Wakefield Rhubarb Festival. Ridings. Feb 2024.

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Ruby Rhubarb joins Wakeylele at the Rhubarb Festival

Rhubarb Festival Weekend Gig at Ridings. 17th February

By Philip Barr. Videos/Photos Jane Barr, Mrs Flatters

Cars streamed incessantly into the Ridings multi – storey car park, the precinct was packed with people moving slowly between colourful stalls stacked with mouthwatering produce – pies, cheese, pasties, pastries, sausages and confectionery; a nearby fun fair was already in full swing and to round things off Wakeylele were back in town. What better mix could you wish for to disperse the gloom of mid – February! 

Inside the Ridings too could be felt an expectant mood as the very well represented band set up on the top floor where for once there was some welcome warmth – just as well with our regular hand warmer supplier being unavailable due to a surfeit of tortillas.

With footfall rapidly increasing, David made the most of an early opportunity to launch the first set of songs and the band responded in fine fashion from the get go, (well you sometimes have to show willing with these modern phrases as I may have said before) and the place was soon swinging with the added bonus of a good number of people stopping to buy YAA merchandise and offload pound coins.

Performance – wise, Mike S commented on how well he thought Bad Moon Rising had gone; also, the less frequently played Blackpool Belle seemed to get a good reception but they were far from the exceptions as the whole set flew by in no time accompanied throughout by a lively and appreciative audience with young children dancing along and several people stopping to snatch videos while others simply paused to listen as they chewed on their rhubarb and potted meat baguettes.

At the beginning of the second set, David drew attention to the louche collection of individuals on or next to the back row, (see photos and videos for the likely lads who, going back a few years now mind you, could probably be easily spotted on the back seat of their school bus). To be fair, their range of headwear does tend to add a bit of variety to the scene and I musn’t forget to include Malcolm’s impressive stetson which gave him a look of cool hand L – uke. (suppressed smirks allowed.)

louche collection of individuals on the back row. Tony, David, John and Joe

Meanwhile the photo of Chris with his second hat of the day, complete with arrow should give those who couldn’t make today a strong clue as to which song he produced it for.

Beryl and Elsie cringe at Chris’s lucky escape. John’s thinking “I might be next” and Roy doesn’t care about arrows, he’s keeping an eye on David’s headstock.
Three Wheels on Dave’s Wagon

Another number made its gig debut, the Kinks ‘Sunny Afternoon’ and along with the remainder of the second set didn’t sound at all bad to me – David might have used the phrase half decent on this occasion as he could only hear out of one ear following his recent winter cold bug.

As if all this wasn’t enough entertainment for one day, we were then joined by Ruby Rhubarb, the oft seen costumed figure who strolls through the crowds at this event, with Mike H loaning a uke to highlight his/ her guest appearance. So, all in all, an hour or two of colour, music and entertainment to brighten up the dregs of winter.

Thanks to David, Mike H (all the best Mike), Jane, Mags and Val for their various and always valued or/ and essential contributions and to all the volunteers of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance staff who always do their best to at least give the impression that they enjoy having us play alongside them. 

YAA’s Dr Pritti getting in on the song.

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