Festival to put the accordion back on the map

January 27 2019
Festival to put the accordion back on the map

HIS day job is working for a Thornbury insurance firm but Andy Coles’ labour of love is the accordion.

And the musician is looking to put the instrument “back on the map” by organising the first regional festival dedicated to the instrument in nearly 40 years.

Andy helped organise the last South West accordion festival back in 1981. Now he is reviving the contest, including a free concert to showcase local talent.

He is inviting accordion players and groups which include at least one person playing the instrument to apply to take part.

Andy said: “I first saw an accordion played on The Good Old Days when I was six years old. It was a small button-keyboard model, but I was fascinated and wanted to play one.

My parents, sensibly, felt it might be a fad. I then saw another accordion on TV. This was a full-size, piano key, electronic instrument. I was hooked.”

Andy nagged his parents for more than two years until they relented and his dad arranged some lessons and bought his first instrument.

He said: “I am forever grateful that my stone-deaf father, who would never hear me play, supported me.”

Andy remembers annual competitions across the region in his youth.

He said: “This is an attempt to get the accordion back on the map in South West.

The great thing is that coming along to watch and listen is free. We’re keen to get as many people interested in and playing the accordion as possible – especially the younger folk, who will be the future of the instrument.”

Andy, who lives in Downend and works for Thornbury insurance brokers Europa Group, is hoping to attract around 40 competitors to the championship, which will be held at Coalpit Heath Village Hall (the Miners’ Club) on February 16.

After the competitive rounds there will be a concert and prize-giving.

The time of the afternoon concert will be set after the number of competitors is finalised, so anyone who is interested in attending should email andy.coles@blueyonder.co.uk after entries have closed on February 9.

Any accordion players who would like to take part in the competition can email Andy or visit the National Accordion Organisation website at www.accordions.com/nao and check the area festivals tab.