How The Fest Was Won
Outside broadcasts with John Toal are normally good value. The Radio Ulster trucks roll into some mad-for-it location, the guests are primed and their strange habits are relayed to the listening nation.
The Saturday Magazine see-saws from daft conversations to jaw-dropping news. Animals and vegetables often feature and John pinballs between each feature with cheery aplomb. Paula cooks up something swell on a primus stove and I jabber about the new albums. It seems to work.
So when we go to an animal sanctuary, a country fair or a mind and body event, the results are often good fun. Last Saturday we went as far as Letterkenny, where the Earagail Arts Festival was kicking off. The magnificently bearded Paul Brown is now in charge of this project. He’s a Derry man who brought life to Belfast events such as the Bedlam Club and the Moving On Music company. Now he’s rightly proud of a schedule that includes The Skatalites, Patrick Street, Jarlath Henderson, Pat McCabe and an Irish exclusive for Joan As Police Woman.
Other guests are talking up the Special Olympics while the giant Luminarium is being inflated in the park below us. Just as the show is winding up, the sun makes a rare appearance and John Toal sweeps his arms upwards with much satisfaction. Smiles all round and another fine piece of radio all sorted.
Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.