So I’ve worked out I only need to update one or twice a month, as the comments keep everyone going in the between times. Just kidding, but no more promises to update with any more regularity, these are busy times (which probably means I’ll be updating in order to hide from all I have to do…)
The festivals review (that’s probably been so long awaited that most of you went past caring months ago):
The Gower Folk Festival
This was a really chilled out and relaxed weekend, no camping as it’s about 25 minutes drive away and a fantastic lineup. We had really been looking forward to seeing The Old Rope String Band again, and introducing their unique humour and skill to friends who had yet to come across them. Tragically only a couple of days before the festival Joe Scurfield of ‘TORSB’ was killed in a hit and run incident on his way to the pub in Newcastle. There were many songs and tributes dedicated to Joe, but the overall feeling whenever we thought of it was just one of disbelief. The thing about folk music is that it’s about real stuff a lot of the time. Often it has an emphasis on the tragic, but there is always a lot of poignancy at events like these, this one was just even more so. There were some great sets from Steve Tilston, Spiers and Boden and the Wrigley Sisters. We went also to the ceilidh and to the church service (a fantastic little place where the minister has trained as a postmaster so as to use the schoolrooms as a Post office during the week – sadly under serious threat of closure by the URC) and had fab veggie breakfasts and watched the ducks and caught up with old friends and met new ones.
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention
Or just Cropredy really. This was my 11th Cropredy, but my first on a canal boat – in fact my first stay over on a canal boat full stop, getting my ‘sea legs’ (technically ‘canal legs’, but that sounds odd) was fine, it was the land legs that were the problem (especially with everyone around swaying to the music) We were sharing the boat with Wood and Tracy who were, but are no longer ‘Cropredy Virgins’ according to the festival parlance. Wood was having a little trouble adjusting to some of the expressions and assumptions prevalent at Cropredy – especially the use of the word ‘god’ for Richard Thompson – an expression that I’m not going to argue against as long as it stays a small ‘g’. Musical highlights for me included Richard Thompson – always at his best at Cropredy, the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain and Beth Neilson Chapman. Jah Wobble was ok and Fairport started out a bit rough but got better. The boat meant that we managed to aviod the rain pretty much completely and it didn’t rain during Richard Thompson’s set for the first time in many many years. Fab weekend – but then it always is.
Another local one that we stopped in on for the afternoon, Rhys did some morris dancing along with my dad, and soon after decided to give it up (I thought he was quite good, but what do I know?). A pleasant enough festival, but I’d rather enjoy the atmosphere from the point of view of a punter than of the spouse/daughter of participants.
Was as fab as ever, introduced Jacqui to it’s delights, and discovered a few new delights of my own – mostly in the form of pancakes. The new site layout worked really well once we all got used to the fact that it took a while to get from Stage 1 to Cedar etc. Didn’t do a lot of worship stuff, or spend quite as much time in the (relocated) Tiny Tea Tent as in previous years, but enjoyed a lot of talks and comedy stuff and bits of music. Jim Moray was as (thinks of polite words) diametrically opposed to my music tastes as I thought he would be. Wasn’t fussed over Duke Special either – went and looked at a thoughtful display of shoes at that point. Karine Polwart and Martha Tilston were both pleasant enough, and the Proclaimers were brilliant. Great to meet some wib-people at the meetup, and to hear the bloggers panel too.
Bromyard Folk Festival
Last year at Bromyard, Isobel was there, she was 9 years old and although she suffered from Cystic Fibrosis she seemed fine. We played games, mucked around, she was part of the Chinese Dragon parade it was great. She didn’t make it to Christmas, or her 10th birthday. At her funeral there was music from a lot of the people that she had heard and enjoyed at Bromyard and elsewhere. This year she wasn’t there physically but the memories of last year meant that she was present at the turn of many corners. Especially seeing the Chinese Dragon go by.
The first night of Bromyard was also the night that the other to members of The Old Rope String Band took to the stage with Joe’s girlfriend to perform a tribute. The balance was perfect, the right amount of sad reflection, but a lot of the hilariously funny spirit that we associated with the band.
The rest of the festival was thankfully normal Bromyard. A new veggie cafe has opened up since last year, the craft fair was very good as usual. Musically Colum Sands was great as were Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies. Artisan were fantastic as ever, it’s a pity in some ways that they are splitting up to start new projects, but I’m sure they will be just as good in future guises.
So that was the festivals review of 2005. Maybe I’ll see you at one or more of them in 2006?