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Holmfirth Festival of Folk 9 - 11 May 2014


Terpsichore
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Every year in the second weekend of May our little town hosts a folk festival.   There is both music and dance. Here is a YouTube video of last year's dance events:

 

 

 

This year we are having something particularly exciting - an anti-festival within the festival.

 

If you live or happen to be in the North this weekend do come and visit us. Most of the events are free and I shall stand any BalletcoForum who presents him or herself known to me a pint of our delicious beer or cider in one of our pubs.

 

If you can't make Holmfirth do try to make one of the similar events taking place in towns and villages throughout the North and no doubt elsewhere in the nation.   Last week I saw Northern Broadsides' "An August Bank Holiday Lark" at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool upon Janet McNulty's recommendations.   The play traced the fortunes of a group of clog dancers from the West Pennines through the First World War. It highlighted the importance of folk traditions to in this country.  It is very important to keep those traditions alive.

Edited by terpsichore
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At a time when a good part of the nation was glued to the telly watching entries from Austria to the UK in the Eurovision song contest a good part of the population of our little Pennine town was enjoying live music at our annual Festival of Folk. As I had spent most of Friday in Lincoln I had to work yesterday but I stopped at 20:00 and went to the Anti Folk Festival in Hot Banana Music, our local music shop.

 

The event took place in a room above the shop while our local cider and beer (but, alas, no soft drinks) were purveyed in the shop itself.  There was a very varied programme which included poetry as well as many genres of music.  I particularly liked Johnny Campbell, two local poets, a chanteur in the style of Jacques Brel who sang about West Yorkshire in the way Brel sang about Belgium and a massed ukulele band called Anarchy in the Ukulele.

 

But most of us had all waited for one young artist from Liverpool whom Holmfirth had taken to its heart some years ago - Mikey Kenney of Ottersgear.  He has long been the main attraction of the festival and on the few occasions that he has not performed here he has been missed.   Below is a YouTube video of his performance at the Picturedrome (one of the oldest cinemas in England which is also used as a music venue).  The sound quality is not good but you can still appreciate Kenney's remarkable vocal range and stage presence.

 

 

In the room above the shop Kenney gave the best performance that I have ever heard him give.   He sang several of the songs from his recording including Faery Glen which is in the video above as well as some new material of which my material was Matterhorn.  We had been packed like sardines for most of the evening but we all rose to out feet to dance to that. And we all sang the chorus to the top of our voices.   We would probably have danced to everything after Faery Glen but Kenney sat on the floor for the rest of his performance and motioned us to do the same which we did.   

 

In this performance I got to know the man behind the music a little better, his love of the Pennines and particularly the Trough of Bowland and a pile of stone known locally as the Castle of Cold Comfort. If you have never been to this part of Lancashire you really must before you die. Scotland has its wonders as does Wales but the Trough of Bowland with its wonderful open skies is their equal.

 

At the end of Kenney's act we gave him a standing ovation.   He is on today at Cellar 88 at 14:00 following Old Man Pie, another Holmfirth favourite, and like a 3 rosette Michelin restaurant bien vaut le voyage.

Edited by terpsichore
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Yesterday afternoon I heard Old Man Pie, one of our local bands and one of my favourites. Their lyrics are often very funny, always reflective but not always repeatable in polite company.

 

Here's one of their songs on dry stone walling:

 

 

I love the representation of our grand moorland landscapes in this animation.

 

The festival is now over for another year. The bunting has gone.  So have the bands and dancers.   So sad.   Worse than 12 night.

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