Real ale and rock at Willowman Festival

The Willowman Music Festival in North Yorkshire is attracting as much attention for its top class real ales as it is for its live acts.

Over the last five years the four-day festival at Knayton near Thirsk has attracted the likes of The Wailers and New Model Army and this year Echo and the Bunnymen will take the headlining slot.

But some festival-goers would say the real star of the show is the range of real ales at pub prices that guarantee a great atmosphere before a note has even been played.

Festival director Steve Williams said: “Since day one we have endeavoured to have top quality ale at the festival. To me great beer and great music go hand in hand.

“When I planned the first festival I looked at it from the perspective of what I as a musician and music fan would want. Festival goers are fed up of being ripped off paying high prices for sub-standard beer.”

For the past three years Steve has successfully linked up with Northallerton-based Walls Brewing Company which has brewed a number of bespoke beers for the festival and sourced some excellent complimentary ales and ciders from niche breweries.

The cornerstone of the bar tent is the specially brewed Willow Wobbly ale which year after year has proven a festival favourite. Walls Brewery also supplies the festival with several of its own real ales like Summer Gold, Gun Dog and IPA.

To coincide with last year’s festival head brewer and brewery owner David Wall sourced the special brew Swords of a 1000 Men from the Revolution Brewery in Castleford in honour of singer Eddie Tudor Pole who appeared at Willowman and gave us a hit of the same name back in the 80s.

Last summer Revolution Brewery also brewed an ale called Uprising after the late reggae legend Bob Marley to mark the appearance of his band The Wailers at Willowman.  To continue the music theme last summer the brewery also supplied beers brewed at strengths of 3.3, 4.5 and 7.8 to mark the playing speeds of vinyl records.

This year will see a special London Porter on sale called Clash with a gravity of 4.5

This dark ale is made with five different malts and hopped with legendary US hops for a smooth rounded finish.

Revolution is also reviving its Unknown Pleasures ale in honour of Peter Hook and the Light’s appearance at Willowman Festival 2015 who will perform songs from the Joy Division classic debut album of the same name.

Head brewer and brewery owner David Wall said: “Willowman Festival is building a great reputation as a rock music event but also for its beer. We brew Willow Wobbly every year which is a firm favourite and a sturdy, strong but quaffable ale.

“This year we are also introducing a session Willow Pale Ale as some festival goers peak too early on the Wobbly so we thought we would offer an alternative!

“At the end of the day festival goers bring a lot of their own drink for back at the tent and pre-festival drinks, but if you keep the quality of the ales high in the bar and the prices right more people are happy to enjoy a full festival experience and forgo the delights of a warm flat can of lager.

“When the music is right you can’t beat a good pint of ale in your hand and at Willowman that is exactly what is on offer.”

As well as a range of ale Willowman will have several craft ciders, a range of red and white wine and a selection of sprits again all at sensible prices.

This year’s festival takes place over Solstice weekend from June 18-21 and joining Echo and the Bunnymen on the bill is ex-Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook and his band The Light, 80s songstress Hazel O’Connor and Dreadzone.

Flying the flag for the North East are Frankie and the Heartstrings, Bessie and the Zincbuckets and Lindisfarne members Dave Hull-Denholm and Ian Thomson who perform as The Alan Hull Songbook.

Willowman will also play host to a rare UK performance by classic New York-based ska band The Toasters, veteran punk band Goldblade, legendary DJ and former Old Grey Whistle Test host Andy Kershaw, reggae favourites Talisman, Pearl Handled Revolver, The Jeff Green Project, Ferocious Dog, Neck, Astralasia, New Groove Formation, The White Negroes, Charlotte Yanni Band, Louise Petit, Big Red and the Grinners and the fantastically named The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican.

Festival director Steve Williams said: “I thought last year’s line-up was going to be hard to beat but 2015 has come together really nicely.  The headliners speak for themselves and have already had a major positive effect on tickets sales.

“But a great festival is about more than the headline acts.  We have put together an entertaining and lively line-up that will really get the place rocking all weekend long with a bar tent packed with the best ales, wines and spirits.”

Now in its sixth year, The Willowman Festival has gained a national reputation for offering an eclectic line up of both new and established artists, while keeping ticket prices rock bottom.
The four-day family friendly festival takes place at the Hillside Rural Activities Park in Knayton, near Thirsk, over the Solstice weekend between June 18 and 21.

Spring special tickets are now on sale for a budget-busting £75 (which includes four nights camping and free parking) at  Full price tickets for the festival will be £85, children 11 and under go free, while young people tickets (ages 12 to 16) are priced at £40.

