Saturday, August 15, 2015

Cambridge Folk Festival 2015 - Part 4 - all sorts of folk

This post doesn't have a specific theme, in part simply because I can't think of one, other than to add how good it all was in its variety. There is however a mild sense of urgency I suppose: I was at Cambridge a fortnight ago and I am still processing that; this time next week I shall be in Wales and about half way through experiencing Green Man 2015.

It is right, particularly in these politically heightened times, to start with a legend. She played the first ever Cambridge Folk Festival in 1965 (the year that I was born, I was about seven weeks old then). Here she is performing solo again fifty years to the day later. And also being nothing if not political...

Peggy Seeger, Stage 2, Friday evening.

She was an artist that I had never seen live before. The next two I have, the former more recently than the latter. The word iconic is possibly over-used but this is one time that I feel it is totally justified.
Show of Hands - Stage 1 - early Saturday afternoon.
As they often are, Steve Knightley and Phil Beer were accompanied by Miranda Sykes on double bass for a romp through their observations on the eccentricities of England and Englishness.
In some ways this artist does that too, but perhaps less stridently. It is over three years, and therefore far too long, since I have seen her play live. Three years in which she has produced so much music too.

Bella Hardy - Stage 1 - early Sunday afternoon.
The emphasis is less on her amazing fiddle playing, and when she does it is often finger-picked, because it really doesn't have to be. She chose to play songs from her latest LP 'With The Dawn'. She played a new song too - she is nothing if not prolific, even excluding collaborations. It does however appear that the forthcoming, second Carthy Farrell Hardy Young LP and the follow-up to Laylam (2013), will be without Bella Hardy. On the other hand, not all news is bad; I believe that Jackie Oates is to take her place. To be honest this is about as amazing as discovering that a square can have five corners, despite all you had been taught.
I shall end this with an Old Etonian, but not one that turned out quite like the current Mayor of London, or indeed the current Prime Minister.
After a degree at LSE (History) he was with punk band Million Dead for a few years. When that dissolved, rather than a career in merchant banking, he took the acoustic route to fame, if not so much fortune. We can be very thankful for that.
Frank Turner - Stage 1 - Friday evening.
This, of course, included songs from his newly released album 'Positive Songs for Negative People'. He had us round his little finger, but he was very nice about it.

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