival 2014 - our unofficial Bank Holiday!

With 44 locations (including Lancaster Castle), over 160 acts and 200 music performances over five days, Lancaster Music Festival is preparing for what might be Lancaster’s busiest weekend ever (last year's was). Festival organisers have declared it an 'unofficial Bank Holiday weekend' ("Just take Monday off!"), starting early on Thursday 9 October and finishing at 1am on Tuesday 14 October.

The award winning free festival’s line-up is finally confirmed and you can check out the full schedule at It's bursting with acts from blues, rock, folk, indie, EDM, funk, soul to samba, brass bands, vaudeville, classical and choral.  There will be acts from around the UK including 2014 Open Mic UK winner and BBC Introducing pick Heidi Browne; Southampton acoustic duo Eagle & Weeks; Manchester’s one man band genius Paddy Steer and another Mancunian with seriously fast fingers, Franco and the Dreadnought to name just a few.

The festival’s international programme will again feature Viennese songbird Marina Zettl (her 3rd year at the festival); a Vienna newcomer with Armenian fire, Ozlem Bulut; a Swedish neo-folk band with the deceptively descriptive sobriquet of Gibrish; a bombshell of a west coast rock and roller top 40 in the form of the racy Lacy Younger; soul sensation Andria Simone from Toronto (who will also close the festival on Monday night); deliciously deft modern jazz from Tel Aviv’s Shalosh; Ghanaian drum and chant from Kakatsitsi and the blistering funk rock of New Jersey power trio Sensory Hoverload.

I could carry on (and many will), it's a shockingly great line-up. Lancaster pulls its weight musically too and local favourites will be making a rich contribution - such as the highly irreverent, edgy country of Lumberjack Cowboy Heartbreak Trucking Company; blistering indie with Carpe and Lake Komo; samba act Batala; 60’s Hammond groove with Get Carter; classical ensembles from players from the Haffner Orchestra and the nationally known pop act Lovely Eggs.

To top it off, the festival is actually free and all the city venues are within easy walking distance of each other while a regular bus service connects with Lancaster University.

This year also welcomes some new venues including at least one bank (incidentally, the banks will be open during the “unofficial bank holiday weekend”), a music shop, two additional outdoor squares including the newly installed Square Stage in Market Square, a wine and beer shop, a horse drawn beer wagon, and of course Lancaster Castle.

For the first time in 1000 years Lancaster Castle will be hosting live bands with 23 concerts over the three days, including Heidi Browne ('Can’t wait to play, blimmin’ love castles I do!”). Entry to the Castle is a nominal £1.

Only one venue is ticketed for nationally known acts and the fees are nominal even there.

The festival will also host street theatre, mini ale festivals and plenty of food both in the venues and the market stalls. There will also be a Busking Booth and open mic events for 'off-programme' performers. The event is family friendly during the day and evening with adults being able to enjoy live music through the wee hours with at least one venue open 24 hours and another two licensed to 4am.

The festival not only has its own ale (by Thwaites) but also its own coffee (by Atkinsons) and it now has its own T-shirt, which you can obtain for a mere £10 from participating venues.

The 64 page festival brochure produced is available now in the participating venues and Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres and costs just £1. Throughout the festival there will also be an information booth in Market Square.

Here are the handy festival links:

General enquiries to: (festival home page) (Festival Facebook page) (Festival Twitter feed)