Willowman Festival was nominated in four categories in the UK Festival Awards 2014.  Best Small, Best Roots and Best Family Festival as well as Best Toilets!

Discover your strengths and put them to work

Discover your strengths and put them to work – taster workshop including Complimentary Strengths assessment valued at $9.99 
This workshop will give you a taste of how you can discover and unlock your strengths of you and the people in your organisation to find happiness, engagement and job satisfaction
An experience designed to meet today’s demands
Deborah Thompson and Laura Cumming will facilitate this action-packed, experiential, taster workshop, aimed towards helping organisations and business owners to experience a taste of:
How to win more customers and a greater market share and showing you how to unlock the talents of the workforce, to retain valuable experienced staff – who are the assets of your organisation and the people who you expect to make this happen.
It’s accepted that the most successful organisations invest in their people and look to win more customers and the biggest share of the market place by first winning the hearts and minds of their employees.
Successful people and organisations are constantly seeking new ways to improve their performance, drive productivity, profitability and engagement. When you get this right, you not only retain a highly trained, experienced and engaged workforce, but also continue to grow a fan base of satisfied customers.
This workshop offers a taste of how this can be achieved and includes a complimentary code to discover your top 5 strengths.
There is a follow-on full day event to be held on 7th May at the City Library in Newcastle, which will take you and your business or organisation though a richer experience to give a greater insight into how to make this happen.
The first 10 organisations to attend the full day event are also in with a chance to win a complimentary ½ day workshop to show you how we can transform your people to love what they do, improve your productivity, profitability and engagement.
Book your place 
How to put your strengths to workDeborah Thompson and Laura CummingThursday, 7 May 2015 from 09:00 to 16:00 (BST)Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Discover your Strengths and put them to workDeborah Thompson and Laura CummingFriday, 24 April 2015 from 08:30 to 11:00 (BST)Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Willowman Festival unveils final line-up

High tempo ska, classic folk rock and driving punk have been added to an all-star line up at Willowman Festival 2015.

The four-day festival in North Yorkshire has already announced co-headliners Echo and the Bunnymen and Peter Hook and The Light.

Festival organisers have now filled the supporting bill with latest editions The Alan Hull Songbook, The Toasters from the USA and Goldblade.

The Alan Hull Songbook will perform classic hits written by the former Lindisfarne singer songwriter and play a number of songs never performed live before.
The act is made up of current Lindisfarne members Dave Hull-Denholm and Ian Thomson, who recently sold out three nights at the Wood Memorial Hall in Northumberland.

The Alan Hull Songbook promises intimate performances of classic songs from Alan Hull who died suddenly in 1995 at the age of 50. Dave, who is married to Alan’s youngest daughter Francesca, had been performing with Alan at his solo shows gigs as well as band performances.

Willowman will also host to a rare UK performance by classic New York-based band The Toasters who have been performing their own blend of high-octane ska fused with stateside punk and rock for over 30 years.

The band is fronted by Englishman Robert “Bucket” Hingley who relocated to New York City in 1980, where already a 2 Tone fan he formed The Toasters in 1981 after seeing The Beat perform at the Roseland Ballroom.

The globe-trotting Toasters have played across the globe, playing from Siberia to Istanbul and back. According to lead singer ‘Bucket’, nothing can eclipse the vibes of a sweaty packed-out club with the audience in your face and the bit between the teeth.

He said: “It’s important not to forget where you came from. Lots of bands do that but not the Toasters!”

Taking to the Willow Wobbly Stage is veteran punk band Goldblade fronted by former Membranes singer and rock Journalist John Robb who runs the Louder Than War website.  John flies the flag for punk while juggling his journalistic career which includes regular TV commentary appearances.  He also wrote a biography of The Stone Roses which was updated to coincide with their reunion shows in 2012.

Legendary DJ Andy Kershaw is opening the Willowman Festival with his Global Dance show.

A stalwart of the music industry, TV presenter, journalist, radio and live music DJ Andy Kershaw will be hosting the Thursday Night Party (June 18th) raging his “one man against musical mediocrity” from the Willow Wobbly Stage.

Andy will be playing a mixture of Calypso, African, Mexican Reggae, Roots, Socha and Ska music during his one man show.
Festival director Steve Williams said: “I thought last year’s line-up was going to be hard to beat but 2015 has come together really nicely.  The headliners speak for themselves and have already had a major positive effect on tickets sales.

