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Sam Carter on His First Cambridge

Mike Harding | 15:12 UK time, Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The first thing I noticed when I arrived into Cambridge train station for my first Cambridge Folk Festival was that the pace of life was considerably slower than that of London.

Suddenly there was no need to be fighting for pavement space, and yet there I was, frantically barging past people just so that I could go and sit in a field and do very little for three days.

Since moving from Rutland a few years ago, the capital's overcrowded streets have instilled in me a kind of pavement rage, something that I become aware of only when out of the city and surrounded by people adopting a slower, more sensible pace of life.

Naturally I was in too much of a hurry to explain this to the gentleman I inadvertently
elbowed in the back at the ticket gates.

By the Saturday afternoon I'd snapped out of London mode, stopped making mental "to do" lists and got down to listening to some music.

Lau were the musical highlight of the festival for me, a band I've
heard many great things about but never seen live.

While their music is undoubtedly rooted in the folk tradition, I was struck by the way their
long, slow-burning epics were less than a milliion miles away from the music of instrumental rock bands like Dirty Three, Do Make Say Think
and Sigur Ros.

How lovely to hear a folk band doing something ground-breaking without falling into ungainly self-conscious 'fusion'.

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