Under normal circumstances we would have been at Balstock for the whole weekend including Friday night but these were not ‘normal’ circumstances, Friday night was a very special occasion, it was our good friend Jo’s “Don’t mention the ‘F’ word” party (F in this case being the big Five-0) and it took place way out ‘In the sticks’ in Toddington in the Social Club with a rather good covers band, ‘Deaf Shepherd’ providing the music for the 150 or so family & friends who gathered there to eat too much, drink too much and dance the night away.
|Deaf Shepherd - Very entertaining band|
Most of Saturday was spent at The White Lion where Folkstock were running the stage for the day with the lovely Helen Meissner and the Folkstock crew doing an excellent job and putting on some of the finest folk singers, duo’s and bands around the (Predominately) local circuit.
|The day's running order|
There were many acts that I for one had either heard of but never seen and several who were completely new to me. Folk is a genre that I have always loved but I have never been comfortable with the finger up the arse pretentious attitude of many of the folk clubs I have visited in the past.
Please don’t get me wrong, I fully support respecting the artist and not talking loudly or walking in front of stage when they’re on and all of that, it’s no less than any performing artist deserves but it’s the “You cannot get up and get a drink while they’re on” “You have to sit in silence” and the “If it’s not folk it isn’t music” attitude that gets me, besides I have never looked good with a beard or wearing sandals, brown corduroy trousers and a baggy knitted jumper!
I am very happy to say that the good folk of Folkstock are NOTHING like that and this day fully restored not only my love of folk music but showed everyone just how it can be done when it’s done well.
So a few pictures of who we saw to start with:-
|The lovely Cara Beard|
|Daniel Nestlerode - Who'd have thought one man and a mandolin could be so brilliant!|
|Faye Brotherhood, lovely quirks songs about battles and death among other things|
|Flaming June, simply outstanding!|
|A lovely set from Kaity Rae|
|Disco Zhivago at their splendid bonkers best, we love this band.|
|The splendid Ratpigeon in full flow|
|Speedshot give it their all|
|The legendary Defekters rocked the main stage|
|The wonderful Kelly Oliver|
|Awesome set from Said the Maiden|
And to round off the evening:-
|The highly entertaining Black *Scarr|
All in all a very fine Balstock Saturday.
Sunday saw a more sedate start to the proceedings as I availed myself of a very nice lunch of ham, egg and chips with a mug of tea at the Baldock café before wandering up to the White Lion with Chris to see what was happening there. Owing to a somewhat late kick off we managed to catch part the first act before setting off to The Broken Drum for Arc Angel, the Joan ov Arc acoustic off-spin and delightful beyond all expectations it was too and also spontaneously turned into one of those never to be repeated events when Dutch Band, Ritn Ditn complete with entourage and sporting customised clogs descended upon the pub to sing along and tap out the rhythms on the old wooden floor!
|Arc Angels phew! What a set.|
|One Leather Glove, so much more than just a covers band|
|Dutch loony Rockers, RITN DITN|
Topping the bill and bringing the main stage to a close were Joan ov Arc, this all girl rock band are just that, first and foremost a rock band and it is no surprise that they are now enjoying international fame as they not only deserve it but have worked very hard over the years to achieve it and well done them, this night they even had special guest John Altman (Nasty Nick from Eastenders) to sing a couple of songs with then, and yes, he really can sing, and the finale with John and Ritn Ditn and the Blalstock maestro himself, G, on stage with the girls was a splendid way to end the day. Despite the fact that some of the other venues were going on until closing time we decided to call it a day after Joan ov Arc because, quite simply, nothing else would have been that good.
|The always brilliant, Joan ov Arc|
Now I don't have time to research, copy and post all the links to the various bands and artists web pages or facebook pages but please do go and check them out and check out BALSTOCK too, make a date for next year, it will be so worth it.
Cheers me dears for now.
Grant September 2014 Wordz n pic's above all rights reserved Grant Meaby 2014