“But a great festival is about more than the headline acts.  We have put together an entertaining and lively line-up that will really get the place rocking all weekend long.”

Now in its sixth year, The Willowman Festival has gained a national reputation for offering an eclectic line up of both new and established artists, while keeping ticket prices rock bottom.

The four-day family friendly festival will once again take place at the Hillside Rural Activities Park in Knayton, near Thirsk, over the Solstice weekend between June 18 and 21.

Other acts already announced include festival favourites Dreadzone, songstress Hazel O’Connor, Frankie and the Heartstrings, reggae favourites Talisman, Pearl Handle Revolver, The Jeff Green Project, Ferocious Dog, Neck, Astralasia, New Groove Formation, The White Negroes, Charlotte Yanni Band, Louise Petit, Big Red and the Grinners and the fantastically named The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican.

Spring special tickets are now on sale for a budget-busting £75 (which includes four nights camping and free parking) at Full price tickets for the festival will be £85, children 11 and under go free, while young people tickets (ages 12 to 16) are priced at £40.

Willowman Festival was nominated in four categories in the UK Festival Awards 2014.  Best Small, Best Roots and Best Family Festival as well as Best Toilets!

Liftshare: Britain\’s largest car share network hits App Store – the nation’s original and largest car share network has launched its official mobile app on Apple devices. It is available via App Store now.

The free tool was named The Guardian’s top travel app for February 2015. It offers UK drivers and those without access to a car more money-saving freedom than ever before.

It follows the UK’s latest rail hike, which sees the price of an open single from London to Manchester hitting a staggering £93*, while the same journey on Liftshare costs around £20.

Consumer watchdog Which? has also revealed that UK rail commuters are unhappy with their service. Liftshare gives them a cheaper, cleaner and social replacement for trains.

The new iOS app empowers Liftshare’s 420,000-plus members with greater visibility and reach, enabling drivers to quickly post details of their car journeys within a few taps, while those who need a lift can get to destinations with ease

Liftshare is a green, sustainable travel choice that is more affordable than app-based taxi alternatives, because it remains true to the sharing economy ethos and makes car sharing available to everyone.

The new app enables travellers to simply enter a destination – be it a place of work, a trip to visit family or friends, a festival or sports event, and then see which drivers are going their way.

Liftshare is already supported by a number of rock fesivals in the UK including

Users choose the most-suitable driver using in-app messaging and verified profiles along with user reviews. Once happy with their selection, passengers can confirm payment with one simple tap.

The new Liftshare app can be downloaded for free on App Store now, and is available on Google Play.

Old vs New: Which is the home for you?

Buying a home can be complicated just because there’s so much to consider. You might have a particular type of property that you’ve set your heart on and nothing else will do, or you might not have any preferences at all other than that you personally like the house. We all know what we like and we want to make sure that our homes reflect this perfectly, making the hunt for the perfect home a complex and sometimes annoying process.

The issue of whether to buy an old house or invest in a new build is an old one, with passionate defenders fighting their corner on either side of the argument. There are plenty of good reasons to go with either, it all depends on what you’re personally looking for and the preferences that you have. Some people prefer the traditional appeal of old buildings whilst others crave the modern and up to date, so there will never be a definitive answer as to which is best.

New builds are created to modern standards and can be great starting homes for couples, but their small size often make them unsuitable for larger families. Meanwhile, older homes have that sense of elegance and much more space, but they are prone to maintenance issues and can be expensive to keep heated and lit. You’re more likely to lose money on your gas and electricity bills in an older property unless you carry out extensive improvement work.

Getting started with a new home of any kind can be overwhelming, but new builds have the appealing advantage of coming with modern amenities and constructed following modern standards of building. This includes many perks such as heated floors, double glazing and wall insulation. Insulation has been becoming more and more popular as time has gone on due to the fact that it’s so energy efficient and much better for the environment. Good insulation, usually made from natural materials such as wood fibre, will not only help to keep your home warm in the summer and cool in the winter, but it will also prevent rising damp and mould, which can be particularly harmful to young children and the elderly and is a common problem in older properties.

Of course, you could always buy an older property at a lower cost and do it up yourself, taking measures to improve the overall quality and make the property more energy efficient and so on, from acoustic soundproofing to insulating roofs. A project like this is a great way to add value to an existing property, but it may only be worth doing if you have the time and the money to invest in something this expensive and large in scale. If you have the resources and think that you can manage it, by all means go ahead, but if you’d rather get everything that you’d expect in a modern home immediately then you’d be better off with a new build, where all of the ‘extras’ come as standard in compliance with new government regulations.

