Sunday, 20 April 2014

National Folk Festival 2014: Day 2

As with yesterday I will begin at the end.  This was a performance by Martin Carthy, in my view the biggest name of the Festival.  (I'd rate him with Pete Seeger - of whom more later - except Martin is still with us.)
 The performance was as expected, excellent.  Most of his songs seemed to be about death or ships or both, but all delivered brilliantly, both his voice and guitar accompaniment.  During his gig - in the Marquee, the second large venue - the Riff Raff marching band - see below - fired up  outside to which he commented "That's a heck of a ring tone."

We had already been in position for a while when Martin started up listening to Luke Plumb and Peter Daffy.  They were also excellent.  I cannot imagine what goes on in Luke's brain remembering the tunes for his mandolin work.
Two performers are worth two pictures, but this one also gets in under the spiffy image rule.
We started the day with the Rusty Spring Syncopators.  They were playing jug-band music - very similar to the skiffle played in the UK in the 1950s.
A very lively start to the day, causing me to think back to the Sussex Hotel in Walkerville SA in the '70s where myself and my flatmates used to go and listen to the Moonshine Jug and String Band.  The venue ceased after a particularly raucous evening and band reinvented itself as The Angels: my guess is they had less fun, but made a LOT more money.  Of course, for a Jug band the washboard and thimble player is a key man.
I went and listened to a bit of (Dame) Margaret Roadknight in the Union Concert and while her singing was excellent the lyrics were a bit on the 'committed' side rather than fun.  (Less people die than in Martin Carthy's songs but they do so miserably.)
Here are the Riff-raff Marching band who started the Union Concert by marching in - and unfortunately straight out.  They were quite good albeit not in the Richard O'Brien class.
The other large band around was the Con Artists.  The "Con" in question is the Woolongong Conservatorium so it wasn't surprising that they were pretty good.  The image below was from day 1, when the crowds were a bit thinner than on Day 2.
This female singer was evident on Day 2.  She had an amazing voice, which out not to be surprising since I have found out from the band that she is a trained opera singer and professor of music at Woolongong U!


We greatly enjoyed listening to Enda Kenny from the lawns outside the Scrumpy Bar, but the crowds were such that we couldn't see him.  He is one of the long-term performers at the National right in to the Celtic tradition.

This installation in the Community Arts area was amusing.  The symbolism of watering cans outside the lady's kazi is quite interesting.
I commented yesterday about the lack of young people at the Festival.  This shot shows that there were a few more littlies there on Saturday.  They found the Drumming Monkeys right up there alley!
 This shot of the crowd outside the Enda Kenny concert gives a more typical section of the audience.
I did a couple of rough counts of the people in age classes.  In this view I estimated that there were 10 people aged under 40 and 26 over 40.  Earlier I had assessed the folk walking by me outside the marquee and rated 12 under 40 and 22 over 40.  (It looked as though about 10% of the latter were volunteers or performers.)  I think the age imbalance was more pronounced on Friday.

Another contrast was between the crowds here, and in the Marquee and the half full (at best) Budawang.  However the worst bit of scheduling is a Pete Seeger Tribute concert on Sunday being run in a venue called the Bally.  If that holds 100 people, they'd better be good friends, and it is totally enclosed!  Most of the big hitters from the Festival are down to perform and my guess it could easily fill the Marquee if not the Budawang.

Anyway that is it over for another year.  I'm not sure if I will be signing up for next year, althugh we did greatly enjoy Day 2.

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