Monday, 5 December 2016

The Great British Folk Festival

Skegness - Just returned from a brilliant weekend away at The Great British Folk Festival with our folkie friends from down the road, Stan, Kaz and Dan. While we`ve been to loads of outside summer festivals down the years, an indoor event in the winter was a first for of us all, and a big hit it proved to be.

 The line up over the three days was pretty tasty with some old favourites such as Oysterband, Kate Rusby, Donovan and Lindisfarne, but also John Watterson (aka Fake Thackray) a performer I`d not come across before. The late Jake Thackray was a true craftsman of the English language noted for his satirical and witty folk songs, and John`s session on Sunday had all the warmth and respect that you would expect from a lifelong Thackray fan.
  Quite often folk festivals chuck in a surprise act and this weekends `joker in the pack` was Bob Geldof. I didn't quite know what to expect but he was top notch, hammering out a mix of Irish folk and heavy prog-rock numbers, a weird world music song and finishing with some of the old Boomtown Rat`s favourites. The band was as tight as a drum with a core of Irish musicians, complete with a fiddle player in a suit and string vest - brilliant! Between songs Geldof held court on a number of topical issues in his inimitable style with subject matters ranging from global poverty and climate change, while slagging off everything from corrupt governments and the Catholic church, to folk festivals and the Daily Mail! His ramblings were well received by a raucous audience and, needless to say, peppered with plenty of expletives!
  So, a great weekend of music, song and beer alongside like-minded souls, while the accommodation, food and, especially the staff, at the Butlin`s venue were also superb. The only natural history item of the weekend belonged to the roadside raptor count across the flatlands of Lincolnshire. Common Buzzards and Kestrels were just about equal in number, but what one Earth they find to feed on in that arable desert is something of a mystery, particularly the Buzzards.

Lade - Got home just in time to take Barney for a walk out back where we jammed in on a cracking sunset and a Short-eared Owl quartering the Desert.


  1. Didn't realise that you was an old folkie Paul. I don't go so much now but since the 1960's I've seen all manner of top folk stars at various clubs or concerts. First time I saw Donovan was in 1967 and he was brilliant. These days I think he's pretty awful and never stops trying to convince people that he invented folk music. I've seen Kate Rusby six times so far and about three years ago at the excellent Whitstable Folk Club saw Wizz Jones and John Renbourne a couple of times, shortly before John died.
    Last week I bought a new 2 CD set of a live recording of Dylan's May 1966 concert at the Royal Albert Hall, special for me because I was sitting in the audience, aged 19.

  2. I reckon the folk scene is in rude health these days Derek with plenty of good youngsters coming through and bands like Bellowhead even making the main stream. It amazes me how some of the oldies like Fairport and Martin Carthy keep on going, I guess they just love performing. You`re spot on about Donovan though, and he`s still dining out on that story about being a threat to Bob Dylan! Our favourites are Oysterband, who started out in Kent, who we saw at Whitstable Folk Club a few years ago. I`ve only seen Dylan once about 15 years ago and he was disappointing; must`ve been great to have seen him in the 60`s. All the best.