As predicted, I was bored by Saturday night, so decided to take myself off to the National Folk Festival for the day on Sunday. The festival has been around for fifty years, and heaps of people we know go every year and love it, but I've never been. I have never been sure how much the rest of the family would like it - I listen to and enjoy folk music but the others can take it or leave it. So, in the interests of scientific experimentation, I decided to send myself along on my own as a test case, to see whether we could all go next year. Offering myself (and the $120 for a day ticket) up bravely as the canary down the mine.
It was awesome. Just awesome. Fifteen different venues, all going from 10 in the morning to midnight - plus dancers and street performers and random pop up venues and people playing in the cafes. Once I figured out my tactics to get the best seats, I went from concert to concert ... with a couple of breaks for coffee / lunch / poke about the stalls selling tie-dyed crap. The photo above is of various troupes of Morris dancers. I really love Morris dancers - the troupes all had separate performance spots but then they got together and had a big dance-off. I love that they are bouncy and loud and they laugh a lot and whack each other with sticks accidentally and laugh some more and thump about.
There were also belly dancers wearing gingham, and dancing to country songs. Unfortunately I missed the Old England dancers who do eighteenth century stuff and the Scottish country dancers. I love that too, even though they're a bit more dainty.
But of course the dancing was just a side dish to the music - and that was great. I saw the Jerry Cans, who are North Canadian and sing loud and catchy folk songs in Inuit. I saw Sheila Kay Adams, who is North Carolina and banjo and hilarious. I saw the Rambling Boys from Ireland, and the Company from Brisbane and Enda Kenny. I walked into the Nancy Kerr concert by accident just as she started on a wonderful version of "Barbara Allen", which I like to sing to the children ("oh mother mother, go make my bed" mostly).
I left the house at 9.30 in the morning saying I would probably be a few hours, and got home at 9 at night, and I could have stayed longer. Next year!