SourceFM at Falmouth Tall Ships 2023
Living la Vida Loca
“Breathtakingly beautiful, stunningly spectacular and awe-inspiring” were just a few of the superlatives regularly heard this week, as Tall Ships returned once again to their most frequently visited and therefore, in my opinion, their most favourite port, Falmouth.
Our temporary Source FM home, was based on County Quay which was literally a “stone’s throw away” from all the heart of action, with an abundance of both local community groups and statutory agencies stalls on all sides. Additionally, as one would expect from Cornwall, there was an excellently curated stage nearby, with wonderful music being a constant across the entire event.
Highlights of the event include, Mark Davison and I, being let loose as roaming reporters and finding ourselves ‘slap bang’ in the middle of pirate mayhem at the National Maritime Museum. So, following the age-old adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them” we donned pirate hats and joined the party – obviously after taking the now obligatory selfie for posterity!
After escaping the high seas, we encountered the beautifully harmonic and unmistakeable strains of shanty coming from Events Square, where the marvellous Suitcase Singers were performing. The Square was crowded, some were singing along, children were dancing whilst others were sat deep in conversation. We saw friends gathered enjoying the delicacies offered by the plethora of food outlets that encircled the main stage, whose beautiful aromas filled the air and made us feel constantly hungry.
I was relieved of my intrepid explorer duties by my fellow presenters, Rosie Dunstan and Millie Ewing, who accepted a challenge to climb the rigging – rather them than me!!! After a swift Health and Safety briefing and with carbineers securely attached, our dynamic duo merrily commenced climbing the rigging and were so confident, they even posed for pictures! The views over Falmouth were magnificent and they looked so comfortable in this extreme environment, I wondered if we would ever get them to come back down to earth!
So, my overall impression of my first Tall Ships will be of a fantastically organised event, full of wonderful people who were so very gracious and accommodating, including the Source FM team, who made me feel so welcomed. I spoke with many members of the public and they all were really impressed by the organisation of the event and told me of how much they have enjoyed being part of a truly epic moment in Falmouth’s history.
Being a Newbie Presenter, I turned up with a degree of trepidation, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I instantly got lost! – regrettably not an unusual occurrence in Janice Land! - and I was graciously assisted by a local dock worker to the correct location. However, there was no time for nerves as Andy Coote and I were the first presenting team, in what would be 3 full days of Live outside broadcasts. The team were lucky enough to interview many local dignitaries, including the Major, the Event Organiser and notables from the Navy, Fire and Rescue Service as, well as, speaking with lots of charitable organisations present at the event. All were beaming smiles and all were very accommodating on what must have been a very hectic time for them all.
Back at the docks, crowds were bustling along the quayside to get a glimpse of the Tall Ships and to board the vessels for a closer inspection. I decided to join them and the majestically, imposing vessels completely overwhelmed my senses and I felt momentarily transported back to a bygone age, with the strains of Khachaturian, (best known as the theme to The Onedin Line) in my ears and images of ladies in crinolines bustling along the busy quayside in my mind. I was captivated, they had worked their magic, as they have on people from time immemorial.
Still deep in my moment of rapture, my Producer, Simon Neild and I decided to capture some interviews with the Tall Ship personnel and in what I can only describe as an “Universe moment of serendipity”, we asked a young, immaculately attired uniformed officer from the Cuauhtémoc for a short interview. We actually ended up being invited on-board for our own personal guided tour with the delightful Officer Cadet Emilio Santos. With the unmistakeable sound of high energy Mexican music playing as a backdrop, and no time to think of being nervous, I conducted my first locational interview, which also provided us with a fairly substantial workout as we clambered up and down very steep staircases on board ship. I felt like we had fallen headlong into an episode of Challenge Anneka!! and I can, honestly say, that walking, talking and trying not to drag your Producer carrying the kit overboard should be an Olympic sport and I would like to thank Simon for his unfailing forbearance of my evident ineptitude and my propensity to break into uncontrollable giggles, at a moment’s notice.