This year’s Beverley Folk Festival was blessed with blazing sunshine that was matched by the blistering talent on display. The temperature really soared over the weekend offering the perfect environment for relaxing with a cold beer and listening to some superb music.
It’s been a few years since I last visited the Beverley Folk Festival. This year, with the event’s website proclaiming 2016’s event had 30% more music and events than ever before and this year’s press releases saying 2017 is going to be bigger and better than ever – I though now’s the time to pay the festival another visit.
Beverley is called a folk festival but with the very wide range of live music that was being performed and the variety of entertainment taking place, it’s now transcending the boundaries of folk music. While at the 2017 festival’s heart there was still a solid core of excellent folk music, singer/songwriters and memorable performances by some of the great ambassadors of the genre, the addition of an Americana afternoon, a steel band, poetry, choirs, brass bands and much more added refreshing diversity and expanded appeal.
One of the highlights, for me, was the incredible Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman on-stage in the Big Top. They finished their set with ‘Rusalka’ a truly ethereal song about a Russian mermaid. I first heard them perform the song at the Great British Folk Festival in Skegness. I loved it then and I found it just as haunting this time around.
Someone else that I was pleased to see on the festival bill was Dan Walsh. Nominated for best musician at the BBC Folk Awards, he just has to be the best banjo player in the UK. If you haven’t seen him play – put him on your ‘must see’ list.
The Beverly Folk Festival has a whole mess of live music stages including not just one but two big-tops plus the Atom marquee (the venue for the Moonbeam sessions), the 1690 bar, the Attraction Room, the Westwood Room, an outdoor stage and a further music stage in the food marquee. On top of this there were open mic sessions in the Touch Above Bar which also played host to number of folk clubs from the north of England. And, as if this wasn’t enough, there was even more live music, entertainment and dance popping up all over the site such as brass bands, jugglers, buskers and Morris dancers.
For the second year, Beverly Folk Festival was offering what they called the ‘Festival Village Taster Ticket’. This gave access to the craft marquee, the traders area, food court, some of the smaller venues plus a wealth of open air entertainment and pop-up concerts. At just three pounds, this is ridiculously good value. You can pay that for a cup of coffee in some places.
Early Bird tickets for Beverley 2018 are already on sale and can be had for just £80.