Sidmouth FolkWeek – sun, rain, sea and song

Sidmouth, Devon, England

Sidmouth, Devon, England

Happiness … a folk festival set in a patchwork bowl beside the sea.

Early August means FolkWeek when Sidmouth, in Devon, ties bells below her knees, plumps her seafront with craft stalls, and flies a few tunes up her hillsides.

Sidmouth Folk Week 2017 - with thanks to the man in tatters

Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017 – with thanks to the man in tatters

This year there was sunshine and rain, and plenty to celebrate for Sidmouth FolkWeek, started in 1955, has just been awarded a BBC Music Day blue plaque by the British Plaque Trust in recognition of the festival’s contribution to music.

A little damp was not going to get in the way of anything.

Sidmouth, Devon, England

Sidmouth, Devon, England

It didn’t stop the buskers …

Buskers at Folk Week in Sidmouth, Devon, 2017

Buskers at FolkWeek in Sidmouth, Devon, 2017

… nor the craft stalls …

Craft stall at Folk Week 2017 in Sidmouth, Devon

Craft stall at FolkWeek 2017 in Sidmouth, Devon

… nor those waiting to dance …

Man in 'tatters' at Folk Week, in Sidmouth, Devon.

Man in ‘tatters’ at FolkWeek, in Sidmouth, Devon.

… and the sea life went on as usual.

The gigs coming home - Sidmouth, Devon, Folk Week 2017

The gigs coming home – Sidmouth, Devon, FolkWeek 2017

For this is Sidmouth, and although she might get a little frisky in FolkWeek she’s only ever a pint or two away from her sensible, seaside self.

Sousaphone in Sidmouth, Devon in Folk Week 2017

Sousaphone in Sidmouth, Devon in FolkWeek 2017

This year, sadly, we had just two days at the festival (the wet ones), so no time for the workshops but we did manage an afternoon in the Ham Marquee.

First up were Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter with their skilled, lilting blend of vocals, guitar and mandolin – gently brilliant.

Laura-Beth Salter on mandolin at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017

Laura-Beth Salter on mandolin at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017

Then came the all male Yves Lambert Trio from Quebec.

The Yves Lambert Trio at Folk Week in Sidmouth, Devon

The Yves Lambert Trio at FolkWeek in Sidmouth, Devon

Yves Lambert, champion of Quebecois folk music and a member of  La Bottine Souriante, came to Sidmouth this year with the Yves Lambert Trio – a group that’s been together for 15 years.

Yves Lambert did vocals, accordion, harmonica, jaw harp, percussion … and a strange kind of whistle/flute.

Yves Lambert on stage at Sidmouth Folk Week 2017

Yves Lambert on stage at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017

Tommy Gauthier, beside him on stage, played violin, mandolin, and guitar, and used his voice and feet.

Tommy Gauthier of the Yves Lambert Trio on stage at Sidmouth Folk Week 2017

Tommy Gauthier of the Yves Lambert Trio on stage at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017

Olivier Rondeau, the third in the trio, also did vocals, and played guitar and the banjo.

Olivier Rondeau of the Yves Lambert Trio on stage at Folk Week 2017 in Sidmouth, Devon

Olivier Rondeau of the Yves Lambert Trio on stage at FolkWeek 2017 in Sidmouth, Devon

Together they made quite an orchestra, and they were not short of pace. Loved the ‘Rasta’ beat in the Yves Lambert Trio piece, introduced with thoughts of Usain Bolt and the colours of the Jamaican flag.

Yves Lambert Trio going Rasta at Sidmouth Folk Week 2017

Yves Lambert Trio going Rasta at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017

It was an afternoon of entertaining, inventive, excellent music.

Afterwards we stepped back into evening sunshine. Sidmouth was as she should be … calm …

Sidmouth, Devon, England

Sidmouth, Devon, England

… minding her own problems …

Cliff erosion in Sidmouth, Devon

Cliff erosion in Sidmouth, Devon

… but still not quite ready to settle down.

Sidmouth Folk Week 2017

Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017

And, judging by the crowds the next morning, neither were any of her visitors.

Sidmouth, Devon, England - Folk Week 2017

Sidmouth, Devon, England – FolkWeek 2017

 

Sidmouth, Devon, England - Folk Week 2017

Sidmouth, Devon, England – FolkWeek 2017

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2017

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