Once again, the Poppy Folk Club was given an opportunity to run a club night at the Upton-upon-Severn Folk Festival – this time it was to be on the Friday night of the festival, a much better arrangement as it left us free to enjoy the rest of the festival without any pressures or time restrictions.
The Poppy representatives this year were Phil Preen, Julie Palmer, Dave Walters, Mary Smith, Juliet Woodin, Tom Wilson, Marc Block, Yvonne Dreyer and Allison Turner. Ian Price was due to be there but was unable to attend in the end because of a work commitment.
As last year, we were based in the Upton Library – a comfortable venue but (obviously) no bar, so some of took ‘specially flavoured’ bottles tonic water! Unlike last year, we had to go hunting for chairs as many festival-goers seemed to have decided there wasn’t much else to do on a Friday night. We had about 30 singers in the end, and quite a few folks who just came to listen!
There was a very nice range of musicians, singers, and songs – mostly from singers totally unknown to us – but stand-out moments were a nice rendition of a Sandra Kerr song ‘Can We Afford the Doctor?’; a gorgeous version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ from a guitarist from Chipping Sodbury; a series of well put-together harmonies from members of the group ‘Close Quarters’; and the singing of ‘The Census’ (Name: William Gill, residing at Linton Mill …) – a cracking good song if ever there was one! A story, apparently based on an old Pakistani tale, concerning a farting donkey brought a bit of light relief, and we finished a most enjoyable evening with a rousing ‘John Ball’.
The rest of the festival was lovely. The weather was terrific, there was morris everywhere, and some good sessions in most of the pubs and bars. There was excellent music in the formal concerts too, with Moirai on great form, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne doing a smashing couple of solo spots as well as a set with Granny's Attic, a ‘Spooky Men’ sound-alike group (The Magnificent AK47) making a good sound, and a sparkling performance from ‘Stepling’ – a blend of music (including percussionist Jo May) and step dancing (from award winning dancer Toby Bennett). Join us next year – I’m sure we’ll be there again!