Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Cambridge 2009

Thursday rolled around and it was time to pack the car, tick things off the list and make our way to Coldhams Common, put up the tent and make a home for the weekend.
Typically the rain kicked in just as we started to knock tent pegs into the ground, I hid under the Jeff's boot lid (my car, for them what is not in th
e know) waiting for it to ease off a bit. Until the rain started to come in sideways and then I took refuge in an already erected tent.
Once the tents were up, beds made we had our wrist bands attached and headed
to the festival site. I had my traditional Nachos Grandee for tea, the sky looked like this:Yet I managed to get rained on whilst eating, so there I sat, gnome-like under an umbrella, keeping those lovely nachos nice and dry.
I seem to remember very little of Thursday night, I know I saw or heard a little of Mumford & Sons. I know I decided that the purchase of a poncho would be a wise investment, in fact it came in very useful when it came to having something to sit down on as I waited for Ruairidh Macmillan to come on to Stage 2. It was also useful to the man next to me who seemed to wipe white paint off onto it and I thank him for that from the bottom of my heart.

We headed off to Stage 2 to catch Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds, who were great and are playing in Lincoln in the not too distant future so I will be getting myself a ticket for that gig I reckon. Their rendition of All Around My Hat was superb, in fact I'm going to see if a video of it exists for your pleasure. Here it is - go watch!

End of the night meant heading back to the campsite, grabbing a hot chocolate and sitting to listen to a few folk at the Cold
hams Common stage. I think this is the first festival that I've sung along to Tie Me Kangaroo Down.

Friday means heading down to Sainsburys for a cooked breakfast before heading to the festival site to get a nice spot to enjoy the music from.
This is where things get ugly at the festival.

I wrote last year about the whole space issue. Some people want to sit on blankets, some people don't. Which is fine, so long as we can have a little live and let live. Have your blanket but don't be greedy with your space. Have only as much as you need to sit down. These days I don't have a blanket. I have a roll mat which I fold in half and is perfectly ass-sized. It stops the cold from the ground coming up and I take up only the same amount of space as I would without it, but I somehow feel guilty about it.

I don't want to repeat myself, but I really feel that people seem to enjoy the festival in two ways. There are the people that want to choose a spot and pretty much stay there all day, be that Stage 1, Stage 2, The Guinness tent or wherever. Then there are the people that want to wander, roam from stage to stage, catch different acts. I can't honestly say that either is better than the other. I tend to fit into the former group to be honest, which is what suits me. I'm sure it might be frustrating to some people but I don't always want to stand to watch an artist. Take the wonderful Cara Dillon, I absolutely love listening to her, but I don't need to be able to see her. I am prone to sit, eyes closed, just listening and I do so want to know why that's frowned upon!

Anyway, a spot was found on Friday, the festival opened with Genticorum, wonderful Quebecois music. A nice way to ease us into the day. Then The Shee, who I'd seen previously at Big Session in Leicester and enjoyed. Nice to see a harp on stage!
Then it was the turn of Edward II. I adore this band. Back i
n 1999 watching their farewell gig I could only dream that they'd come back and tour again. Here we are, ten years later and my dream is fulfilled! I danced and danced and danced some more. Absolutely brilliant!
The Waterson Family were on next and have more talent than is entirely fair for one family. I can't even play the tin whistle. It's not right I tell you!

I grabbed up my stuff and decided to head back to the campsite to dump most of it off in the tent as there was a ceilidh due to happen on Stage 2 and I do have such a love for ceilidhs. I didn't get to dance, although I did remember exactly how to do the Boston Tea Party, so that's two ceilidh dances I can probably get through without injury now! I caught Hayes Carll's set and love
d it, checking my programme I saw he was doing the second set on Saturday on Stage 1 so had that to look forward to. Everyone else was hanging around Stage 1 so I wandered around the stalls, then headed to the Internet cafe, then off to the duck ponds for some quiet time, although ended up being stalked by a pair of swans. It was a little unnerving it has to be said!I finally decided to head back to the tent where I could still hear the festival. I just didn't really have any interest in seeing The Zutons.
When I got to the festival on Saturday morning I overheard numerous mumblings that people felt The Zutons shouldn't have been part of the line-up, although from the cheering I could hear I'm sure that there are plenty of people that would disagree with that.
Saturday kicked off with Crooked Still who were great fun and Mum ended up hitting the CD sales to purchase one of theirs later in the day.
Next up was Hayes Carll and I enjoyed him all over again, although I was disappointed not to get a second listen of She Left Me For Jesus, the youtube comments would indicate that it's felt to be a little blasphemous by some and I apologise for that, but my goodness it made me laugh.
To carry on with a really fabulous day, Jim Moray was up next and was superb but I swear the "Bless you, bless you.." chorus is going to be stuck in my head for months and months. I was also a little amused by the reaction of the people surrounding me to his song Lucy Wan which I adore, but some of the traditional folkies were clearly totally unsure as to what to make of it. Excellent, you know you're pushing the boundaries when that happens!
The afternoon set was finished off with sets from Cara Dillon and Blazin' Fiddles. Bloody brilliant both!

The evening set started with Martin Simpson and as he's also playing Lincoln this year I'll be having to find some cash for tickets for that too. We decided to have a move and see what else was going on, ending up at Stage 2 just in time to get ourselves under cover before the rain started. It was heavy for a while and I could almost feel the mud starting to develop.
Diana Jones was playing and I really liked her voice, she was down to play Stage 1 on Sunday so I was looking forward to catching her again and making a mental note to add one of her Cd's to my collection. Then we watched Mairtin O'Connor, Cathal Hayden & Seamie O'Dowd who again should pass off a little of their talent to me, it's the right thing to do. Actually I'd settle for just being able to sing a bit to be honest!

