Beardy Folk Festival 2020 Day 2

It is very cold. But it is not raining. I had hunters stew from the Polish food van. I am not sure what goes into hunters stew, but it was very nice. I refrained from asking whether "Polish food van" was the name of the business or a note for the cleaner. (You will, Andrew, you will. I have been asked to point out that the Cleobury Mortimer joke from yesterday is Copyright R Worth. Apparently, Shrewsbury, which I have previously visited, is in Shropshire. Who knew?)

I can affirm that this is officiall a folk festival. We have now had a Dylan Cover (Cardboard Foxes doing Don't Think Twice It's All Right with a Bluegrassy swing) and two, count, then two songs about Highwaymen. Heg Brignall (she of the Wolf Chorus, but today in a duo with Juli Irvine) did Sovay Sovay All On A Day. They said they have been actively looking for folk songs in which women take an active role and don't get drowned or go mad. And the always wonderful Granny's Attic did a song they called The Highwayman. I don't know why Highwaymen in songs are always so proud of the fact that they don't rob poor people. I would have thought it made basic business sense.

We are still waiting for a song about a pirate, but we have had several about whalers.

Some people seem to be a bit nervous of folk festivals, because they think that it's going to involve "too much folk music". Probably only three of todays acts played entirely traditional material. Nick Hart has a mordantly Chris Woodish style of delivery and will do you songs about chimney sweeps getting hung and the man who is mistaken for the devil because he is hidden up a chimney with butter and cheese and all in his pockets. His story telling is wonderful but you probably wouldn't dance to it. The aforementioned Granny's Attic do close harmony versions of songs about spinning wheels and ships in distress with and amazing fiddle and an even more amazing squeeze box, along with traditional and traditional style instrumental tunes. Inlay on the small stage did a whole hour of Morrisy Plafordy Tunes. And Calan, the top of the bill, are heavily rooted in Welsh traditional music (a lot of the songs and indeed the count-ins are in Welsh language) although there is a loud modern beat interpretation -- no po faced reverence. But there is a plentiful stream of blues, bluegrass and singer-songwriter running through the rest of the day.Traditional songs are the exception rather than the rule. I did notice Cohen, the box man from Granny Attic, putting his finger in his ear during one of the harmony numbers.

I guess the only running definition of folk music is that its the kind of music you would expect to hear at a festival like this.

I thought Luke Jackson took his act to a whole new level. As expected he was the highlight of the day for me. This is only the second time I have heard him with his full trio: the harmonies and the drums suit his current blues inspired folk rock more than his earlier, folksier material. (Again, I think I need to take my hat off to sound people, because Luke's perfect voice and fabulous lyrics were perfectly audible in front of the band.) It's been six months since anyone has been able to perform live, and the sense that these were three good mates having a great time was palpable. I loved the acapella finger clicking I'm In Trouble Now; and his dark folk rock ballad Eliza Holt clicked for me in a way it possibly hasn't at solo gigs. The ghost of an inmate from an insane asylum haunts the new estate that has been built over the grave yard. It may not be folk music, but it is certainly folk subject matter.

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