40th Cambridge Folk Festival


Sunday manages to start off with a complete disaster. I manage to accidently overwrite the majority of Saturday mornings photographs. Goodbye Mindy Smith, goodbye Susana Seivane, goodbye Brian McNeill Session and most guttingly of all goodbye Old Crow Medicine Show outside of the Mojo Tent.

I'm sure that there are software packages outthere that will allow me to recover them, but for the time being they're gone and I miss them already, A check of the program shows that it's not a complete disaster. I've got other shots of most of the artists, Susana Seivane is playing again today, so that's recoverable, I just know it's not going to be the same.

My tale of woe makes me tempted to miss breakfast, but mine host points out that's only going to make a bad situation worse. He cooks up an excellent breakfast with some of the best bacon I've had in ages and I start to perk up. I head off to the site with a heavy heart, but know another day at Cambridge is what I need to shake me out of it.

There's a fiddle and guitar workshop going on in the Club Tent and a circus type thing going in the Radio Two Stage. My views on jugglers at festivals is well documented so this is one I am definitely going to miss.

One thing that it is difficult to avoid on Sunday at Cambridge is the Archers. Their radio show blasts out across the site as per the tradition.

It's a slightly chillier start to the day. It always takes that little bit longer for the day to come to life on the Sunday, but the atmosphere is starting to build. Karine Polwart, of Malinky and Battlefield Band fame is starting the proceedings on Stage One, with the Ely Folk Club doing the honours at the Club Tent. The Radio Two Stage is still preparing for Children' Afternoon.

Karine is an enormous vocal talent, clear, mellow with a slight Scottish lilt to round out the full flavour. She's joined on stage by another guitarist and a double bass player.

Once again it's a good piece of scheduling, it's laid back enough not to assault the synapses of those that had perhaps a little too much happy juice the night before, but lively enough to start coaxing the thought processes into life.

I admit there are times when this washed over the top of me, but it was never long before the quality of the voice drew me back in.

It's upping the tempo time next with Session A9. It's a major contrast, ethereal voice replaced by strong instrumentals. It's still a bit early, but they manage to get a few people up on their feet.

It's said that Session A9 feature the cream of Scottish fiddle players, Blazing Fiddles for one may disagree, either way it's getting the crowd going, shaking the remaining torpor out of the day.

Whilst the band is driven by fiddle itís not at the expense of the overall instrumentation. Drum and guitar add depth and breadth to the sound. It was like bow ballet. Sometimes the fiddles opposed each other, whilst at other times all four supported each other.

Everyone got the chance to showcase their individual skill with the horsehair bow. By the end of it there were definite outbreaks of dancing throughout the tent. Session A9 are well received.