There have been rumours circulating for a couple of years, but it was confirmed today that the BBC would not be sponsoring a stage at this year's Ipswich Music Day. This is a shame, because "I'll see you by the BBC stage" had become, over the years, as much a mantra for music-goers as "Meet me by Sir Alf" is for fans of the local soccerball side. The consistent quality of the output has been maintained over the years by the careful curation of local DJ, writer, promoter, presenter, compere and simply enthusiast Stephen Foster, who has had the rug badly pulled from under him by his managers (I won't say 'superiors', as that would be prevaricative).
If I'm to 'fess up my own interests then, yes, I've had my share of benefits thrown my way - a spot on the Songwriter's Showcase (all original material, and I think I even MC'd one year), a live broadcast by The Star Club (later repeated on Bank Holiday Monday with the inadvertent cuss bomb skillfully edited out by long term OB van-dweller and on-the-hoof recording engineer extraordinaire Dave Butcher), the jukebox theatre of The Perfectly Good Guitars, a storming covers set by The Picturehouse Big Band and a pre-Cornbury warm up with Songs from The Blue House. Didn't get paid a bean for any of 'em. What makes it all the more disappointing then, is that a corporate behemoth that can afford to hire a helicopter - not a car, a real, whirlybird helicopter - to get Jeremy Clarkson from his filming location back to his hotel in time for for dinner and then keep it hanging around for two hours while he finishes his pint won't spin out a few thou' to carry on with a flagship stage at the largest one day free music event in the UK, an event which has been thriving for just shy of quarter of a century.
Shame on you BBC Radio Suffolk. Shame on you.