The great singer/poet/writer Leonard Cohen has died today, aged 82.
It seems appropriate to mark his passing with a version of perhaps his most famous song – Hallelujah – which was recorded in the bar of the Brewery Tap in Mitcheldean in May 2016, performed by The Baldwin Brothers.
Here is a song from the Fundraiser event held at the Brewery Tap on 28th May 2016. This is “The Jolly Bold Robber“, performed by Smelly Eric. One of their songs will feature on the forthcoming 2016 Mitcheldean Folk Festival CD, which will be released once we have worked through all the tracks from both this event and the showcase concert held in July. There are lots of great songs to choose from!
If you were a performer at either event you should shortly be receiving a copy of your set from the recordings made on the nights, as soon as we have finished post-production. For more information please email Dave.
Jolly Bold Robber
Review of Mitcheldean Folk Festival Showcase Concert
The 3rd weekend in July was a feast for music lovers in the Forest of Dean, for whilst Coleford’s Music Festival brought large numbers in to the area, Mitcheldean Parish Church played host to a stunning showcase concert featuring seventeen acts over more than eight hours. Following the presentation of the British Empire Medal to Pam Martin by the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, guests and parishioners were treated to some fine country dancing by the children of Mitcheldean Primary School. The concert itself commenced with a virtuoso performance of Spanish guitar playing by eleven year old Finn Wicks, whose control and artistry stunned the audience, impressed by a skill that belied his young age. The Minstrels of the Forest treated everyone to a display of Early Mediaeval music, both performing and explaining the traditions of a genre that was matched by their period attire. A change of mood and era was signalled by Vapor, a trio featuring stunning soulful vocals by lead singer Onika, accompanied by guitarist Mark Venus and guest saxophonist Tom Selway. Their powerful and professional performance of mostly original ballads echoed a quality that is matched on their two recent CD recordings.
Travelling all the way from Shropshire was the highly impressive Kim Lowings Trio, a pared down version of the band who recently released their acclaimed album Historia. Fetauring Kim as lead vocalist and accompanied by guitars and citern, their impressive set featured a range of songs that told stories augmented by sweet stirring vocals and accomplished musicianship. There followed an engaging performance by Mitcheldean’s own Tracey Dixon, whose vocal dexterity and lilt is well known to regulars at Mitcheldean Folk Club. Accompanied by Jules de Bharra for some songs, Tracey’s haunting songs held everyone spellbound and were received with rapturous applause.
In mid-afternoon both audience and stage were swelled by the arrival of the Primary School Choirs, a collection of over thirty children from the Primary Schools of Walmore Hill, Blakeney and Pillowell. Their performance of traditional and contemporary songs wowed the church crowd, supplemented by individual youngsters reading a selection of well-chosen poems. There followed Bygonz, a duo featuring Gillian and Rob Guest, whose performances on pipe and tabor, English bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy gave everyone a highly entertaining tour through the traditions of music and songs from an age long gone but not forgotten. Guitarist and vocalist Rebecca Kay then entertained us with a selection of elegantly crafted ballads, also creating some engaging harmonies when accompanied by guest vocalists who joined her on stage.
Festival and folk club stalwarts Greenwich Village have grown in confidence and skill with each appearance in Mitcheldean, and this guitar duo of Clive Shaw and Simon Richards from Lydney did not disappoint, with powerhouse guitar playing, augmented by vocal harmonies and harmonica, giving festival-goers a taste of American influenced country folk-rock. Following were Uke in Hand, who eminate from Drybrook’s Rose in Hand pub, which has played host to budding ukulele players from around the Forest. They treated us to some clever arrangements of familiar songs old and new which went down well. In the absence of Jimbob James, our very own busking bus driver Ben Coulson proved an admirable deputy, and his accordion accompanied tour of original Gloucestershire bus songs and familiar strains had the audience all joining in with his very singable choruses.
At 6.00pm MC Clint Mann took to the stage to perform, mixing songs of the Forest and its mining history with more energetic thrashing guitar songs about celebrating of the glories of life. Again, the audience joined in with choruses and foot stomping. Jules de Bharra was next up. Ably supported by guest vocalists including husband Ian, she once again treated us to subtle and beautiful arrangements of mostly contemporary songs, some with a touch of ukulele. May Thrill are another act who have been regulars in Mitcheldean and beyond, and their set this year saw the trio accompanied by piper Polly, creating a stirring mix of traditional folk tunes and songs with their usual distinctive twist.
