Who needs the V Festival?
With the V Festival starting at Hylands House in Chelmsford, we headed in the other direction last Friday for a short trip up the A12 into Suffolk to Glemham Hall for the first day of FolkEast 2014, our first trip to the festival, part of our journey from being old punks to young folkies.
A much smaller affair than the V Festival, FolkEast attracts about 3,000 visitors, and it’s a family-friendly affair, with a wide range of things going on for all ages. It’s been held at Glemham Hall for a couple of years, and it’s a perfect venue. The entrance is just a couple of hundred yards off the A12. The main stage is at the bottom of a hill, making a natural amphitheatre, allowing those who want to dance to do so at the front, and others to sit more comfortably on their fold-out chairs on the hill, getting a perfect view – with a couple of video screens to get close ups of the musicians.
Tilly Dalglish and Finn Collinson on the SoapBox Stage
In addition to the main stage (more of that later) there are a couple of other stages, and it was on the SoapBox stage that we started the day’s music – with Tilly Dalglish and Finn Collinson. We’d seen Tilly before as a support act at the excellent Fleece Folk at the Boxford Fleece last year, and so we had got over the initial shock of just how young folk singers can be these days. But this time she was joined by Finn Collinson, who is also just 16, so we realised that there combined age was still some 22 years less than each of us.
It was a half-hour set, with the pair working well together. Both multi-instrumentalists, the highlights included Finn playing some of his own tunes on the humble recorder, and Tilly on an instrument I want to call an Immodium, but I know that’s not right! Short video clips below…
Nearby was the real ale tent, with a range of local ales, mostly at £3 a pint, so no rip-off festival prices here! Lowestoft’s Green Jack Brewery were well represented and their Lurcher Stout was to our liking and we stuck with that during the long day (as we were driving we eked out 3 pints over almost 12 hours!).
What’s the collective noun for morris dancers?
Next to the real ale tent was the Imagined Suffolk Food Village, with some local foods, and the tend have a good view down the hill to the main catering area where hot food of various kinds were available (the Chinese and the Mexican both got a thumbs up from us). We also saw a herd?jingle? of Morris Dancers sweeping majestically across the hill at one stage, which was a cue for an excellent mock David Attenborough wildlife commentary, wasted as the only person to hear it was my long-suffering wife.
Supporting the headline act on the main stage were veterans Blowzabella, who gave a cracking performance. With a gap of an hour whilst the stage was set for the headline act, we headed to the Broad Roots stage, a smaller, covered stage with wooden flooring, the better to practice (or be taught) dancing. With several left feet, two dodgy knees and sciatica between us, dancing was a no-no for us, but we spent some time watching Charlie ‘Pilot of the Airwaves Here is My Request’ Dore which I would have eschewed back in my punk days in 1979 when it was a hit.
All things Vintage
All things Vintage are now popular with the young urban hipsters, so we popped into the Vintage Secret Fair to look at their clothes, sample a tea and cake (yummy) at the Calamitea Jane’s Vintage Tea Tent, and were totally amazeballed in the Vintage Mobile Cinema. We sat in the back of this cinema, built to tour around the country to show health and safety films to workers, and watched a documentary film of The Last Barsham Fair. It was a series of photographs set to music, and very evocative of the 1970s, especially with some of the blue loon jeans of the early part of the decade, which one of us had worn at the time.
The main act were the redoubtable Bellowhead, who have been taking folk music to the masses for some time, and who had a slightly gentrified ‘mosh pit’ with people of all ages crowded around the stage, whilst the less energetic watched from the comfort of fold out camping chairs up the hill. I have to own up to preferring Blowzabella’s more traditional folk to Bellowhead’s more contemporary take, but still enjoyed the set – although I would have ratchetted the volume up to 10 from the 6 that it was presumably set at!
Finished by 11pm, a quick getaway in the car and down the A12 saw us back in Colchester before midnight, but with us thinking about staying the 3 days next year, having had so much fun! And the dates for FolkEast 2015 are already set, with tickets available!.