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Features and Review

Festival Fun for Everyone!

Fishstock 2011 attracted massive audiences to the New Brixham Fish Market to experience a vast range of delights including fresh cuisine, live music and have a go activities for both parents and children to enjoy.

Busy at the Fishstock entrance
Dave Johnson performing on the Acoustic Stage
With a dull and drizzly start to the day, there was just a steady trickle of people as the gates opened. However by midday there was a sea of onlookers spreading everywhere, as performers stepped onto the stages and the sun establishes itself in the afternoon skies over Brixham.
Dave Styles on Acoustic Stage
Ashbird performing rock covers
Beats of Polynesian S Seas Island Dances

On the main stage at midday the Polynesian Dancers made a lively entrance, a cultural contrast to the later groups such as Port Isaacs Fishermen's Friends with their sea shanties and some of the folk and rock bands which followed e.g. Beats, Paddy's Whiskers and Ashbird.

Maggie with The Old Gaffers
Paddy's Whiskers
Alex making Fish Flags with Amelie and Isabelle waving their two finished flags

Meanwhile on the Acoustic stage Dave Styles appeared early in the day, whilst Maggie Duffy joined the Old Gaffers for more folk tunes later on and Dave Johnson started the evening performances with his first session on guitar.

Veggie Deli with Anna and Christen
Intoto Kitchens Cooking Demonstrations pic 2
Joshua and Alaistaire from the Brixham Sea Fish Co Ltd

Food was in abundance as the name of the Festival suggested fish was definitely on many menus, however the variety of food styles ranged from seafood with the Brixham Chefs cooking up a tasty paella, to Indian cuisine, a Veggie Deli, West Indian Food, French Crepes and a whole host of dreamy deserts in the form of cakes, handmade chocolates and fudge.

Feast Bus with South Devon College
Blue Sea Food Company and a costumed crab
Intoto Kitchens Cooking Demonstrations pic 1

On the sea food stands crab proved a popular choice, with several stalls offering it, with an opportunity to learn how to ‘dress your own crab', provided by demonstrations by The Blue Sea Food Company. Seriously good fish filleting from award winning fishmongers Duncan and Sue Lucas, saw them with very little fish left by 4 o'clock as the crowds went way above expectation and Brixham Chefs also ran out of their stocks of mussels!

Trevor from Brixham Seafood Company demonstrating some crab techniques
Helen and Danny with Fenton Fudge real French Crepes
Danny cooking up some real French Crepes

Feniton Fudge had a special treat for not only was there samples of rich handmade fudge but also Helen and Danny Evans offered French Crepes, made with real French flour and French sugar to gain an authentic flavour.

Leonie from Chocolate Heaven based in Torquay said, ”We make handmade chocolates as we are licensed to work from home and use local liquors and have won awards at ‘Taste of the West'.

Leonie with Chocolate Heaven
Fishstock Chocolate Fish made by Chocolate Heaven

As well as food inside the New Fish Market the variety of stalls created in one area an art and craft gallery with many local artists and crafts people displaying their handiwork. Local artist Jenny Harriman having recently retired from her position at Brixham Adult and Community Learning -ACL is continuing to assemble her driftwood and marine creations, whilst other artists who still teach at Brixham ACL were alongside her including textile artist Vicky Porter.

Vicky said, ”I usually use a lot of hearts and flowers in my range, but I chose to pursue this ‘fishy theme' for Fishstock.”

A stall dedicated to ‘Fish Town and Co' was also totally inspired by the Fishstock event, as couple Sam and Susan heard about the event only a couple of weeks before and then went ahead and created a range of designer goods and prints that reflected this title. Sam said,” I was a tailor and Susan was a knitwear designer for years and we just put together this collection for Fishstock.”

Jenny Harriman with her art stall
Vicky Textile Artist with her daughter
Sam and Susan with a new business Fish Town and Co

At the other end of the Hall fun and games were to be had by all as there were many children's activities run by different organisations in the community as well as things of interest for the adults, such as Utility Warehouse's Win a Mini. Utility Warehouse does not advertise nationally, but through distributors, they inform people of Utility Warehouse's ability to offer the cheapest energy and telecommunications (including mobile phones),utilities to your home, through being a discount club. www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, (TCCT) created Fishy Flags following on from their successful Fishstock project in schools whereby the children made flags and fishcakes. After the children saw the fish landed by the trawlers, fish was purchased to make their fishcakes so that the children had an insight into the fishing industry.

Fishing for Litter with Sarah and Steve
Karl Gale with his Little Fishing Boats

Making a willow star was one way Maya Plass tries to raise awareness of materials that will naturally decay and those that can pose a threat to the marine environment. Maya said,”Willow will snap and the birds can use the twigs to build a nest where as plastics don't rot.” Her marine projects take her all over South Devon with her company Learn to Sea.

Also promoting the protection of the Marine environment a stand called Fishing for Litter in the South West. This project co-ordinated by Sarah Crosbie has been joined by fishermen here in Brixham who take out litter bags and collect in the litter after they empty their nets. This is then landed with the catch and taken to the skip by the Harbour staff. Steve who co-ordinates with the Fishermen here then puts it in the skip which allows them to monitor just how much litter is being brought in.

Inspired by the Trawlers of Brixham former head teacher Karl Gale was on hand to sign copies of his books and present the DVDs of stories of the ‘Little Fishing Boats of Brixham'. Karl said,” I was encouraged to write down the stories I told my grandchildren and their names are the names of the seven boats in the stories.” www.littlefishingboats.co.uk

Ray in 1950s diving suit
Whizz Bang Childrens Entertainment
Tall Ships Adventure ship at Fishstock

Painted faces and balloon headdresses made by colourful clowns Whizz Bang led to many transformed children wandering about, but their headdresses were a flimsy contrast to the diving helmets presented by Ray Ives. Not only did he bring some of his collection from his Plymouth Diving Museum but he also modelled a 1950s diving suit. Ray still sometimes supervises dives for Millennium Marine Contractors, who offered up a display of their more recent diving exploits.

Bouncy ship and octopuses outside New Fish Market

Utility Warehouse Win a Mini with Nick and Julie


Dave making traditional lobster pots

Trying to keep an old tradition alive, Dave French demonstrated how he made willow lobster pots. Originally made for the fishing industry, now most of his creations form decorative features for around the home and garden.

The event really was a great success in terms of the quality of the attractions and the volume of its audience. Jim Portus Chief Executive South West Fish Producer Organisation Ltd and one of the organisers of Fishstock said,” I can't believe so many people can have so much fun in such a small venue.” It truly is wonderful, people are still flocking in after four and it has exceeded all my expectations!” Indeed the event for the stall holders inside the fish market may have started at 9am and ended around 6pm but the stages and outside events continued well into the night.

Superintendent John W Anderson, Fishermen's Mission Port Missioner, Brixham and Fishstock organiser, said” We are delighted that all of the proceeds from the Festival will be donated to help our ongoing work with fishermen and their families. This work involves getting alongside those people who work in the most dangerous of peace-time employment.”

For more information about Fishstock go to www.fishstockbrixham.co.uk




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