Jon Boden on Cambridge and Sidmouth Festivals
Jon Boden writes:
Both brilliant as usual, albeit in very different ways.
Nice to be kept fairly busy at both (Cambridge particularly) as I tend to get fidgety if I spend too long at a festival without a gig (or three).
Two things struck me at Cambridge.
Firstly the audiences seemed much friendlier than I remembered. I think the diminishment of the tyranny of the deck chair on stage one may have something to do with this, but it also really felt like a festival at ease with itself in some intangible way.
The second was how so many British acts have really upped their game in the last twelve months or so.
Every band I saw seemed to have added a new dimension to its live performance or its material...
It's a very exciting thing to witness a whole scene evolving so rapidly, and long may it continue.
Sidmouth has gone through a great deal of evolution since Mrs Casey reluctantly set it adrift four or five years ago.
As such it is still perhaps not as at ease with itself as Cambridge. However with the fantastic Joan Crump newly ensconced at the directorial tiller the future is looking very bright.
The best discovery for me this year was the Dhol Foundation. I know, I know, they've been around for ages - but it's the first time I've seen a whole gig and they were mighty.
It made me think that, rather than flying in exotic bands from abroad, UK folk and world music festivals would do well to look harder for homegrown talent from the many varied ethnic communities of this country.