Bournemouth Folk Festival 2011
(photos courtesy of festival photographer Jerry Fenner)

Thanks to everyone for your feedback!

"Best use of the BIC for ages! ... the most relaxed festival I've ever been to"

"If only the festival had been a weekender! Fab day, haven't danced that crazily for ages!
Definitely be making the trek to Bournemouth again next year ..."

"Thoroughly enjoyed the Folk Festival. It can only grow and grow"

" Really enjoyed my visit. This could become established as one of the best festivals in the calendar"

"I have just been to Harry Ramsden's and everyone in there was wearing a red wristband!"
late night dancing
boogie down in the pit !
Monster Ceilidh Band
- jigging it up!
ceilidh and electronica!
Kathryn Roberts
- beautiful afternoon concert with
guitarist Sean Lakeman

 

PUBLISHED REVIEWS
Maverick magazine and Buzz magazine

Maverick magazine (published May 2011)
by JOHN ROFFEY

BOURNEMOUTH FOLK FESTIVAL - Bournemouth International Centre - 12 March 2011

There was an amazing star studded line-up for the first ever Bournemouth Folk Festival which occupied two halls of the International Centre. Local artists Bob Burke, Victor Chetcuti plus Derek Burgess & Kitty Vernon with their unaccompanied harmony vocals, got things underway in the Purbeck Lounge.

Having made the six hour trip from Chester, ‘The Jaywalkers’ opened in the larger Tregonwell Hall with the first of two sets showcasing their album 16 MILES. Mike Giverin (mandolin/guitar) and Jay Bradberry (vocals/guitar/violin) started off as a bluegrass outfit but have now diversified to include folk songs in their sets. Highlights were the self penned My Sweet Little Miss and the classic Shady Grove.

Next up was ace Geordie slide man Johnny Dickinson who entertained a small gathering with some terrific blues. The Ocean Blues, The Cuckoo, with its fake banjo intro, and The Danville Girl were all stand out numbers. Johnny saved the best until last with a medley of She Moved Through  the Fair and Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground which was first recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1927.

In no time, the hall was nearly full for the appearance of BBC Radio 2’s 2011 folk singer of the year, Chris Wood. Drawing largely from his most recent albums HANDMADE LIFE and TRESPASSER, Chris captivated the audience with his tales of everyday life and historic events. So many highlights; The Cottager’s Reply, My Darling’s Downsized, Spitfires and Hollow Point which focussed on the tragic killing of Brazilian John Charles de Menezes on the London Underground and won Chris the Radio 2 best original song award for 2011. He was then called back for an encore and chose John Ball, the friend of Wat Tyler who led the peasants revolt of 1381.

It was getting better and better as folk duo Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman took to the stage. It seems an age since the couple were half of folk outfit Equation but with her twins growing, they are now able to get back on the road. Sean and Kathryn have made two albums together, simply named CD1 and CD2 and most of their set was taken from these offerings. Tom Waits’ beautifully sad Georgia Lee and June Tabor’s Joe Peel were outstanding as was their ‘Dorset song’ The Buxom Lass.

There was a host of fringe activities, including three teams of Morris Dancers strutting their stuff on the terrace and with their usual enthusiasm, ‘Anonymous Morris’, ‘Quayside Cloggies’ and ‘Bourne Bumpers’ provided an alternative offering for those needing to get outside for a breath of fresh sea air. Johnny Dickinson and Jeremy Avis ran their respective slide guitar and singing workshops whilst ‘The Jack Ratts’ and Derek Burgess & Kitty Vernon entertained in the Tregonwell bar.

