(4 / 5)
The 51st annual Bromyard Folk Festival recently took place and I spent a delightful afternoon at one of Britain’s major showcases of home-based talent in this perennial music genre.
Performing at this year’s festival were headlining artistes such as Oysterband, The Young ‘Uns and the guy I was fortunate to catch, Chris Wood.
The Festival site is located about a quarter of a mile outside the attractive Black and White styled buildings of the Herefordshire market town of Bromyard. Only being 90 minutes drive from South-East Wales, makes it easy accessible. The town itself holds many fringe events such as bands playing in the pubs and Morris Dancers performing in the Town Square. The overall effect is quintessentially English, and, even on a murky drizzly September afternoon was sufficiently edifying for even the writer’s Welsh gaze.
At the field where the paid part of the Festival is located, there is a veritable cornucopia of activities that welcome the attendee.
The main acts are housed on the Wye Valley Brewery stage, housed inside a large marquee. This is where I watched the superb songwriter/musician, Chris Wood.
Self-taught on the guitar and violin, he is inspired by the traditional dance music of France and Quebec. What impressed me most was his witty and clever lyrics, presented with a clarity of vocal annunciation that hammer home the song’s message, but in a quiet easygoing manner. It isn’t too difficult to understand why he has been twice awarded the BBC Folk Singer of the Year. He has collaborated with Billy Bragg,and Martin and Eliza Carthy and other folk-world luminaries and recently supported Joan Armatrading, not that, (in his own words), she requires any support. And if, in the unlikely occurrence that his musical career flounders, he could make a decent living as a stand-up comic such is his highly amusing delivery.
You also have a large bar marquee where acts perform and an outdoor stage, where I witnessed the prancing antics of a Morris Dancing troupe. There are also a number of related trade stalls and food vendors, a children’s play area and competitive events are held during the Festival’s four days.
I found there to be a highly convivial atmosphere present between the organisers and festival-goers. Free car parking is provided in an adjacent field.
Already the 2019 dates are set for 5th-8th September 2019 and tickets will be available early next year. I am already looking forward to it!