By sarahpavey, Oct 7 2014 05:48PM
We are all in recovery after an amaxing weekend at the Tenterden Folk Festival. Many thanks to the organisers for making us feel so welcome and included at all the events. We are certainly hoping to return for more fun next year.
We arrived bright and early on Friday morning and immediately headed for the first sing around at The William Caxton with Bob Kenward and Malcolm Ward from Nellies Folk Club in charge. We were given a generous opportunity to sing a number of our songs including The Wind and The Rain (for which considering what was to follow on Saturday we were surprised we were not banished from the site!!!). The guest was Tom Lewis an ex sailor who was a first class entertainer and just how he managed all the actions for the incredibly funny rendition of the pirate song is mesmerising given his age.
We next ventured to the Saddlery to pick up our passes and to catch the afternoon concert. We lsitened to Nick Dow who sang beautifully and had us laughing (although not at the over graphic descriptions of Romany customs for food preparation). Next up was Pete Castle with some nice songs and interesting tales of motorway madnes. Then on to the Davenports with their strong harmonies and unison singing of unusual songs in a traditional vein. The final act we all saw was the energetic James Findlay Trio again blending traditional and self penned songs with expert instrumentation. Chris H stayed on to listen to Dave Webber & Anni Fentiman but unfortunately the rest of us succumbed to hunger pangs and headed to Cafe Rouge to take advantage of the Menu Rapide before the offer closed!
The evening saw us off to the ceilidh with Wyatt's Cat playing some intricate tunes and some fun dances. It was a rare treat to be able to have a dance and not to be calling and playing ourselves. It was a shame that there were not more people but we managed to dance quite a few turns despite poor Chris E having sustained a workplace injury to his leg compounded by drivers foot (too long on the clutch in heavy South London Traffic).
On Saturday we dropped off our CDs at the marquee stall and then raced round to secure a good seat in the Caxton for the lunchtime session - this time very ably compered by Adrian O. Again we were fortunate to be given a good airing of our material and again sang a timely Wind and the Rain as the gale lashed against the windows of the pub. It was another first class singaround with many great performances. The weather unfortunately stopped us from venturing outside to watch the morris parade and we chose instead to eat at the pub before heading off to the Shanty and Sea Songs Session in the club. This event had a fine line up with Peter Collins, Gavin Atkin, Hastings Shanty Singers, Keith Kendrick & Sylvia Needham, Les Corsaires, Malcolm Ward, and Tom Lewis. There were some great songs included and the leader of the unbelievable Corsaires animated their lyrics so no-one could fail to understand the Flemish and then broke into a soaring operatic soprano voice in every chorus - opera and shanty combined - an experience indeed!
Somehow in the evening we managed to fit in two sessions. First we received a hearty and very flattering welcome from the Drages at the Woolpack session. Chris H did a solo from his CD Carols from the Coalfields and we followed up with Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy. Unfortunatley there was only time for one slot and we left soon after 9pm to get to the Caxton. Bob and Malcom's session was in full swing when we arrived but once again they let us sing several songs. We had to squeeze to the front. We chanced singing My Love is Like a Red Red Rose in a very noisy pub and were amazed when it fell silent to listen to our harmonies.
Sunday morning was bright and sunny but a lot colder. We made it to the Caxton again for the lunchtime session and a snap decision was made to hold it in the garden which was lovely. Again we had a chance to perform several songs and this was a good rehearsal for our stage performance. There was some lovely singing particularly from Marian Button, Dave Cooper and Steve O’Kane & Fiona McBain. With nerves and no time for lunch we headed for the Showcase Marquee and then had a quick rehearsal in the car park of the health clinic. We had a lightning quick soundcheck and were into our performance by 3.10pm - a full 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Luckily our fears of only drawing a crowd of three did not materialise and we had both a full marquee and others in rows of chairs in the sunshine just outside. Many people stopped as they headed or came out of the craft fair too and every song met with rounds of applause. Feedback from our set was good and then to add icing to the cake we found we had sold some CDs too. We were invited by Doug Welch to be live guests on his BBC Kent Folk programme with our Christmas songs and so hope to fix up a date soon. Feeling good about our performance we next headed back to Cafe Rouge for a pig out meal!
The final evening saw us squeezing in two sessions again. At the Woolpack we took full advantage of the wonderful acoustics of the barn and sang Will You No Come Back Again. Again Kathy and Bob Drage gave us a fantastic introduction and again mentioned our CD. We thanked them for making us so welcome and then headed out for final hours at the Caxton. What an end to a brilliant festival. Bob, Malcolm and Roger gave us 4 songs during the evening which was crammed with very high quality performances and a great couple of sets from Nick Dow. We sang Jute Mill, White Cockade and then with what we thought would be our last Will You \No... but then Malcolm insisted we had Morrigan again again and we finished off with everyone joining us on Blood Red Roses. The songs went on - Bye Bye My Roseanna had us all waving anything close to hand and finally Nick Dow left us with a lovely thoughtful ballad and we headed into the night, elated and so looking forward to a return trip next year.
We have had a lovely review of our CD by Kathy and Bob Drage for Around Kent Folk and thank them especially for this just ahead of the Festival.
Now onwards towards Christmas.......wot already????