Martin Bedford - Our Festival Design Artist for 2017
A note from Martin:
"Music’s always been part of my life and the blues has been the perpetual cornerstone.
I think the first I ever heard was ‘Dust my Broom’ by Elmore James and, from the age of 14, I went to see as many of the 'Blues package tours' as I could that played in my area of Kent and London. As a result I got to see acts such as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Howlin’ Wolf and Memphis Slim, among many others.
I always knew that being an artist was what I was going to do, and it was the album covers of Hendrix’s ‘Axis Bold As Love’ and the Grateful Dead’s ‘Skull and Roses’, along with the psychedelic posters of the time, that inspired me. I knew I could never be a player, but the artwork gave me an entry into the Rock’n’Roll world.
As a result I’ve never had a 'proper' job, but have spent a very happy time creating posters and cover artwork, as well as touring with bands, setting up nights/clubs and working festivals, for every genre from psychedelic to punk, reggae, raves and of course the blues.
My work ethic goes back to the psychedelic poster artists that turned me on. I’ve always thought that if you put effort into a poster, you not only say ‘this band/event is worth seeing’ but you also show respect to the audience. I hate the type of gigs that put little imagination into promotion, which the promoter doesn’t even attend, that over charge on a crap bar and then bum rush, not only you, but also the band, out of the building to cram in a club night.
Sheffield’s been my base, since I came to attend art-college back in 1976, and from the time I arrived I immersed myself in the local music scene. I’m inordinately proud to have been part of it and it still fires me up. There’s a constant flow of brilliant bands pouring out of this city which never cease to impress me.
I’ve been lucky enough to have done what I always wanted, fortunate to have been a founder member of the Leadmill club, which taught me so much, fulfilled a dream of creating posters for the Warfield Theatre and met my poster heroes while in San Francisco, and now run The Honey Bee Blues Club, with my wife, Nicky, and a faithful crew.
To quote my favourite album title, ‘Things may come and things may go, but the art school dance goes on forever’ ….or as the ‘Dead’ said, ‘What a long strange trip’..."
More about Martin and his work: www.martinfbedford.com