Wickham 2017 Reviewed

Click on the photo below to see the full set…

Wickham 2017

‪Squelch… Wickham Festival finally kicked off to a great start with sets from ‪Low, Barker, Morris & Tunstall which sounds like a firm of solicitors instead of musical, dance and poetry partners in festival law; Andy Fairweather Low, Les Barker, the Wickham Morris Sides and KT Tunstall.

Now tell me… where are you going to get a “bend me, shake me, a sermon from the church of the holy undecided, a strip the willow and a black horse and a cherry tree all the the same place!

Here is the moment when the sun came out and everyone forgot about the thirteen days of rain that fell on the site the day before it opened which caused the “elf and safety” three hours delayed start.

The main Thursday night event on the All Time Grates Stage was 10CC, who played all their hits, which they performed as a masterclass in song-writing. They even offered us the following words of wisdom from their extensive mantra…

Life is a minestrone
Served up with parmesan cheese
Death is a cold Lasagne
Suspended in deep freeze …

Friday afternoon had a definite garden party feel that went off with a Wizz, bang and Spooky side-splitting Tickell. It all started with the legendary Wizz Jones who rolled out all his hits including ‘When I Leave Berlin’ which Bruce Springsteen covered.

The Spooky Men’s Chorale followed, the Antipodean Blue Mountain settlers, that worry local livestock to such a degree that the local farmers club together to pay for their international tours (so long as they agree to do reworked Abba and Bee Gees choral arrangements). Luckily, Kathryn Tickell was there to restore order, Northumbrian Pipe Style, who together with The Side brought Wickham back into the hear and now with evocative slow airs that could break your heart one minute and then fling you seamlessly into life-affirming jigs and reels the next.

In between Tickell and the Spookies (great idea for a band name!) I managed to dash across to the Hapi Stage to catch a bit of the fab Portsmouth based band Bemis. I also managed to grab a copy of their excellent new album A World of Difference that I encourage you all to go and check out for free here

There was barely enough time for a quick change over before it was pedal to metal down the West Country highway in search of Fishy Friends, Seth Lakeman and Show of Hands.  All three did the West Country proud and I think its was a great bit of programming to put Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends, Seth Lakeman and Show of Hands all on the same stage and evening bill.

Here is my favourite moment of Friday night, when Show of Hands treated us to a slowed down version of the Don Henley classic “Boys of Summer” . Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday opened with more Wickham Festival goodies… Alas, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, and Bill Oddie didn’t make it for the reunion but folk legends, Steve Tilston & Jez Lowe turned up on the All Time Grates Stage in the afternoon. Then it was a quick hop and skip across to the Hapi Stage for a blistering set from Gilmore & Roberts with festival energy in a bakers bun-dance. Then back again to the All Time Grates Stage as master Dhol drummer, Johnny Kalsi fired up the furnaces of the drums of the mighty Dhol Foundation to create a high-energy, pulsating folking brilliant musical soundscape of Punjabi beat, rhythm and intensity. ‬

‪If that was not enough excitement for one day, there was a just enough time to sponge down before the main evening event of the big punk-folk-rock 3. I’m sure you will all know who they all are, as the Saturday evening, three in a row line-up, for many, was one of the dream festival programming highlights of this year (dreamt up by the mind of that festival organising genius, Mr Peter Chegwyn) which even included a returning Chopper as part of the Oysterband mix. For those who have not worked it out, it was of course The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Oysterband and The Levellers. I also legged it across to the Hapi Stage to see some of my old mates Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley set with the lovely Emily.

Time had flown by and before anyone knew it, it was “Sunday folk fun-day” and the fourth day of Wickham.

I’ll start with Ray “Chopper” Cooper who opened on the Hapi stage…

Fay Hield then blew in with the Hurricane Party on the All Time Grates Stage and Glasgow boys Imar followed and got the main stage dancing. Wickham festival favourite Duncan Chisholm followed with his Gathering before the afternoon slot was brought to a riotous close with Tankus The Henge (a great festival band).

LAU opened the Sunday evening slot which felt like a kaleidoscope of colour washing over the All Time Grates Stage. The power went off at one point so we even got a couple of un-amped numbers.

‪The finale for me was the crowned Queen of the Wickham Festival crowd, Eliza Carthy with Sam Sweeney & the rest of her merry Wayward Band.‬ Unfortunately, I had to leave early so missed the Peatbog Faeries set but Eliza said that they tore the place apart, so I have been lamenting the early departure ever since.

I was bitten by a Ferocious Dog on the way out and am looking forward to repeating the experience at one of their other gigs soon.

Darren Beech

Festival website: www.wickhamfestival.co.uk

BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2014

114-mark-radcliffeBBC Radio 2 Folk Show presenter, Mark Radcliffe, has announced that the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards are to return on Wednesday 19 February 2014. Mark also announced that the awards will be returning to London and taking place at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets for the event are available now from bbc.co.uk/radio2/folkawards.

The awards, which celebrate their 15th anniversary in 2014, will see some of the biggest names in folk music come together under one roof to celebrate the UK’s thriving folk music scene. Continue reading BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2014

Red Shoes new album release

Red Shoes All The Good FriendsCarolyn and Mark Evans who go under the name Red Shoes, had their initial meeting with legendary bass player Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention/Jethro Tull in 2008, after Peggy heard their songs on MySpace on the internet. This in turn led to his offer to both produce and play on their debut albumEnlisting the help of fellow Fairport member, Chris Leslie on fiddle and Dylan Project/Little Johnny England guitarist PJ Wright, Dave Pegg then set about recording what would turn out to be the duo’s debut album, Ring Around The Land. Continue reading Red Shoes new album release

UNIVERSAL MUSIC SIGN MILLION POUND DEAL WITH TEN CORNISH FISHERMEN

INDEPENDENT RELEASE HALTED AS MAJOR LABEL DISCOVERS PORT ISAAC’S SHANTY SINGERS

London, Thursday 18 March 2010: Universal Music today announced that they have reeled in ten Cornish fisherman to join the label that is home to Lady Gaga, Take That and Amy Winehouse. Signing a massive million pound deal, Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends will be the first traditional shanty singers to be released through a major label.

Brought to the attention of Universal Music by record producer Rupert Christie, who spotted them whilst on a holiday in Port Isaac performing in the local pub, the label had to move swiftly to stop the record coming out on the Fisherman’s Friends’ own label, Marine Records.

‘Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends’ will be released on 26 April 2010 and is the eponymous album from these traditional shanty singers from the rugged, panoramic north coast of Cornwall.

The Fisherman’s Friends are shanty singers who have delighted visitors and locals there for more than 15 years. Down on the harbour front of the tiny fishing village of Port Isaac, the authentic sound of the shanty can be heard loud and clear via the mighty, brawny chorale of The Fisherman’s Friends. At around eight in the evening during the summer months, tourists and locals gather to hear this ten-man group mesh their voices in an incredibly rousing and joyful set of shanties and Cornish folk songs.

This unique group from Port Isaac are or have been fishermen, lifeboatmen and coastguards (as well as builders, artisans, hoteliers, and shop keepers) and they’ve known each other since childhood. Their regular portside concerts have become a much-loved local institution and visiting celebrities such as Chris Evans, Gloria Hunniford and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen have fallen under the spell of their Shanty singing.

Recorded in a 15th-century church in nearby St Kew, ‘Ports isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends’ features a rich haul of 14 songs from their Port Isaac repertoire, including the classic South Australia, the haunting Cornish robber ballad The Cadgwith Anthem and the beautiful Brightly Beams, their mesh of Chapel-inspired harmonies rising out of a big-band folk setting.