The Guardian called Cabaret Voltaire “Exeter’s cutting edge dance music night”, but it actually started in 2007 as a stage at Aeon Festival with poetry and music from around the world, by a lake in a Devon park.
A club night launched that Autumn at Exeter’s legendary Cavern Club, followed by a sister live music night at the Bike Shed Theatre. Often there would be two nights going on at the same time, so I’d run up the hill between the two, and would even be DJing sometimes too. After that, it’s been all around the place. I’ve had gig shout outs on the radio from Gilles Peterson, Annie Mac, Tom Robinson and Mark Riley.
I have curated events for lots of events such as Standon Calling, HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, Hauser & Wirth, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, The V&A, IAI, Marine Theatre, Dartmoor Arts, and IntoBodmin.
Sometimes they are big things at festivals with people jumping about. At other times it’s listening to little acts in bars. It’s fun when they are in unusual places like museums and churches.
I never thought it was a lasting thing, but I look back and it’s been 15 years now. A list was never kept. I wish I’d taken more photos. Here are some of the people I can remember:
Gilles Peterson, Mowgli, MJ Cole, Ramadanman/Pearson Sound, Loefah, Joker, The Cuban Brothers, Bill Brewster, Annie Nightingale, The Nextmen, Justin Robertson, Ewan Pearson, Redlight, Brackles, Pangaea, Martyn, Ben Westbeech, Toddla T and JFB.
Rag N Bone Man, This is the Kit, Matthew Halsall, Rozi Plain, Stornoway, Jamie Woon, Elder Island, Gwenno, Tom Robinson, Admiral Fallow, Rachael Dadd, NZCA lines, Polar Bear, Stealing Sheep, Wildwood Kin, Ethan Johns, Little Unsaid, Pete Josef, Eska, Cousin Kula, Slow Club, Jane Weaver, Dele Sosimi, Is Tropical, Yael Naim, Rachel Sermanni, Labi Siffre, The Blockheads, Midge Ure, Syd Arthur, Honeyfeet, Laid Blak, Pee Wee Ellis, Sam Lee, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Teleman, and Fairport Convention.
Lemn Sissay, Kate Tempest, Alabaster de Plume, Vanessa Kisuule, Don Paterson, Dizraeli, John Agard, and Hollie McNish.