Monday, August 18, 2008

day trip to broadstairs

Broadstairs Folk Week, 15th August

A couple of hours' train journey from London, Broadstairs has got a fair bit to offer: a small but unspoilt town centre, an attractive promenade and beach, a bit of Dickens-related history, and, for the last couple of weeks, more Morris Dancers than you can shake a stick at. You know, those weird jangly ones with bells and ribbons on?

The Broadstairs Folk Week was founded as long ago as 1965 so not surprisingly there are some heavy duty folkies in attendance and fiddles, acoustic guitars and accordions are ten a penny. Even the folk mainliners at Broadstairs though are willing to concede that the "folk music" label spreads its wings more widely in these globalised times than used to be the case. Consequently, as well as British and Irish artists, there are also Eastern Europeans (Warsaw Village Band), Jamaicans (Two Man Ting) and West Africans (N'faly Kouyate and Dunkayan).

There are hundreds of performances during the course of the two weeks. Many of these are outdoors or in pubs where a bucket is passed round for contributions; there are also a couple of medium-sized venues at about £3 a go; then, for the stadium folky, a couple of concert hall-type affairs where you can pay a whopping £12 to see more well-known artists like Cara Dillon and the ubiquitous Eliza Carthy.

High spots of my day are Canadian duo The Wind Whistles and a two-hour long "session"--something I'd never experienced before--at the Wrotham Arms featuring Peter and Barbara Snape (left).

...And it's all very photogenic.

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