ABOUT HIDDEN NOTES
Hidden Notes is a brand new annual two day event in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
Founded by local independent arts magazine Good On Paper it focuses on presenting the works of contemporary classical and avant-garde composers rarely seen together on the same stage to an eager audience, whilst also providing the artists with a platform to perform new music and collaborations.
The unique and eclectic line-up features musicians from some of the world’s most forward thinking record labels including the likes of Erased Tapes, One Little Indian, Bedroom Community, Mercury KX, 130701/Fat Cat Records, Touch and Prah Recordings all held in the epic surroundings of St Laurence Church in the heart of Stroud.
“Most people fall in love with Stroud before they even pull into the station. The train from the East snakes through the Golden Valley, with stone cottages perched up on the vivid green hillsides above. The tracks follow the magical mossy furrows of the old canal and the river Frome which run alongside each other. You might spot an otter or a kingfisher or a deer as well as the less shy sheep, cows and horses. You will see stone mill buildings that long ago wove red woollen military jackets. And you will pass Pangolin Editions and Gallery - Europe’s biggest sculpture foundry where works by Eduardo Paulozzi, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst (who also has his own production facility across town) and Lynn Chadwick, and public monuments to Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Britain’s female wartime steel workers have been rendered in bronze.
At the station you will pass the Brunel Goods Shed, which has been lovingly re-purposed by SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace) as one of the most charming arts venues. Everyone from The Comet Is Coming to This is the Kit have performed at this sister venue to SVA’s gallery and kitchen also in town. The Prince Albert is another Stroud musical hub, recently name checked in the Guardian as one of the UK’s best local music venues. The town’s beautiful churches (Rodborough and St Laurence’s) double as music halls, too, as does the new canal-side Stroud Brewery building. Art gets into every nook and cranny here.
Stroud sits where five valleys meet, spreading out like a star between the lush rolling hills, traditionally known as wolds. You could say Stroud puts the “wolds” into “Cotswolds” but its industrial heritage and creative community save it from tweeness and existing merely as a tourist attraction. Eavesdrop at a local cafe and you’ll hear one table enthusing about an upcoming poetry event, another plotting the line-ups for the various stages at August’s Fringe Festival, and a gaggle of Extinction Rebellion founders (the movement was born in Stroud) regrouping after a successful spate of peaceful protests.
The breath-taking Slad Valley is often referred to as “Laurie Lee country”, because it was the writer's home, and the setting for his famous coming-of-age memoir Cider with Rosie. Lee’s portrait proudly hangs in the cosy, untouched Woolpack pub in Slad, where after dinner service, spontaneous rowdy sing-alongs often erupt around the piano. The poets Michael and Frances Horovitz moved to the Valley in the early 1970s, bringing celebrated beat poets including the likes of Allen Ginsberg to perform in town. Their son, the poet Adam Horovitz, still resides in Slad and remembers his parents and Laurie Lee drinking together when he was little. The truth is, with STROUD'S disproportionate amount of resident artists, musicians, writers and creative thinkers, you never know who you’ll spot at a gig or the farmers market or INDEED in the pub.”
By Amy Fleming
(Stroud resident and writer/editor for the Guardian as well as FT, 1843, Newsweek, Good On Paper)