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Thursday, 8 December 2016

It's Not All Folk! The Great British Folk Festival, Skegness 2016

It’s Not All Folk
The Great British Folk Festival – Skegness December 2016


A different sort of excursion for us but as Chris and I have so much enjoyed the Folkstock Stage at Balstock these past couple of years it did seem like a natural sort of progression and the fact that two of our favourite ‘Local’ artists were playing, Kelly Oliver and Said the Maiden sealed it for us!

So we were just the Fellowship two but it is quite amazing just who you meet at festivals like this, a contingent of our proggy friends from London non the less which made for a splendid, highly entertaining and yes, of course, boozy festival!

Friday kicked off in style with a stunning performance from Kelly Oliver on the introducing stage, the 4pm first artist to perform slot unfortunately makes ‘winning’ the introducing stage on that day virtually impossible due to the number of people not there yet! Kelly played an exceptionally wonderful set which I’m sure (& judging by the sale of her merch afterwards) certainly won her many new fans and admirers.

Kelly Oliver

After catching the quirky set from Mark Harrison it was time to eat before the evening session which for us started in absolutely fabulous style with Said the Maiden on the main Centre Stage, playing to an almost packed house they absolutely wowed us!
We got into the other main venue, Reds, in time for the last couple of songs from Cara Dillon before a magnificent set from Lindisfarne and topped off the evening watching Los Pacaminos (Featuring Paul Young) – See, it’s not all folk after all, certainly not the ‘finger in the ear’ stuff, in fact quite an eclectic mix of music all round.

Said the Maiden

Saturday Sunrise
Saturday’s musical entertainment started with The Pitmen Poets with their songs about coal mining, shipbuilding, village life in the North East, wonderful stuff, it was then off to Reds to see Gryphon, completely utterly wonderfully bonkers, so good ton see that they have not changed one bit from when I used to see the ‘back in the day’ who’d have ever thought that the Crumhorn and medieval bassoon could make such beautiful music?

The Pitmen Poets
Gryphon
After another huge and filling Butlin’s dinner it was time to catch a lovely set from Sarah Dean (Harpist otherwise known as ‘The Incredible String Blonde’) before squeezing into Centre Stage for David Knopfler and Harry Bogdanovs (Yes the Knopfler that Mark threw out of the band Dire Straits), an OK set but I kept expecting him to burst into Romeo and Juliet, that riff just kept coming back and back!
Highlight of the evening was of course Kate Rusby and her band, she treated us to a very special and magical Christmas set, carols, traditional Yuletide and Wassail  songs, it was absolutely brilliant.

Sarah Dean
How quickly the time passes, suddenly it was Sunday, where did the time go? 
The afternoon kicked off for us with Chris Jagger’s acoustic roots, yes that’s Chris Jagger, Mick’s brother, one of the wonderful things that Chris has done over his musical career is to carve out his own exceptionally good niche in the blues / country / roots scene without capitalising on his brothers fame. With just an amazing fiddle player and double bassist in support he treated us to a fabulous set, if you like the likes of van Morrison, Neil Young etc, then I’ll guarantee you’ll like Chris Jagger.

Chris Jagger's acoustic roots


Next up was Slim Chance, Ronnie Lane’s old band, playing the music of Ronnie Lane, not exactly folk but by heck it was good.

A civilized Sunday afternoon

Killing time between the main afternoon sessions and dinner we wandered into the Skyline Pavilion and the introducing stage and wow! I’m so glad we did, the discovery of the weekend, a breath of fresh air, London’s Crumbling Ghost taking electric folk to new (Metal / Goth) levels, talk about being blown away, they were absolutely fabulous, Richi Jones (Solo guitar, looping and slapping) had such a hard job to follow them but he did OK.

Crumbling Ghost
After another fine dinner the evening session started with Crazy Heart on the introducing stage before Reds and Jona Lewie, him of the Stop the Cavalry and in the Kitchen at Parties fame, sadly he didn’t strike a chord with us so we wandered off to see Kasim Sulton who used to be in Todd Rungren’s Utopia before hightailing it back to Reds for the set of the weekend, the mighty Levellers who were on absolutely cracking form and after which we had neither the energy or enthusiasm to stay up late for any of the final acts.

Crazy Heart

The Levellers
Despite the obvious clashes, once you are resigned to not being able to see everyone and have to make some difficult choices, all in all it was another damn fine festival and one which I’m sure several other members of the fellowship would enjoy as would so many other music fans, you see folks, it’s not all folk!

And was I inspired at all? Of course I was, the Fellowship now have their very own folk song!

The Fellowship Goes Folk

The Fellowship is wonderful
The Fellowship is strong
These pearls of wisdom came unto me
As I wrote this little song

These things
These things I know
Because Fender Bear
Fender Bear
Fender Bear he told me so

For festivals and friendship
For gigs and great days out
There is nothing like the Fellowship
And that’s beyond a doubt

These things
These things I know
Because Fender Bear
Fender Bear
Fender Bear he told me so

Gong brought us all together
In London that fateful day
A chicken Kev on the tube
Sealed our fate in every way

These things
These things I know
Because Fender Bear
Fender Bear
Fender Bear he told me so

Of pirates of onesies and monks
Kilts and corona shirts so proudly worn
We’ve made the odd impression
Wherever we have gone

These things
These things I know
Because Fender Bear
Fender Bear
Fender Bear he told me so

We’ve made so many friends
More than we’d ever thought we’d know
For the Fellowship spreads happiness
Everywhere we go

These things
These things I know
Because Fender Bear
Fender Bear
Fender Bear he told me so

Because Fender Bear, Fender Bear
Fender told me so

Grant Meaby
December 2016


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