REVIEW: National Drum Fair 2009

Held once again under the sodium lights of Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre, this year's NDF was the biggest yet, with more visitors and exhibitors than ever before. Featuring the cream of the UK custom drum makers, a few new entrants, and vintage enthusiasts, the NDF had something for everyone, as long as they liked drums!

The vintage and rare display as usual took pride of place over on the right of the hall, with historic and rare Stateside kits such as Ludwig and Slingerland nestling up to Ajax, Premier and British Rogers, all lovingly restored and cared for.

Copyright Dave Hughes 2009

Over in the far corner was the performance stage, which this year included performances from Richard Rayner, the Young Drummer of the Year 2009 winner, and the legendary multi-percussionist Eric Delaney (whose setup was so large it relegated poor Richard to the floor!).

With his trademark Mohican 'do, Richard proceeded to tear up the floor with a fantastic performance made all the more impressive by the fact he had a cast up to his left knee following a footballing accident the day before!

Copyright Dave Hughes 2009

Eric Delaney was in typical bombastic form, entertaining the crowd with his classic anecdotes and switching seamlessly between kit, timps and marching snare and giving young Richard a run for his money in the energy stakes!

Copyright Dave Hughes 2009

One of the delights of the NDF are the stalls set out by enthusiasts and retailers alike. With a treasure trove of spares, and rare and vintage drums and cymbals all for sale, it took a hard heart to walk away without some kind of purchase, even if it was just a snare head.

If vintage isn't your thing, the NDF also had displays by some of the leading custom drum makers. Dave Nuttall's Jalapeno were there, with some beautifully finished and great sounding drums that attracted a lot of attention. Highwood Drums appear to be going from strength to strength, with all of the kits on display already sold. Sharing the stand with Dream Cymbals meant Highwood had a one-stop shop which meant most people spent a lot of time there! One particular highlight was Bath's own Matt Nolan, who had a stand showing his hand-made cymbals - incredible artistic bronze creations that looked just as good as they sounded.

Copyright Dave Hughes 2009

The NDF is a show for the drumming enthusiast, and proves that even in the midst of a deep recession, a shared love drums brings people together. Don't miss the 2010 NDF!

Review by Jake Stacey

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. In addition to testing the latest music gear, with a particular focus on electronic drums, it's my job to manage the 300+ buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear for them at the best prices. I dabble with guitar, but my main instrument is the drums, which I have been playing for 24 years. I've been a part of the music gear industry for 20 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance music writer, during which time I worked with the world's biggest instrument brands including Roland, Boss, Laney and Natal.