Minneapolis Children’s Hospital: Ensuring CRPS Support for Families

Dealing with a medical condition of any kind can be a challenge, but there is a different set of challenges in place when you act as a carer to someone in your family with a complex condition. It can be time-consuming and exhausting, but ensuring that your loved one receives the proper care is so important. This is especially true when the condition is something like CRPS, which stands for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which results in frequent, debilitating pain in a limb that has been affected, usually after an accident. 

The UK currently lacks resources for CRPS sufferers and a lot of uncertainty still surrounds the condition, which not only puts a lot of pressure on people with the condition but the people caring for them.  Family members acting as carers run the risk of burning themselves out simply because there are no other real options available to sufferers in the country. However, looking to our friends across the ocean may give us some much-needed inspiration, as America is currently leading the way forward in treatments for chronic pain, particularly when it comes to children suffering from such conditions.

In January this year, Minneapolis saw the grand opening of the largest children’s clinic in North America, specialising in pain, palliative and integrative medicine. Integrative medicine is the marrying of western and eastern medical practices in order to ease chronic pain conditions, which affects countless people across the world. Expensive and ambitious, the hospital is already proving to be a huge success, garnering thousands of visitors a month and with ambitions to widen treatment even further.
Such a project, which even has a massage parlour and acupuncture services, was all made possibly entirely through donations, which speaks volumes to people’s generosity and willingness to give a helping hand when it’s most needed. This hospital offers a combination of treatments that have proven successful for at least one little girl with CRPS. Caroline Marshall broke her foot and began to experience intense arthritic pain that prevented her from sleeping well or even attending school.

Her concerned mother brought Caroline to the hospital in Minneapolis, and through a combination of non-pharmaceutical meds, physical therapy and psychiatric support, she was nearly pain free within months of starting the treatment. While a concrete cure may be a while off yet, this case shows that a manageable life with CRPS is possible, for both the sufferer and the carer.

So what can we learn from a story like this? Places like the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital are beacons of hope for people with complex and poorly understood conditions like CRPS, but they also offer something else of value, namely CRPS support for families. The UK needs a similar facility, one that offers integrative care and works to provide a more rounded, complete form of treatment, and hopefully we will see such a facility in the future. Until then, sites like Burning Nights will continue to raise awareness of CRPS through activism and sales, paving the way for a brighter tomorrow.

Why Use Price Comparison Sites for Insurance?

Price comparison websites are much more popular than they used to be, and it’s not hard to see why. There are thousands of insurance companies all across the world, and all of them want you to choose them for your most important policies. However, just because they want your custom doesn’t mean that they’re the right company for you. We all need to get insurance for our cars and home insurance is important for securing our prized possessions and keeping us safe. But the idea of trawling though hundreds of sights in search of the best possible quote is daunting, especially when you’re already busy. Price comparison websites have made this problem a thing of the past.

Price comparison sites offer a convenient service that saves a person both time and money, presenting all possible policies to you in an accessible way so that you can compare prices and the details of the policies. This helps you to get a clearer picture of what is available to you and enables you to make the right decision based on your unique needs.  A generic policy is not much use in the long run if you have specific requirements that you need to consider. Good price comparison sites have one thing in common: they don’t want to make money for themselves; they want to help you to save your hard earned cash. A good comparison site will make the process of finding insurance simpler, less time consuming and stress free. Even better, there are no salesmen breathing down your ear, doing their best to make you choose them regardless if they’re the right company for you.

Living in Nigeria would require you to get policies from a Nigerian insurance company, and it’s important that you are able to make well informed decisions based on the information that the comparison provides. The world of insurance can be murky and full of jargon that doesn’t always make sense to the layman, but a good price comparison website well help to cut through all that and present you with the facts and the figures in a clear, understandable way.

My Insurance Nigeria collects insurance information from Nigerian insurance companies all over the country to help you find the best policy for your car, home or travel plans. All you have to do is create an account and log some important information to help the service provide you with the best policies based on your requirements. It’s easy to access and easy to use, and what could once take hours now only takes minutes.

Unlike some price comparison websites, My Insurance Nigeria will not promote any insurance companies over others and includes useful information such what is included and excluded in the policies so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. They even include policies from independent insurers, offering you a wide range of quotes to choose from without bias. The site is there to save you money and to enable you to make the best choice for your most important insurance matters.

