43rd Cambridge Folk Festival


Thursday morning arrives with a cold and damp dawn, but full of anticipation of events to come. It's the twelfth year we've covered Cambridge Folk Festival on the website.
It's slightly tinged with sadness as some old friends from the festival will be missing the festival as a phone call earlier in the week explained that their house in Tewkesbury had two and a half foot of water in it.
They were luckier than some. They had time to prepare and had managed to get their precious possessions, music and memories to the first floor, but damage was still excessive as sandbags proved futile as rooms and gardens succumbed to rising water levels. There are more important things than folk music and my thoughts were with them and countless others like them as I packed the car and headed off down the road in the direction of Cambridge.
Progress was good. A compilation cd of artists playing this year's festival entertained me along the journey. Dark clouds tried to give lie that this was the last full weekend of July. There was a distinct Autumnal feel to the air. The heater in the car provided the warmth that should have been delivered by the summer sun
This was not a year to forget the wet weather gear and warm jumpers. Would the umbrella prove to be as important a part of the festival kit as the cameras, computers and the faithful Nokia Communicator? Only time would tell.
Grey skies by and large retained their payload as now familiar landmarks indicated that the ultimate destination was getting closer.
Once again I would be staying as a guest of old friends Eleanor and Andy, rather than staying at either of the two festival campsites at Coldhams Common and Cherry Hinton. At least I would have access to dry clothes and showers throughout the festival and I hoped my fellow music fans would be lucky enough to have the same no matter where they were staying.
Bin bags and towels may yet prove to be an invaluable addition to this year's supplies in the attempt to keep the equipment dry.
A text told me that a pre-festival meet was going to have to be delayed for a couple of hours as the fickle finger of fate had interfered with other people's travel arrangements.
The sun was trying to break through, the skies were getting lighter, but the wind was keeping the temperatures down. A drive past the festival site shows that it's already getting busy. It looks like people are keen to get their tents up in the dry.
Buses are already shipping people in from the campsite. Wristbanded punters wait by piles of tents, whist others yet to be processed wait patiently in the fast moving queue. There looks to be plenty of friendly banter as people move towards their place at the front.
It's time to head off to a hastily rearranged pub lunch as another text has told me that another group of friends arrived in Cambridge earlier than expected and have stopped off at the White Hart in Fulbourn. Apart from breakfasts in The Unicorn it'll be my last visit to a pub for the next four or so days.
A steak and kidney pudding, pudding not pie, is demolished in short order. I can feel my arteries hardening as the conversation continues.
The main topic is who is going to see who tonight. Most of the acts that play the Thursday are exclusive to that night so it pretty much doesn't matter who you see and on what stage, you will almost certainly miss an artist that someone else will rave about.