The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 2 February 2021

No Coachella - Another major music festival, Coachella, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. The annual event in the southern Californian desert was scheduled over two weekends in April but the region's public health officer Dr Cameron Kaiser says it will not go ahead.
The Stagecoach country music festival, on the same site as Coachella but later in April, has also been cancelled, Dr Kaiser said, blaming the dire COVID-19 situation in the state. He said in a public health order: "If COVID-19 were detected at these festivals, the scope and number of attendees and the nature of the venue would make it infeasible, if not impossible, to track those who may be placed at risk."
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival takes place in the Indio desert near Palm Springs and attracted about 250,000 attendees in 2019, while Stagecoach draws more than 70,000 country music fans. On Friday, health officials in California announced the state had surpassed 40,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
Musical Moves - Andrew Lloyd Webber has indicted that plans to open his new musical Cinderella in the spring may have to be postponed, saying he is now unable to confirm when the show will open. His comments, made to BBC Radio 2, appear to contradict the bullish stance he took at the very beginning of this year, when he said he was holding firmly to plans to have its official opening in May, with previews beginning at the end of April.
At the time he did also warn that his dates may be out by “weeks”, because of the ongoing and changing situation, but said he saw no reason to change his plans. However, he told the Zoe Ball show yesterday, “We will open in the summer – I can’t really be precise about when, as none of us knows.”
He added: "The most important thing for theatres, and all spaces, when we open is we have to make sure all our spaces are as safe, clean and as well ventilated as possible. I am manic about ventilation and at the London Palladium – where we did the trial last year, to show theatres could be kept open – the ventilation is as good as anywhere you can find. There are all sorts of mitigating things we can do, but everybody has got to do them.”
Water Music - A stage musical of Fisherman’s Friends is set to reopen Hall for Cornwall later this year, following a multimillion-pound redevelopment. The show, based on the true story and subsequent film about a group of Cornish fisherman who became singing stars, will receive its world premiere at Truro’s Hall for Cornwall this autumn.
It is produced by Royo, in association with Cornwall Playhouse Productions, the venue’s new in-house producing company. The musical features songs by the Fisherman’s Friends, a book by Brad Birch and will be directed by James Grieve. Lucy Osborne will design the production, while David White will be its music supervisor.
Julien Boast, Hall for Cornwall’s chief executive and creative director, said, "Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical is a perfect tonic to lift us from recent events which have impacted all our lives and a great celebration of people, passion and possibilities which are at the heart of our new theatre. The show will form the foundation of our inaugural launch season, with more details being announced in the spring.”
Rock In Peace - The Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine, who created one of the most famous opening riffs in 1960s pop music, has died at the age of 77. The British band's version of blues standard The House of The Rising Sun topped the UK and US charts in 1964. The Animals' record label ABKCO Music described Valentine as a "pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come".
Valentine co-founded the Animals in Newcastle in 1963 alongside singer Eric Burdon, bassist Chas Chandler, organist Alan Price and drummer John Steel. Burdon paid tribute to Valentine on Instagram, writing: "The opening opus of Rising Sun will never sound the same!... You didn't just play it, you lived it! Heartbroken by the sudden news of Hilton's passing. We had great times together, Geordie lad. From the North Shields to the entire world...Rock In Peace."
(Jim Evans)
2 February 2021)

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