It’s Monday 6 May, the day after the first ever Sheffield Tango Festival. Julie and I are relaxing from the exertions of the past few weeks and making a few notes for next time!
One note we’ve made is to try to do better with the thanks to all those who took part, in front of or behind the scenes.
We’ve had loads of comments about the overall wonderful-ness of the music. So big thanks to Anna Jorgensen, Bärbel Rücker, Felipe Slimobich. Paul Strudwick and John Tan delighting dancers in the main ballroom and tea dances, and also to Gabriel Kapellmann, Nicky Ross, Simon (DJ Neotanguero), Chris Storey and Jean-Marc Vandel in the Alt/Neo Room.
You can’t have an international tango festival without a team of top teachers and we were particularly fortunate to have Maria Filali & Eloy Souto, Carolina González & Gonzalo Capitani, Melanie Jarman & Lucas Gastiarena, Bärbel Rücker, and Felipe Slimobich & Manuela Marce.
For me, live music at a milonga is a big plus so to have Claudia Lapresa singing with Martin Espindola (bandoneon) and Felipe Slimobich (piano) was a sheer delight. Amazing to think they hadn’t played together before! Felipe and Martin also led our Tango Flashmob in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens, just up the road from our venue.
Another essential of an enjoyable tango festival is a good venue, and again we were lucky to have Sheffield’s imposing King Edward VII school, plus the assistance of their key staff to ensure that we had everything we needed. Thank you to Scott, Angela, Steve, Craig, Peter, and also the catering staff. And thanks to the Headmistress who popped in on Saturday to make sure we were behaving ourselves. We were!
Thanks to official photographer Rex Boyd whose fine photographs I’m sure we’re all looking forward to seeing… memories!
None of this can happen without the backing of a dedicated organising team, but they got plenty of thank-yous during the weekend so I’ll just briefly mention Lucas Gastiarena, Julie and Russell Hall, Melanie Jarman, Anna Jorgensen, Angie Lawrence and Ann Peaty.
But there’ve been so many other fine people working behind the scenes. So (hoping I don’t forget anyone) thanks to: Claire Allam and Suzanne Gayle (ballroom decor with flowers, lights in bottles, etc.); Michaelangelo for the loan of Solo Dance Aids and the vital role of ensuring the constant availability of tea, coffe and water; Lenny Phillip, Jack Mashburn, Tony Tango and Chris Storey who were always on hand to do whatever was needed; Tim Smithies for the loan of super sound equipment and technical expertise; and our efficient sound engineer Dan the Sound-Man; and magical friend Luke Robson who supplemented the evening snacks with his creative home baking.
On the desk at various times throughout the day and night were the STF “Angels of Sheffield” (as John Tan called them… but he’d only just met them): Julie Hall, Tracey Barnes, Maureen Beirne, Sharon Cosgrove and Suzanne Gayle, plus many others who helped out during breaks and chances to dance.
We are grateful to all the local tango teachers in Sheffield for their support and involvement: Lucas Gastiarena & Melanie Jarman, Gabriel Kapellmann, Bill Newby, and Nicky & Slim Ross.
Thanks too to all those who stayed behind on Saturday to clear our reception area and main ballroom ready for Sunday morning service, and putting everything back afterwards, and lifting and clearing in the early hours at the end of the Festival.
Finally, a great big thanks to everyone who came and enjoyed The Sheffield Tango Festival. It was our first time. We didn’t get everything right; what we tried to do was to organise a Tango Festival that we would enjoy. It was gratifying beyond measure to discover that so many people were happy to share that with us.
Oh, and thanks to Gonzalo and Carolina for the photo above.