Arrived at Botley station on Friday evening and was soon whisked off to Wickham Festival for a weekend of folk and blues with the Fleur de Lys Morris girls. I’m not so keen on Blues myself, it’s a bit samey. Some of the folkies were commenting ‘so-and-so were a bit miserable’ – well what do you expect from a blues band? Luckily Les Barker was on hand to cheer things up a bit, with his laughter-inducing poetry like ‘Dachshunds with Erections Can’t Climb Stairs’, ‘Mange-Tout’ and ‘The Long Lost Land of Dyslexia’. Class. Some of the ladies looked a bit puzzled though – not quite their sense of humour perhaps? I’d heard good things about Cherish The Ladies, who were on next, but they seemed a bit lacklustre. Apparently one of their friends and fellow musicians had died just a few days before, and perhaps that was why. We were unanimous though in liking the Dolmen, a folk-goth band from Weymouth. Some of us even had a bit of a bop at the front!
Saturday was dancing day – and was also baking hot, which came as a bit of a surprise to us after the long rainy spell. A reasonably successful dance outside the Kings Head, with refreshing pints of Chiswick available to quench the thirst. Then on to Chesapeake Mill, by which time I was rather peckish. I’d just been served a fat slice of home made Vanilla Fudge Cake when Janice the Squire requested our presence in the dancing area. She did let me off the first couple of dances so that I could eat it though, nice Squire that she is! The Rabble folk-dance and theatre team was with us here, and put on a very entertaining Robin Hood play and some good Border-style dancing.
Most of headed off for lunch in the Italian café on the Square. Then our last performance was outside the Community Centre, which again went really well. Sweat was pouring off me in a rather unladylike manner by then! Was very glad I’d brought a change of clothes with me.
Discovery of the Festival – ‘Yves Lambert & Le Bebert Orchestra’. Yves had a strange accent – sort of a cross between Scots, Canadian and French – turned out they were a band from Quebec. Excellent Celtic-French-sounding music.
Some considered Kathryn Tickell’s band the highlight of Saturday. Good solid North-Western dance music, especially good if you like the Northumbrian pipes. Being more of a song person I was quite content to sit in the cream-tea area whilst some of the others had a good dance.
Eddi Reader’s band had quite a good set, less of the insipid numbers that I’d heard before at Guilfest and more of the pop style crowd pleasers. Boo Hewerdine was on guitar, and unsurprisingly she sang a few of his songs – ‘The Patience of Angels’ being my favourite. I quite liked Donnie Munro, the ex-Runrig front man, despite the accusations of rock-star egotism levelled at him from certain quarters. Again, not something folk bands ever indulge in. Well, hardly ever.
Another lovely weekend – good music, good company, good weather for once!