Martin Bate gives his reviews of the Bury St Edmunds and Ely Folk Festivals.
Saturday, July 4 2015, on a day usually noted for American celebrations, marked the inaugural Bury St Edmunds Folk Festival set in the delightful Victorian Walled Garden in Nowton Park.
On a beautiful sunny day, one of the hottest of the year, around 200 people took advantage of the sunshine to enjoy an eclectic mix of music. There was some Americana, and also the full folk range from traditional folk, hurdy-gurdy, all the way to folk metal!
First class real ale was on offer from a bar staffed by the people of Oakes Barn, the home of the Bury Folk Collective, which organised this event.
Congratulations to Brian and the team who should take the credit for this very special occasion. In his programme notes Brian, the chairman of the Bury Folk Collective, described the festival as ‘an embryonic, intimate Festival in atmospheric surroundings’ and he hit the nail right on the head.
This was a truly special event. It would be unfair to say that any artist stood out from the crowd as so much variety of music was apparent today. Suffice to say a good time was had by all with only the threat of sunburn hanging over us! Many of the bands have local roots in Suffolk, which together with the beer from Adnams and Shortt’s Farm made this a truly local event.
Such a remarkable event, we hope to see it return in 2016 (and 2017, 2018...)
2015 marked the 30th anniversary for the Ely Folk Festival. Typically the festival sported an array of folk artists of all kinds, supported by a vast contingent of Morris men and women, for a fun filled weekend in July.
Major artists included the Demon Barbers, Eliza Carthy and the Oysterband. In addition, several of the lesser known acts made a big impact. On Saturday evening, Sound Tradition from Bury St Edmunds led the audience in an uplifting chorus session and received a well deserved encore.
Friday evening, and again on Sunday, saw performances from Suffolk’s own Broadside Boys. On Sunday we think it is fair to say that they stole the show attracting a rousing standing ovation and encore.
Back on the main stage, the headliners all put in fantastic performances fitting for this milestone event. In support were a true variety of artists representing many aspects of folk music. Notably Megson, a husband and wife duo, who contrasted their ‘serious’ folk performance on Sunday evening with a family show during the afternoon. Let’s not forget the breadth of entertainment on offer from this wonderful event. Saturday morning saw the traditional Morris procession through Ely city centre, followed by a return to the festival site for more dancing. We were particularly intrigued by the novel use of a variety of implements during this dance.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 2 – BLACK FEN FOLK CLUB. Hot Numbers Cafe, Gwydir St. Cambridge. Check before going.
MONDAY, AUGUST 3 – BURY FOLK COLLECTIVE. Oakes Barn. 8:00. Free.Unaccompanied folk singing. Real ale.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5 – BURY FOLK COLLECTIVE. Oakes Barn. 8:00 Free. Contemporary folk. Real ale.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 6 – CIRCLE DANCING. United Reformed Church, Whiting St. 2pm-3.30pm. Contribution fee £5.
Contact Jen Larner 01284 705548 – firstname.lastname@example.org
HORNINGSEA FOLK CLUB. Plough and Fleece. 8pm-11pm. Contact Phil 01638 741743.