First up in my series of interviews with people who quietly go about doing good for this town, I’d like to introduce you to Mike Duggan, part time roots music promoter who puts on shows/gigs in Barry West End Club throughout the year.
You’re ‘roots’ based, can you expand on what that means in terms of music, tell us what’s your personal favourite and how do you go about putting on a variety of genres under the roots umbrella throughout your shows?
Mike: ‘Roots’ covers blues, country/ Americana, bluegrass, folk, any music that has come through from being played to start off with in communities before records were available. Most of the acts I put on I have been listening to for some time, not all, you get artists who ask for dates too that you’ve not heard of and if I think they are worth a date then that can happen too.
What’s the buzz in putting on shows? Is it the atmosphere, the satisfaction of seeing people enjoy it or purely the music? I’m sure it can get somewhat stressful, so what keeps you booking?
Mike: The buzz is I get to see some of my favourite artists and create an awareness that there is something better out there, in my opinion, than mainstream music. It can be stressful, and there are times when I think am I doing the right thing. Been doing it around 15 years now and I think it will be time to slow down to just a handful of shows in 2018.
I’ve been watching videos of the John Langan Band who you have coming up on Nov 25th at Barry West End. Their videos alone give me that edgy live music thrill, with the fiddle and the stomping beat – what can the audience expect at that show?
Mike: I honestly think this could be the show of the year..they have a great live reputation, they cover a lot of different styles of music and we may even see some people dancing, a rarity at my shows…
Moving forward to 2017, I know you have a firm favourite of mine the smooth blues of Sean Taylor, but what else can we look forward to and which are you most excited about?
Mike: The great Martin Simpson in February, only 2 tickets available. Max and Veronica, who were such a big hit at the Vale Jazz this year are back in November. It’s not confirmed as yet but if it comes off I am very excited about The Sweet Hollywaiians from Japan, playing rags, blues and Hawaiian music from the 20’s and 30’s on ukelele.
Oh Mike, that’s an epic lineup! What a treat…
You mention Vale Jazz there, what else are you involved in around town?
Mike: I have been involved in Barry Arts as well as Vale Jazz. Both are run voluntarily by very small teams of dedicated local people. Barry Arts is changing slightly this year to 8 events throughout the year, likely to run between March and September. Vale Jazz has had a name change lately, it’s now known as Barry & Vale Jazz & Blues, an entirely free to attend Weekend of live music at the end of May. Both have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds where you can find out more information.
Lastly Mike, if you could witness any event – past, present or future – what would it be?
Mike: Nothing springs to mind…I know there is a music festival held in the Sahara Desert, which I can’t remember the name of, but that would be a pretty special event to attend.
Tickets are available for The John Langan Band, either from Mike Duggan 07561 143114 or Barry West End Club.
Search ‘Barry Arts Festival’ on Facebook or @BarryArtsFest on Twitter. Search ‘Vale Jazz Weekend’ or @Vale_JAZZfest. Mike also has his own page, ‘Roots N’ All’.