The brainchild of Peter Conway Greenwich Summer Sessions 2010 was the much anticipated inaugural year of what was a new outdoor concert series held in the majestic setting of the Old Royal Naval College, right in the heart of Greenwich.
Leading names from across the music world joined us for four stunning open-air music events themed around Greenwich’s unique heritage and history - 'Rebels, Royals, Rivers and Runners'. The series helped to celebrate Greenwich’s role as a host borough for London 2012.
The Greenwich Summer Sessions was a unique series of four stunning open-air music events, taking place from Wednesday 21st July through to Sunday 25th July (excluding Saturday 24th). The series of concerts saw in excess of 8,000 music lovers come through its gates to experience some phenomenal local and world renowned acts. It was all kicked off by the 'Rebels' of the bunch, Seth Lakeman fresh from releasing his new album which has already charted at No. 6, provided a raucous performance for all. This was followed by old time favourites The Levellers, who produced an atmosphere to beat any, as people jived, jumped and bopped to the beats.
Thursday saw Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra with their stunning ensembles, instrumentals and beautiful solos from Natasha Marsh and Nicky Spence who even donned a kilt in the excitement! Timothy Redmond conducted with swift lines as well known classical pieces wafted over the River Thames which provided the backdrop to the Summer Sessions.
On the Friday night Jools Holland returned to his local borough with great gusto and was cheered well into the night. Introducing special guests to the stage such as Alison Moyet, Ruby Turner and Albert Lee, festival goers were alight with excitement as the stage was filled with sensational sounds. The first three days were accompanied by the backdrop of a Scottish twang as Elvis McGonagall introduced and mused over the performers as well as creating a crowd which was a wash with laughter as he recited the exclusive Ode to Greenwich that had been specially commissioned for the event.
The festival ended with a rousing sing a long gig as popular local chart-topping band, Athlete provided the perfect soundtrack to the capacity crowd’s Sunday afternoon. With a mixture of some of the songs that led to their Ivor Novello Award from first album ‘Vehicles and Animals’ and some more recent tracks, the band delivered exactly what the crowds were after.
Athlete even added in a special naval themed choir to join them on stage during the set. Lead singer Joel Pott said after his parents joined in the choir; “The choir joining us on stage now are made up of people who have been there since the start and there is so much mutual love going on here, no one more so than my folks! It is their 40th wedding anniversary today so please all give them a massive cheer!”
Pott was obviously happy to be back in his native borough and the transformation the city has had since Athlete were formed by adding; “This is such a special gig for us, ten years ago we would never have dreamed of playing in front of a few thousand people here in Greenwich, back then they were still talking about having a university here and just look now.”
Athlete were supported by Mercury Music Prize nominees I Am Kloot, who stunned audiences with their fresh outlook on their eerie dark numbers. Also featuring on the bill were former Mercury Music Prize nominees The Invisible, local act Tape the Radio, upcoming electro-pop starlet Sunday Girl and another local act now supporting the Blockheads, the Carl Picton Cartel. All in all a fantastic way to round of the festival.
Councillor John Fahy, Cabinet Member for Olympics and Culture for Greenwich Council said: “The Summer Sessions concerts have been a real highlight of The Greenwich Festivals programme. We launched the Greenwich Festivals in June promising some of the best and most varied entertainment in London. The Summer Sessions have delivered just that. We’ve had everything from classical concerts by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra to rhythm and blues from Jools Holland. All performed against the amazing backdrop of the Old Royal Naval College. I hope Summer Sessions will become a regular fixture on The Greenwich Festival programme.”
Duncan Wilson, CEO Greenwich Foundation: “Summer Sessions brought eight thousand people to the Old Royal Naval College for four days of concerts; we are very pleased that it was such a success, and hope very much to welcome them back next year”.