While there are several “specialist” Americana festivals like Maverick and Ramblin’ Roots, for the Americana fan Cambridge Folk Festival has for many years always had much to offer. It rightly prides itself on its eclecticism – both Joe Strummer and Nick Cave have played there in the past – and interpreting “folk” very broadly and this year was no different with Patti Smith, Songhoy Blues and St Paul & The Broken Bones all performing. Continue reading “Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, 2nd-5th August 2018”
Every festival, everywhere, delivers a special moment or two, things that it will be remembered for in years to come. This year’s Cambridge Folk Festival was no different, with two hugely significant moments.
The first was the sad death of Joan Woollard a few days before the start of the festival. The widow of Ken Woollard, who started the festival back in 1965 and was its director until his death in 1993, she was a huge folk music fan and hugely instrumental in helping Ken establish and run it. A round of applause from the crowd on Saturday night in the main stage marquee and a lower key singaround by Ken’s commemorative bench on Sunday were fitting tributes.
The second took place on Friday, when the entire main stage bill was female, as were the comperes. No tokenism here, the artistic ability and commercial clout of all nine acts meant that their slots were completely merited. There has been much debate about female musicians, or rather the lack of them, on festival bills generally and Cambridge showed that in its 52nd year it can still show the way to other events in any genre and the programmer, Bev Burton, deserves massive props. Continue reading “Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, 27-30 July 2017”