12th to 14th July 2002

Fast forward to Saturday evening and the Ely On-Line revellers donned green wrist bands and joined the many folksters already well into their second day of the festival. Now, obviously, tradition is a big part of the Folk world and I'm pleased to report that the organisers don't try to fix what 'ain't broke. So, a real ale, delicately named, 'Dragon Slayer' played a large (and foaming) part of my evening. The other day I re-read my review of the last Folk Weekend and remembered that my badly spelt, badly thought out meanderings had been written while still held in the grips of a Dragon Slayer hangover. However, as a traditionalist myself, I succumbed to its pleasures again.

First band up, in the Dance Tent, was Xim, a quintet from Norfolk who specialise in French music. They combine bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, melodeon, flutes and clarinet to produce a distinctive dance rhythm. Judging from the faces of the dancers they were going down a storm as this was line dancing for people with something in their trousers and skirts. Waheyy!

Secondly, from the main stage, was a duo, Brian Peters and Gordon Tyrall, two solo artists who regularly team up to play events such as this. Brian is a leading exponent of the melodeon while Gordon is a guitarist/flute player. They squeezed, strummed and sang contemporary tales about things such as the joy of having a teenage fan of Slipknot living in the house. Luckily, no Slipknot at the Folk Weekend.

As the beer began to soak through we took in the fine entertainment on offer in the beer tent. In some ways I'd say I prefer these impromptu jams to the more formal sessions in the main tent. These jigs and reels appear to have no beginning or end as they set your foot a 'tappin and, strangely enough, make you feel very thirsty. Like eating peanuts.

Next, Firebrand, a quintet of celtic harp, fiddle, flute, cittern, double bass and vocals. Kicking up a veritable storm, I could hear jazz, classical and even funk in their musical brew. Well, I couldn't, to be honest, but it says that in the programme. I'm tone deaf.


Stewart the Steward makes sure no-one gets "out of Order..!"

By this time, as darkness fell, a strange kind of Homer Simpson like moaning began to emanate from the EOL trio...Fooood. Foood. Feed me now! A vegetable curry later from one of the excellent food stalls and we were ready for Waterson:Carthy. However, we decided we were still hungry and had a cheeseburger as well. There's something about the catering at these do's that I love. Burp.

Happy and full we ventured forth to watch the headliners (although not the last band on), Waterson: Carthy, who will need no introduction for folkies. The, by now packed, main tent was in awe as Norma Waterson told her tales and they were every bit the cream of Britsh Folk Music that I'd been told of.

The Real Ale was unreal and the Folk Boy Three have peaked early tonight.

My own personal favourites, The Bushburys, were last on. Their mix of rock, folk and blues played with the foot hard down on the accelerator was reminiscent of The Pogues in their hey-day and they attracted a few dancers to the front of the stage. A right old Saturday night knees-up in the Isle of Eels. As I wobbled off on my bike I was already looking forward to next years folk weekend which will be on 11th - 13th July 2003. I'll see you there
A yocal Cowboy sums up the Weekend..!
" Ay by gum, s'good 'ere innit..?"

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