August 5th, 2005


Folk detector

Cambridge Folk Festival, 28-31 July 2005

This was my sixth Cambridge Folk Festival, and I was much more ambivalent about the lineup this year than I have been in previous years -- not to mention worried about whether it would be enough to convince addedentry of the Folk Festival's potential fun factor (see what he thought!). I was looking forward to Idlewild, and Kate Rusby, but I'd seen both before and the rest of the people playing were a mixture of the people who appear every year and the people I'd only vaguely heard of. The Folk Festival is relaxed enough that there's a fair amount of fun to be had from just sitting in a field with a pint of ale and listening to pleasant music in the background; but as the date drew nearer and the weather looked wilder, I started to wonder if the whole thing would prove to be a dreadful waste of 60 quid.

I needn't have worried. Collapse )

It seems slightly odd to compare the Folk Festival to Glastonbury, but the festivals' ranges of music are converging enough that it's not quite the comparison of, oh, chalk horses and Richard Cheese, say, that it might once have been. This year saw the Folk Festival adorning its tents with garishly-coloured giant inflatable puffballs like those in Glastonbury's dance area, though there appeared to be a total lack of the non-musical circus-style happenings (at which Glastonbury still excels) that have taken place in previous years; I'm not convinced this is a good trade-off. The Folk Festival certainly suffers by comparison with Glastonbury in some ways (many things do, despite the truth of kaet's recent incisive comments); but it matches the music in quality if not in quantity, and what it lacks in size it gains in intimacy and accessibility. The beer's better, too, with the Portable Pub Company providing Badger on tap; but the point where the Folk Festival really beats Glastonbury hands-down is this: is has flush toilets. Sometimes it's the little luxuries that make all the difference.