Folk in the Town returned to Lynn’s Tuesday Market Place for the second time at the weekend and looks set to become another annual event in the town’s calendar.
A host of acts took to the stage during the two-day festival, which attracted good crowds to the square.
Hosted by KLFM and KLWNDC’s Alistair Cox, there certainly seemed to be a great many people making their way down to enjoy the music.
The weather on Saturday threatened to make things a little wet, but apart from a few drops of rain early on, it stayed dry. Opening the festival were The Fried Pirates, a lively folk band, with several members that swap in and out as situations and schedules dictate. Today, they were playing as a four-piece, their set leaned towards the Americana side of folk.
Cathy Martini took to the stage next. Her story is one of travel, having been born in King’s Lynn, but spending most of her time on the other side of the Atlantic in Oregon. Her songs were typical of the genre, being very personal with each telling a story of some part of her life.
The third act stepping up to the plate were a trio under the moniker of Two Coats Colder. They played a varied set with numerous instrument changes throughout. There was a lot to like though, and it fitted in with the theme of the festival, and the members even provided a little humour between songs too.
The Tildens made a welcome return, having performed at the first event last year. They have a lazy style which can even give an upbeat song a relaxed feel, but that doesn’t make you feel like you shouldn’t join in, quite the opposite in fact, and the crowd sang along at every opportunity.
One of the more colourful characters from last year was Anto Morra, who performed as part of a duo with Gareth Calway. This year he returned performing as a solo artist, and with his own unique “punk folk” style, got the crowd on his side right from the off. He’s got a certain charm, and you can’t help but like him, regardless of whether you want to or not.
Closing day one were another returning band, in the shape of The Macarnos. They went down very well last year, and this year was no different. Blasting through a set of covers and originals, they were the perfect act to bring the curtain down on the day’s proceedings, and the crowd were in fine voice and joined in at every opportunity.
If Saturday threatened to wash everything out with a torrential downpour at any minute, Sunday offered no such inkling. The sky was blue, the sun was blazing, and opening the show was Yve Mary B, arguably one of nicest people you’re ever going to meet, with a voice as velvety as melted chocolate. To quote Paul Heath, a fellow local music buff “if Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks were to somehow have a baby, that baby would be Yve.”
The Boxwood Chessmen were hailed as something of a “supergroup” of established folk musicians that came together to form a band, and so expectations were high as they took to the stage. Shortly afterward, expectations were well and truly exceeded. One thing that’s fairly consistent through the folk world, is that the musicians have a sense of humour (often warped, skewed, or even downright twisted) and this band were no different, providing additional entertainment between songs.
One of the acts I was personally looking forward to on Sunday was a young singer/song-writer from Norwich named Vic Allen. I was lucky enough to be handed a copy of her EP earlier this year, and I was blown away by it, so I was interested to see how she’d fare at a live show. Anyone can sound good on a recording, right? Vic’s voice is nothing short of beautiful, and there will be some more music released in the coming weeks so keep your eyes and ears open.
Another thing I like about folk bands, is their imaginative, often strange and obscure, names. I have no idea what the story is behind the Ludlam Pikes’ name, but their music is great fun to listen to. I’m not sure if fun is the intention, but in my experience, if you’re having a good time and enjoying yourself, you must be having fun, so you can argue semantics all you like. I digress though, they’re a cracking band to listen to though, and that’s all that needs to be said.
The Blakeney Old Wild Rovers, are a charity band who play mainly old maritime tunes and sea shanties. They have been around since the late 90’s and to date have raised over £220,000 for local charities around Norfolk. Currently they’re supporting the Wells and Cromer division of the RNLI, but they change regularly. It was my first time hearing of them, but they’re a jolly bunch, and worthy of your time because of the work they do. They’re entirely non-profit, so every penny raised is donated to charity. Full details of the band can be found at www.facebook.com/pg/OldWildRovers
Closing the show was the same band that got things underway the day before. The Fried Pirates had an additional member, and played a set with an entirely different flavour this time around, geared toward the more traditional folk style. It was an appropriate end to the weekend though, and to the second Folk in the Town festival. I wonder what 2018 will bring.