Well, we did it! And we’ve had such great feedback about the whole festival. Obviously, we missed certain elements very much – especially the ceilidhs and the smaller events at the Sailing Club and Crampton Tower Museum.
Back in March we took the decision to have an outdoor stage in a park in Broadstairs, close to the railway station. We worked with Thanet District Council on sound levels as it the venue is in a residential area. They initially refused permission, but working with our PA company,we achieved a workable arrangement, and the sound was superb. The community was overwhelmingly supportive and the feedback we had from our festivalgoers who attended was – please do it again in this format.
So, we’d be interested to see what our regulars feel. It’s a huge logistical undertaking and financially quite a challenge. We’ll be discussing this at length when the Folk Week committee meets again in September.
The atmosphere in the town was joyful and everyone seemed delighted that we went ahead. We just about managed with volunteers – understandably some were reluctant to come back – but we always need many more to help out. They all gave 200% to make Folk Week return in a safe way.
My personal highlights? Watching the new stage being hydraulically lifted in the park and realising that Folk Week was venturing into a new era; meeting up with familiar faces such as Peter Collins in the singaround; Bob Kenward doing a fantastic job with Around the Bay and seeing the Hobby Horse Club going at full throttle every day. Our new format Craft Fair and Bar area received rave reviews too.
We did have a cancellation when Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch were unable to come due to illness. But the amazing Joseph Tawadros stepped in and played the oud to a spellbound audience and regaled them with jokes about his Egyptian/Australian heritage.
It’s very difficult to single out performances – but Chris Wood was sublime and quite emotional to be back on stage again after such a long absence. It was great to see people dancing in front of the stage, even when there was a bit of drizzle as Breabach stormed through with twin bagpipes!
Our very own Tim Edey, Patron of Folk Week was fantastic and popped up all over the festival, delighting his fans with impromptu performances. Likewise, festival favourite, Simon Care with Banter and Edward II, whose mellow sounds on a beautiful summer evening drifted across the town.
There were over 90 pub band performances – with many regulars making their first appearance after lock-down – and it was great to see Broadstairs come to life with morris sides around town and of course, Clarence the Dragon and those pesky Hooden Horses.
Thank you to all of you who came and supported us, in spite of you know what. We need you to keep joining the Friends of Folk Week, buying tickets, donating in our collecting tins and buying Souvenir Programmes. Thanks to our sponsor Shepherd Neame too – they were a thirsty lot at the Jack Hamilton Bar!
I could go on – but put 5-12 August 2022 into your diaries please.