Meanwhile in the Purbeck Lounge, The Morrows were enthralling their following with a selection of lovely self penned ballads. Blue Skies from their excellent album ONLY TIME and their concert staple, the gorgeous Steal Away were just two of the highlights of a terrific set. Portsmouth’s Chris Ricketts was followed by local duo Tinderbox; no strangers to ‘Maverick’ readers. A mixture of old and new numbers was well received by their fans and again there were many highlights. The title track from their critically acclaimed album THE STATE OF PLAY certainly stood out from the rest. Southampton based outfit ‘Fearne’ opened the second half in the Purbeck Lounge closely followed by ‘The Paper Shades’ fresh from their recent headline appearance at Bournemouth’s Centre Stage. Their set followed much the same pattern as their Centre Stage gig which was reviewed in April ‘Maverick’.
Whilst ‘4 Square’, ‘The Monster Ceilidh Band’ and ‘Sheelanagig’ were taking their turn to delight an army of dancers in the Tregonwell Hall, discerning listeners made for the Purbeck Lounge for the second set from ‘The Jaywalkers’. Mike and Jay had put together a largely different programme and Jay’s powerful vocals really shone on June Tabor’s The Long Ride Home whilst Mike showed off his mandolin skills on the instrumental Brilliancy.

Next came lovely singer/songwriter Jennifer Crook who captivated the audience with a beautiful selection of ballads taken from her album BLACK FLY and her forthcoming offering MERRY-GO-ROUND on which Scottish singer/songwriter Eddi Reader is providing backing vocals. Jennifer’s opening number A Rose in Morning and Gillian Welch’s One Little Song really stood out. This was a faultless performance from an underrated singer who is also an excellent guitarist and exponent of the electric harp.

Rounding things off in the Purbeck Lounge were seasoned campaigners Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby who drew mainly on material from their most recent albums CALLING ALL ANGELS and I WILL. Cathryn gave her usual powerful performance with Two Hearts, One Love the highlight which had ex ‘Strawb’ Brian showing off his undoubted skills with a terrific long guitar solo. More powerful stuff with Mr. Jefferson, a sorry tale of President Thomas Jefferson and their final number Accanoe, the sad story of Pocahontas which was acted out near Cathryn’s Virginian birthplace. Cathryn spent five minutes introducing each of these songs and whilst this was interesting, it meant that the couple only delivered nine songs in a sixty-five minute set. With curfew time approaching, there was still time to catch thirty minutes of ‘Shelanagig’ doing their bit for the dancers in the Tregonwell Hall.

Paul Burke and his small team are to be congratulated for putting together an outstanding day of superb entertainment where everything ran to time and all the changeovers were managed quickly and efficiently. Hopefully this festival can become an annual event.

John Roffey

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Bournemouth Folk Festival: Saturday 12th March 2011

By Hannah Sweetnam of BUZZ magazine • Mar 17th, 2011


From a quaint and quiet daytime affair to a raucous sundown shindig, Bournemouth Folk Festival made its debut with a tremendous bang. Kicking off to a comforting start, the festival was situated within the walls of the Bournemouth International Centre. Like a warming hug and a cuppa, the daytime acts soothed the soul with heart felt ditties about love, the world and how to improve it.

The lack of fields and hay bails certainly didn’t quash the atmosphere and these hippy ideals were received well by the ever growing and progressively lively audience. Even during the least riveting of acts, there was a united spirit which seemed to echo through the building.

An array of artists from Country, through Rhythm ‘n’ Blues to traditional Irish jig music adorned the stages and bars from 1:00 – 11:35pm. Morris dancers transformed the upper balcony into and outside theatre and although some of the dancers were at times at risk of indecent exposure, the dancers were well received by the festival goers.
If the music and movement wasn’t enough to get your feet a stomping, real ale and fantastic hot grub was available all day at the BIC’s bars.

Beautiful hand made Venezuelan jewellery, made by Humberto Amenta, known as Dagda to his friends, was being sold until the early afternoon by Carolan Burke, a regular player of Bournemouth Folk Club and the range of CDs available for purchase at the festival merchandise stand was remarkably extensive.
Particular highlights throughout the day came in the form of Brummie guitarist and singer, Victor Chetcuti who played in the Purbeck Lounge line-up. With a rustic voice he was joined by the nimble-fingered guitarist Bob Burke and amused the audience with observant quips in between songs.