The last three acts provided a fitting climax to the show. Asha Faria-Vare is a singer-songwriter whose lilting vocals and delicate guitar-playing enhance original songs that tell stories about relationships, saxophonists and political protest. Accompanied on some songs by her father, Asha held everyone spellbound with one of those “your could hear a pin-drop” performances. A change of style was signalled by Mice in a Matchbox, a duo from Oswestry. Sally Stamford’s gushing and gorgeous vocals were accompanied by Jim Rolt’s lively guitar to produce a highly entertaining set that was influenced by their experience of sailing around the Caribbean and selling lemonade, giving everyone bucketloads of fun.
The evening was rounded off by the ever popular Crooked End who fused progressive rock, jazz and folk in a virtuoso performance of such complexity that the word unique could not be used as a cliché. Built around the Taylor family from Ruardean, they provided a distinctive brand of excitement and skill that proved a fitting end to this year’s Showcase Concert. Last but not least, the whole experience in Mitcheldean Church was enhanced not only by the dedicated team of parishioners who served food and drinks throughout the day but also the amazing technical wizardry of Dave Stephens, who ran the sound desk throughout the whole event and provided swift changeovers and a fantastic sound system for a concert that showcased the amazing range of talent from the folk of the Forest and beyond, and which many suggested was the best one yet. Onwards to 2017!
The advance programme has been published for the Mitcheldean Fete and Folk Festival 2016, listing the various events taking place throughout the weekend, and the acts that will be performing at the Showcase Concert on Saturday 16th July.
It is formatted to be printed on A4 paper and folded in half to create an A5 booklet. The file is in .pdf format. If you do not already have a program on your computer which will open this file type, please see the Software Downloads section below.
Come along to our pre-festival concert at The Brewery Tap in Mitcheldean on Saturday 28th May. Eight great acts will be performing between 7.00-11.00pm, giving you a taster of what is to come in this year’s Mitcheldean Fete and Folk Festival. There will also be an opportunity to purchase (at only £1.50) the 20 page Festival Booklet and Programme, and also, in case you missed it, (at only £5) the sampler 19 track CD from the 2015 festival. There’s also a fantastic selection of beers, ciders and more on sale at the “Tap”. The event is entry free although you may be cordially invited to make a contribution towards the festival’s expenses fund!
It’s time to start planning for the 2016 Mitcheldean Folk Festival! Your committee has met and can confirm that the dates for the main events will be Friday 15th July – Sunday 17th July – as usual the third weekend in July.
We have already had enquiries from people who would like to perform in the showcase concerts, so we’ve posted a provisional application form here so that you can download it and send us your details. Although the arrangements are yet to be finalised, we’re aiming to hold (as with last year), a Pre-Festival Concert at the Brewery Tap on Saturday 28th May (7.00-11.00pm), with the Main Festival Concert running over eight hours in Mitcheldean Church on Saturday 16th July (1.00-9.00pm). We also are hoping to having opportunities for busking in and around Mitcheldean on the Saturday when the Fete is taking place.
If you are interested in taking part in any of these three musical events, please fill in the application form with your preferences and details. Last year we were oversubscribed with applications and some people were disappointed; we cannot guarantee anyone a slot but will try to fit in as many of you as possible, though this may well mean that you will only be able to perform in one of the two concerts. Mitcheldean Fete 2016 Concert Application 1
To apply, send in your application form either by post to: Clint Mann, Edgehill House, Plump Hill, Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire GL17 0EY or by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also hand in your form during the meetings of Mitcheldean Folk Club (in the White Horse on the 2nd Thursday of each month) where forms will also be available between December – February. Hurry though – we need all applications in by no later than Thursday 18th February, 2016.
As well as these concert events, there will be all sorts of other things going on, including the Fete, the Poetry afternoon, the Sunday Folk Walk, music sessions in the evenings and a Barn Dance. So – watch this space for further details.