Beardy Folk Festival 2020 Friday

We are officially in a field in Shropshire. It is not clear if Cleobury Mortimer is the name of the country park or a trad folk singer I hadn't previously heard of. Every act says how amazing it is to be performing in front of real human beings. Sam Kelly said this was his best gig of the year. Everything is in the open air (I think in previous years marquees were involved) but there are social bubble ditanceced circles painted on the ground which people are largely adhering to. This creates a spread out, concert like feel (everyone is encouraged to be on picnic blankets and camp chairs rather than standing and moshing.

It occurs to me that I do not know anything about Shropshire. I believe the lads here have a thing about cherry blossom and death. I couldn't name a town, but my phone says we are near Kiddiminster.

When everything else was cancelled, the organisers of Beardy bravely postponed their June festival to September, and here we all are. About a fifth of us, anyway. I don't think anyone quite predicted how COLD Shropshire gets after dark in later September. Coats and fleeces are much in evidence.

Definitely the sort of festival to come to if you want to listen to a lot of music. Acts alternate between the main stage and a smaller stage, so yo can literally listen to music non stop form noon to mindnight, and indeed, give or take beer and sandwiches, there is not too much else to do. I kind of promised my Slimming World representative that I would make Good Choices, and as a matter of fact there is a fine array of food outside the pie and burger space. Polish Ghoulash and Moroccan veggies curry so far.

Top of the bill yesterday was the always excellent Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys, who mixes moderately traditional fare (in the lowlands, in the lowlands, we're sinking in the lowlands low) with cheeky poppy covers like Sultans of Swing and The Chain. I don't know if it was down to the act or the sound system, but I have never heard him better: the vocal and the instrumental came out crystal clear in a way that you don't always manage in open air festivals. 

MOst of the rest of the day was being surprised by acs I didn't know very well. I had forgotten how good the Shackleton Trio are. I was particularly pleased with a daft number about accidentally buying an Ostrich on ebay ("i should have bought a quail.)I hadn't previously heard of Banter, who did a slightly Show of Handsish collection of traditional and self written material. But the big discovery for me was Daria Kulesh, who performs utterly entrancing Russian folk songs and fairy tales, in a spirit of two thirds earnest and one third irony. There was something Carthyesqye in her delivery of ballads about Baba Yaga and monks tempted by fey women, but the climax of the axect was Those Were The Days performed in  three languages. It was originally a Russian folk song. Who knew.

Eleven solid hours of music, and more tomorrow. And the next day. The sun has just come out. I am eating a bacon sandwich. 

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1 comment:

Richard Worth said...

Who claimed that I had copyright over jokes? If I laid claim to all the one-liners you have borrowed over the years, we might as well abandon the Counsel of Elrond and send the One Ring to Mount Doom by Fed Ex