For some reason we were wiped out and decided a hot chocolate was the order of the day. Not just any hot chocolate. Oh no. I'm talking hot chocolate, with marshmallows, whipped cream and a flake. It's chocolate heaven.

Sunday showed the toll that the rain had taken on the festival site.
There was plenty mud and a big truck with a giant vacuum sucking up all the water that it possibly could.
We headed back to Stage 1, Bella Hardy opened, wonderful voice and possible CD purchase.... Then
Mairtin O'Connor, Cathal Hayden & Seamie O'Dowd were on again and just as good as the night before, followed by Diana Jones who did a song that I absolutely have to own - If I Had A Gun. I'm not sure there's a woman on this earth that song doesn't resonate with, as it was written during a conversation with girlfriends about ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends.
I watched most of the set by Lau before heading off for a brief wander to stretch my legs, check out the Internet cafe (which by the way needs much better organisation - I was hassled three times by staff whilst the woman to my right who was there when I arrived wasn't hassled at all, ranty rant.) I got back in time to see Jim Moray and once again enjoy Lucy Wan and ensure that "Bless you, bless you all of the pretty girls" was well and truly stuck in my head for eternity.

Made my way back to Stage 1 just as Eddi Reader was finishing, despite having seen her a number of times, I'm just not a fan and I don't know why as she has a lovely voice. Weird.
I did rather like Oumou Sangare though, and their dancers were superb. We'd met up with Geoff again from last year and he and I attempted the occasional mimic of some moves seen from the stage, none of which seemed to work well for us!
Then a few of us made our way to Stage 2. I had heard good things about Imelda May and decided to watch her instead of Paul Brady. For me, I absolutely made the right choice, we danced until we could dance no more. We danced so much a lady joined us just so she wasn't dancing alone. When some poor man ended up standing amongst us she scolded him that this was the dancing quarter and if he wanted to remain there, dance he must. And dance he did.
She was absolutely superb, we screamed for more, we couldn't help it, when faced with this, how could you not want more?!
I was also surprised after the gig, when I wasn't looking my sweaty best by a fellow Twitterer who had recognised me, turns out the red hair is more noticeable at a festival than I ever realised!

Spent the next while having a good old gossip and a fine old time with another lovely Twitterer (is that even the right terminology? Twitteree?) before finally heading to Stage 1 to catch The Treacherous Orchestra. I didn't know anything about them until Geoff told me they were made up from guys that had worked with Martyn Bennett and with The Peatbog Faeries, which instantly made them unmissable. I cannot begin to tell you what an absolutely fabulous time I had.
I had on my dancing wellies:

I rocked those wellies let me tell you. We jumped and bounced and danced and laughed and got hotter and hotter, sweatier and sweatier. It was the absolute best end to the festival. I could literally barely walk afterwards from all the leaping around, even now, on Wednesday, my legs are still sore, going up and down stairs is a slow process!
Do one thing - go here and have a listen - then tell me if that's what you imagine when you hear the term 'folk music'? Just make sure your volume is up as far as you can manage. That's my kind of folk music, where I can dance until I'm absolutely exhausted but so incredibly happy!

For the record I never got to use my poncho! Could have spent that money on a CD!

When I got home I had to thank my neighbour for looking after Mifford, so I made cupcakes, I had a few leftover. Cupcake anyone?
Oh wait, I have one more little tale to share. On Monday night I decided to upload the few photos I'd taken from my camera to the pc so I could do this blog entry. Except my camera wasn't in my bag. I pulled everything out, but there was definitely no camera. Shit. Shit. Shit. I went out to the car, you know, in case it had fallen out. No.
Tuesday morning rolls around, Mum takes my car keys and conducts a thorough investigation. No camera.
I have to go out and do some jobs but on my return, I ring the box office, they give me a number to call. I call said number, but lady I need to speak to is busy. An email address is given and an email is duly written and sent off.
Mum is away at this point, collecting my Step-Dad, Tim, from the airport. He's flown in from France and has brought with him Mum's old digital camera for me to use. In doing so apparently he made catching the flight a close call. So, my photos are gone but I am not without a camera.
I sit down on a footstool by my TV, I turn my head to the right, what is that silver flash I see?
Ooops. That would be my camera. Which has been sitting in front of the TV the whole time.
Do I email the lady again and confess to being an idiot? Or do I just hope she's really bad at her job and never gets back to me?


Arlenkern74 said...

What an amazing time you have had xx not that im jealous at all xx

Flibbertigibbet said...

I'll see you there next year perhaps? :)
How far are you from Beautiful Days festival?, that's down in your direction I think. I remember you're in lovely Cornwall and I think that's Devon.

FenlandgGent said...

Nice review. The best I may come up with is top 10 at some point. (Next June I expect). I don't care about the blankets really. People pay their money they can do what they like - but lying down in the middle of a crowd is a bit odd.

Agree with you about Imelda May.

Flibbertigibbet said...

I can be found laying down. But that's generally before it's all kicked off and before it's all crowded!
On more than one occasion I've been right up at the front for one of the late night sets and found a single person just laying on the floor. I've feared for their safety with us all bouncing around near their head!

Imelda May might be my new heroine :)

Anonymous said...

Would you be interested in having you Cambridge blog pasted on

Flibbertigibbet said...

Anonymous: For sure, that would be pretty cool! :)