Johnny Dickinson stole the daytime stage with his hybrid folk and a stage presence that ricocheted around the Tregonwell Hall. The Northumbrian slide guitarist created a serene hush as his fingers caressed the strings of his acoustic. An accompaniment to his smooth, soulful voice he performed with near as much panache as Clapton.

Later on, Johnny led a slide guitar workshop for all the budding folk artists at the festival. Not only were workshops taking place, but jam sessions were held by The Jack Rats in the bar area for anyone to get involved with.

Chris Ricketts
 was a polite fellow with a silky voice which, with a good whack of reverb, rolled over the audience beautifully. A talented singer with a great sense of humour he broke into a rendition of The Clash’s, ‘I Fought the Law’ during a very unique ‘glee-style mash up’ of Shanti music.

As the evening rolled in and the ale barrels began to empty, the atmosphere began to pick up and the spectators became a lot more animated and cheery. Adorned with waistcoats and pocket watches, the listeners were your stereotypical folk festival bunch, eager to get up and jig at every available opportunity. Throughout the evening there was hand clapping and knee slapping to boot. And if the livelier ditties of Celtic artists weren’t your ideal night out, there was still the opportunity to enjoy more serene acoustic acts in the bar areas.

The main highlight for me was 4Square, a four-piece who wowed the audience with their tap-dancing antics. The band got full marks for audience participation, playing music which would have been most at home on the jolly-roger and gleamed with copious amounts of energy and enthusiasm. The sheer ability to showcase their various talents, such as the tap dancing instrumental by violinist Nicola Lyons, was astounding.

Other enjoyable moments came from The Jaywalkers, a bluegrass duo from Helsby in Northwest England. The stunning vocals from violinist and guitarist Jay Bradbury could be likened to that of Eva Cassidy at times, movi
ng between harsh tones and soothing melodies with ease. Using the violin in innovative ways alongside Michael Geverin’s mandolin artisanship the two meandered between genres, playing folk music from all around the globe.

The biggest crowd pleaser of the event however, was without a doubt the Monster Ceilidh Band and the explosion of energy that came with them. With their Ceilidh jigs and stage presence they transformed the audience in
to dancers, as energetic and excited as a bunch of 5 year olds who have just been told their moving to Disneyland. It was one of the most beautifully orchestrated shambles I have ever seen. It was almost too easy to become distracted from the music by the near anarchic dancing of the folk loving horde. Memorising the back and fourths, crossovers and turns that were being instructed from the stage was a visibly difficult assignment for those who’d had more than a few pints of ale. But the band kept the dance under control and played with such technical flair that it was impossible not to enjoy the talented foursome’s compositions. They displayed all the finest attributes of folk and jig music during the great dance workshop and after, moved onto their electronic set. The set began with an industrial buzz that filled the room and when the music kicked in, it became a rowdy and modern adaptation of their ceilidh play list. The broad compilation of musical genres that featured throughout the set even stepped into the realms of drum & bass for what the band believe to be the world’s first cross over ceilidh track.

The headline act had a lot to follow after such a well received set but with an astounding mix of jazz and 14thcenturyItalian funk rock, Sheelanagig held their own superbly. The skill of jazz flutist Adrian Sykes at times, might have even put Jethro Tull’s, Ian Anderson to shame! Not only were the audience dancing but the violinist at one point was among them, serenading the ladies of the dance floor. Although the celebration was not your stereotypical festival setting, there certainly wasn’t a lack of atmosphere and Sheelanagig ended the first ever Bournemouth Folk Festival with a boot stomping bang.

With rave reviews from many of the attendees and the surge in popular folk music over the last year, we can only hope that this will be an annual event for years to come.
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Hannah Sweetnam 

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