The Masquerade Ball


Featherstone Castle
Northumberland
12th-13th November, 2021


Friday 12th November

The first party I had attended since January 2020, Of course, it was an important one. Parties at Featherstone Castle always are, so maximum preparation was in order, my lift wasnae arriving till 6pm. So had a full day to look my best. My Covid Test was negative and the absence of Party in my life was about to be rectified with a whole gathering of beautiful people that I havenae seen for two years. I knew that it was going to be a wonderful Bohemian experience.

My faithful carriage arrived on time, thankyou Cal Howland, a new friend made, and we were off in an electric car, another Divine first. Gliding down south with a stop in Carlisle to charge up the battery, we eventually arrived at our destination at 9.00pm sharp. I was so happy and ready to boogie, trousers and knickers off, kilt on and ready for the amazing Cenote Soundsytems that would provide sonic fidelity in three rooms for the duration of our entertainment. Happy Smiley people abound. Everyone knew that this was going to be a good one.

DJ Falex warmed up The Blue Room spinning golden oldies on the wheels of steel to take the groove through till Saturday. I hopped through to the ballroom for a catch-up and natter with Summer Lawson and we had some Healing time on the comfy couch as Hungry 4 Apples took to the stage, a brilliant band of musicians that hail from my native Yorkshire, wonderfully fronted by the gifted singer, Nathan Pies, and no strangers to the Castle.

This band of merry Yorkshiremen have gifted us with their collective muse in years past. After a two year break from performing live they brought Rock N Roll finesse to the Ballroom in fine form. The saying ‘a break is as good as a rest’ certainly rang true, & I was totally transfixed by this sterling performance for the entire duration. The last Song had me in raptures of joy with the perfect flavours of Primus. Hungry 4 Apples really do have something special.

By 3am I was growing weary and in need of a bit of rest and recuperation, so I returned to the Annex for a bit of a rest. Divine’s Sober now, so was pacing myself. I knew that I was on fire duty all day Saturday and the coming night I was very very excited for. Minerva Wakes, Erb And Ting and Sex Cakes. Three bands that Divine had been patient to review for some time and as if by magik all three were to be Gracing The Ballroom that coming night. Yeeeha.


Saturday 13th November

As Dawn Broke and the Autumnal Sun began to rise, I went to check the wood situation out. Hmmmm… indeed there was enough to cover the three fires upstairs and the Hearth in the Dungeon. Divine does take pride in his fire duties and keeping all the revellers warm is in Divine’s nature. It was a lovely day and the rolling green of Featherstone’s grounds were just breathtakingly beautiful (Sigh ❤ ) So I stocked up three wheelbarrows full and tended to the castle fires. Making sure each was glowing heartily, at mid day, I went for a shower and freshen up, a bit of a powernap before Mel Tiger Cats DJ Performance and yes it was a lovely skilled master mix of Disco Classics from the vaults of yesteryear further warming up a cozy Blue Room.

It was just as the Drum N Bass was revving up in the dungeon I lit the fire in the Hearth, making sure it was glowing heartily. Divine headed to witness the bill of pectacular Rock N Roll Brilliance that was about to unfold. But first it was Dinner time as performance artists and revellers rejoiced on hearty Fare, MacNCheese with a choice of Vegan, Vegetarian and meaty options available, along with some really really yummy heart and belly warming soup. Another 5 Star performance from The Masquerade Party Kitchen Crew.

To begin proceedings Minerva Wakes took to the stage of The Ballroom to deliver spoken word and contemporary performance art in a rather brilliant way. Minerva Wakes a one Woman powerhouse of creativity called Jo D’Arc, a lady who also plays Bass for the legendry Girobabies and fronts the sibling duo and power garage rock band “The Twistettes.” This is why my anticipation for this performance was so huge; Minerva Wakes I hadnae witnessed before so this is why it was extra special. The Castle Party Massive were blessed with a very entertaining Bohemian hour of brilliance, Trip-Hop Theatrical Amazingness and the debut of Minerva Wakes’ forthcoming album. This was the 5 Divine Star Opener of a night of 5 Star entertainment, Absolutely Brilliant.

During the intermission, I did a round of fire tending, stoking the fires and feeding them with the lovely Featherstone wood, grabbed a coffee and headed back to The Ballroom comfy couch to bear witness again to genuinely gifted talent. Now this one was a total surprise and completely new to Divine; a band (again from Yorkshire – Good Time! its always a good thing) called Masi Masi, fronted by a multi -talented instrumentalist. With the voice of an angel, called Joe McGrath, this young man would put Jamiroquai to shame, an absolute gifted soul. Another Star within The Ball Room, Massi Massi and Joe McGrath are gonna be massive… talent such as this always rises to the top.

This next performance I knew was going to be massive; Erb N Ting fronted by Groove Armada’s MC Mike Daniels on lead vocals and Jen Lynn Davis on supporting vocals. With the guitar and electronic wizardry of Al Roberts how could this not be a brilliant thing to witness, further blessing the Castle Massive with Rock N Roll brilliance. Jen blew me out of the water with her vocal range, totally complimenting Mike’s genius with a voice that appeared to be channelling Amy Winehouse. Honestly, this was the best night of my life since Groove Armada Headlined Lindisfarne. Erb N Ting even closed the set with Groove Armada’s classic, Superstyling. Absolutely brilliant and all in The Ball Room of musical delight.

As you can guess I was having the musical equivalent of Kundalini rising on the mega talent rammed night of excellence and just as I was thinking could it be any more brilliant, Sex Cakes took to the stage and climaxed with a performance that was just absolutely out of this world. Like all the bands on this stella line up, this was my first time of seeing them live. Oh my, how blessed could we be. Fronted by The Duchess, a poignant voice of truth that tells it as it is with no punches barred. This Goddess has something to say and it needs to be heard and indeed it will be. (All-Seeing. All-knowing Thats Divine ❤ ) And that’s just the lyrical prowess.

The Lynch Pin is the Electronic Mastery, Synths, Beats and Guitar by The Ploughman, a superior take on electronica in league with Orbital and Underworld, powered along with the Punk Rock power bass lines of The Baron. A collective of genuine performance art genius. No one was expecting this, performance art that is dynamite. Imagine Underworld with something to say words and beats that naturally grabs one attention with a resounding Yes!. Absolute Musical and performance art mastery. This was the climax to a night and weekend of performance art Orgasms, bubbling with delight insight and Bohemian Mastery. A night that moved my World and all I had witnessed for the first time in the flesh and not on a screen. Indeed the Cream Of The Crop Graced The Ballroom of 2021’s Masquerade Ball. A night that will enrich our souls forever.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

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