Insulate for a More Sustainable Future

It is time to start being more proactive about keeping homes and buildings more energy efficient. For decades we have been aware of the need to live more environmentally conscious lives Without insulation people are usually paying more on annual energy costs by simply using more energy than is needed. Installing something as simple as timber frame insulation will make a room more breathable and reduces heat loss.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Heat loss through the ceiling and walls in your home could be very large if the insulation levels are less than the recommended minimum. When your house was built, the builder likely installed the amount of insulation recommended at that time. Given today’s energy prices (and future prices that will probably be higher), the level of insulation might be inadequate, especially if you have an older home.”

Acara Concepts offer services in soundproofing UK wide. They are a distributor of natural and sustainable thermal and acoustic insulation materials which have both health benefits and ensure an energy efficient and durable built environment. They provide insulation for new build properties and also specialise in insulating old or historic solid walls.

All of Acara’s products can reward builders with points under the Code for Sustainable Homes and they can all be recycled or composted after their useful life. One such product are the Lignotrend LIGNO Acoustic Light absorption panels. This reverberation board is a form of room acoustics treatment which is critical in rooms with hard surfaces. These products work to reduce the echo in rooms, improve sound quality and offer an aesthetically pleasing finished solution.

Why It’s All Location, Location, Location

There are many advantages for businesses to opt for renting commercial property instead of outright buying somewhere. Buying a property involves upfront costs, including a large deposit, maintenance costs and potential improvement costs.

The consequence of this is leads business owners to spend more time thinking about the running of the building and less time on the business itself. On top of that, the loss of money on fixing any repairs could impact on your cash flow.

One huge benefit to leasing a commercial space is that you can afford to situate your company in an area you might not be able to afford otherwise. A good location will vastly improve your public image, therefore leasing provides a more affordable solution as your money isn’t tied up in real estate.

Python Properties are a UK specialists in commercial and residential accommodation. They offer smart and stylish commercial offices for let and residential property. For commercial property Middlesbrough, commercial property Bolton or commercial property Warrington, business owners are guaranteed a first class service and extremely competitive rents.

Flexibility is another advantage to leasing out a commercial property. There should always be room for expansion and this option lets you do that without the fuss of selling and buying a new property where you might potentially make a loss.

The team at Python Properties work actively with all their tenants to provide high standard commercial spaces, with an interior layout that works for your business as well as providing a quick response to any issues that might arise with the building.

Commercial properties including serviced offices Bolton and serviced offices Warrington are currently on offer via Python Properties at

How Green Offices Benefit Employees

Green living has become more important than ever and as time goes on it will only become a more prominent issue. While it used to be a matter of making an extra effort to save energy and reduce waste in the home, this has since extended to the professional side of things. Public buildings such as schools, hospitals and offices are under an increasing amount of pressure to make the change and go green, even if it’s just a step by step process that takes a few years to implement completely.

There are plenty of reasons for offices to go green and these reasons go beyond the concept that it should be done just for the sake of the environment. While the environment is incredibly important and vital to our survival and quality of life, sustainable office design can also have positive impacts upon employees and people using the building.

For example, a report carried out in September of this year revealed that the way an office is designed can significantly impact on the health and wellbeing of staff. It was also found to have an effect on productivity and could be a contributing factor to the amount of sick leave and staff turnaround within the business. It’s fascinating to think that people can be so sensitive to their environments but it also makes a lot of sense; even the choice of colour in your office can negatively or positively affect the people working there. It was found that even the most basic improvements to the temperature and quality of indoor air benefited productivity and that access to natural light helped employees to feel happier and better rested in their personal as well as professional lives.

Based on this study, it is clear that companies should be making more efforts to improve on office design whilst making sure the environment is sustainable and green. There are various little changes that can be made to lead towards something bigger, from making sure the lights are turned off at night to recycling the paper your company gets through on a weekly basis. Once these changes are in place, you can start looking at the bigger picture and begin implementing changes to design and construction, such as having wood fibre insulation fitted.

Along with other sustainable features, insulation can be beneficial in various ways. Not only will an insulated office space be environmentally sound by helping you to keep warm in the winter and cold in the summer, reducing the reliance on the thermostat and central heating and saving money, but it can also be an effective form of sound absorption. The study revealed that noise is a contributing factor to productivity problems, and if you work in a particularly busy area then noise can become a real issue. The aim is to create an environment that is comfortable, well-lit, ventilated and calm enough for people to concentrate and work productively, and sound proofing walls is an effective and environmentally friendly solution.

Green offices are the future, it’s just a matter of waiting for everyone to catch up.