This is one of the hardest articles I`ve ever written for Fatea. I've written obituaries before, but those have tended to be about musicians that have been personal favourites, that I may have met, but generally have just enjoyed and reviewed, the is for a pr and press officer who I was proud to have called a friend, Tim Holt.
I first met Tim at Cambridge Folk Festival back in 1991, which was the first year I reviewed the festival. I had been to the festival before, 89 to see 10 000 Maniacs and Tanita Tikaram. 1991 was the year it all changed. At the time Fatea was still an A5 fanzine. At the time we were far more focused on the indie scene and post punk, but through indie labels like Cooking Vinyl, Hannibal, Red Flame and to an extent 4AD, we were featuring bands that were closer to the acoustic/songwriting scenes and that included a band called Ruby Blue who were playing Cambridge Folk Festival that year. Tim was press officer and onsite press liaison.
He was the friendly face that greeted you on arrival and took you through how the festival worked. He also introduced you to other writers and photographers, gave you a drink and encouraged you to get to know each other. With the exception of the Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury, this was counter to most of the festivals at the time, where the backstage press area could be a little competitive and namedroppy. I had such a good time that year and left with so much material that the coverage of the festival spilled into a number of the following Fateas.
1992 saw Tim Holt contact me many months before the festival and asked me if I wanted to go. I hadn't planned to, but Tim had done so much for me and been so welcoming the year before, it just seemed so natural to say yes and Fatea's long association with Cambridge Folk Festival was born. Once again I came away with so much more material than could be used in a single issue, live reviews, interviews and albums and it was albums then, to review and by then we had gone A4. Cambridge Folk Festival features appeared in a number of issues and suddenly the number of folk, country, Americana and blues albums appearing in the Fatea mailbag started to increase dramatically and Fatea drift from indie to acoustic spectrum had begun, with Tim Holt, the catalyst of that change. More importantly a long and enduring friendship had begun.
Tim was one of the warmest, most welcoming people it has been my honour to have known. Writers and photographers changed, but there was always a camaraderie at Cambridge that I don't know of anywhere else, we even acquired a nickname for ourselves, the pit ponies, Tim was essential in creating that atmosphere.
Even when Tim left his council role to take up new opportunities he came back to the festival in other roles. By this time communications had improved and it was easier to keep in touch during the year. Conversations about family, Cambridge, music and rowing, all subjects that Tim was passionate and proud of.
In recent years Tim had not been well and when I took the call from his wife, Helen, telling me that Tim had passed, it was a shock, but not a total surprise. When I went up to Cambridge for Tim`s funeral if was heartening to hear that so many people had enduring friendships with Tim. As I said he was a great communicator with a warm heart, he inspired people and brought them together. Deep sympathies go out to his family and friends, for their loss, there is a great void of his passing, but it is being filled with happy memories.
Here's to you Tim, to Friday Night's at Cambridge Folk Festival, wearing the Fatea Pink, listening to the music, enjoying great conversations and putting the world to rights. Tim Holt was one of a kind who will be forever missed.
Serious Sam Barrett - Where The White Roses Grow
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