Folk 21 Wimborne Minster Folk Festival Showcases

Venue: The Allendale Centre
Town: Wimborne
Date: 14-15/6/14

It has to be said the organisers of The Wimborne Minster Folk Festival couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Mainly sunny, but occasionally overcast, it meant that people took the opportunity to explore both the outdoor and indoor events at the festival and for two of the days, the indoor events included Folk 21 sessions in the afternoon. To learn more about what Folk 21 do, check the link, but essentially it's to allow artists to showcase outside of their area, to try and give organisers at clubs and the like a chance to see artists they might not otherwise get a chance to see as well as provide great entertainment.

Essentially, Folk 21 Showcases are to help support the club and small venue circuit, by helping bands get seen out of their area and give clubs in the area where they are held a chance to see new acts.

Saturday  Sunday  Gallery


Ange Hardy is an artist that I've wanted to see live since she emerged chrysalis like and spectacularly on the folk scene in 2013 with her second album, "Barefoot Folk" that saw her drifting across from being a singer-songwriter to an artist firmly affiliated with the folk camp.

Ange's bursting onto the scene last year wasn't just down to her extraordinary talent as both a writer and performer, but also her willingness to put in the graft. Not only is she a true creative in her craft, she realises that in order for that to be truly appreciated, you need to make sure that you're being heard and read about, so she put a lot of hard work into making sure that she was being heard and talked about by getting herself in front of writers and presenters and getting played.

Along the way she picked up female vocalist of the year from this very magazine, not only for her performance on "Barefoot Folk", but also for her live performances, something until this moment I had yet to see, so my anticipation was very much at a high and very quickly rewarded.

Ange Hardy's set consisted of songs from both "Barefoot Folk" and her new album, "Lament Of The Black Sheep" which though not officially launched until the Autumn has already had a soft release to wide acclaim. The response to both was incredible; it looks like 2014 will see her building on the success that she has worked so hard to establish. Talent and graft a fearsome combination.

2014 looks like it's going to be a great year for the local duo chosen to close Wimborne Minster Folk Festival, Ninebarrow. As regular readers will know, Jon (Whitley) and Jay (LaBouchardiere) launched their full length debut, "While The Blackthorn Burns" onto a partially unsuspecting world earlier in the year to universal praise. As with Ange Hardy, this was helped by a lot of hard work getting out there gigging and getting themselves in front of the right radio shows and writers.

I've been lucky enough to see Ninebarrow on a number of occasions, most recently when they supported Dave Swarbrick on part of his national tour and have seen the impact they have on audiences with their carefully observed songs that not only take account of the history of England, but also its geography. Add in a few personal interest songs and a bit of folklore and you really have a very fecund brew to conjure with.

A small reed organ gives a number of songs a sound that they could almost trademark, it's certainly one of the things that makes them distinctive as well as one of the fastest rising duos in the country and the impact they were making in the Allendale only emphasised the reasons for their growing reputation. If they play anywhere near you, see them, if you are a booker for a club, don't hesitate.

Ninebarrow, were the perfect end to two days of Folk 21 Showcases, check out the performers if they are near you, get onto their websites and get hold of their recordings. The Folk and acoustic scene is strong and vibrant, but it needs you to get out there and support it.

Words and pictures: Neil King

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Ange Hardy - Bow To The Sailor

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