40th Cambridge Folk Festival


At the risk of being accused of being a wimp, the day started off badly. There was no hot water for the shower, so it was a decidedly cold start to day. It's slightly chillier outside so maybe more drinking will be in order today.

First rule of festival, have a big breakfast. It's not just a mother knows best thing, it's practical as well, if you're too busy to grab lunch it means you won't run out steam midway through the afternoon.

The start of the day sees an almost impossibly rare site, Eddie Barcan, the festival organiser, actually sat down during the course of aforementioned festival reading a newspaper. Even then it was reading an early review of the festival so technically he was still working.

There's time to catch up with part of my crew. I bump into Graham from the Club Tent. During the course of our chat there's some band news. It turns out Keith from the Cajun Mock Frogs has died unexpectedly of cancer. The band are keeping their performance in the club tent today by way of tribute to their departed member. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Kick off band on Stage One is Dr. Faustus. The band are traditional English folk with a nautical bent, by and large delivered by the subtle undertones of the concertina.

If the accordion is described as the devils bellows, the concertina night be be described as it's little brother. Actually I quite like the combination, it's becoming a bit rare.

Dr. Faustus have quite a distinctive sound, one that may once been found in many a coastal town. The instrumentation is augmented with a bouzouki and a fiddle. It's good that the rebirth of English folk is reaching further and further, particularly when it's played with as much passion as this.

Itís over to the Radio Two Stage to catch my first part of the Brian McNeill Session. Itís one of the highlights of the festival, groups of musicians dropping in and out. When I get there Brianís playing with Show Of Hands. They are soon joined on stage by Ron Kavana that has turned up exclusively for the session.

At the moment, the theme is song based and drawing on a number of UK traditions, but that can change in an instant as other musics come into the mix.