Static Roots Festival, Zentrum Altenberg, Oberhausen, Germany, 12-13th July 2019

It’s festival season for sure as hordes of music fans pack both wellies and sun cream as they head off for a weekend of unbridled fun. Be it the massive set up at Glastonbury or the rootsier confines of Maverick there’s plenty to choose from but for sheer unadulterated Americana joy then one need look no further than this unassuming spot in Germany’s Ruhr district, the small, post industrial town of Oberhausen, home to Static Roots. Now in its fourth year, Static Roots has grown from an initial invite only event to being sold out for the first time with several hundred fans gathered together in a converted zinc factory to see and hear 13 acts, most of them surely familiar to readers of AUK. There’s no corporate funding, no kowtowing to fashion, the line up purely a reflection of the festival’s director’s musical tastes  which are somewhat impeccable. Continue reading “Static Roots Festival, Zentrum Altenberg, Oberhausen, Germany, 12-13th July 2019”

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, 27-30 July 2017

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”