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Shrewsbury Folk Festival: Music leaves fans in heaven

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Music | Published:

Folk music lovers from all over the country have descended on Shrewsbury to listen to bands from all four corners of the world.

Shrewsbury Folk Festival kicked off in style as campers set up pitch in the fields around the West Mid Showground on Berwick Road.

And once their tents were up or their camper vans parked it was off to the festival site to listen to some of the biggest names in folk music.

Rev Sekou, activist, theologian, author, documentary maker and musician, was among the first performers, with his unique combination of North Mississippi hill country, blues, soul and steel guitar in the Pengwern tent.

Meanwhile in the Bellstone tent, Oysterband had the crowd in the palm of their hand while they played their modern, folk-based blend.

The day dawned bright on Saturday and dozens of morris men and women performed on the village stage before making their way in to Shrewsbury to take part in the annual parade which set off from the Castle at lunchtime and made its way to the Square where they danced and whooped.

Saturday night saw Martin Barre, guitarist with legendary rock band Jethro Tull, celebrate 50, years of the band as he performed some of their biggest hits in the Bellstone tent.

WATCH - Enjoy some of the highlights so far:

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Pengwern Saturday Evening 2019
Bellstone Saturday Evening 2019
Pengwern Saturday Morning 2019
Bellstone Saturday Morning 2019

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For those feeling peckish there were plenty of culinary treats to be found in the food village and if the weather, or too much singing led to their throats becoming dry, there was a bar and a gin tent.

Children were also catered for with devoted workshop tents and a circus school.

Sandra Surtees, festival director, said that the festival would not be possible without the hard working team of more than 500 volunteers and stewards who ensure it all runs smoothly.

“The stewards are fantastic,” she said. “Without them there is no way I would be able to do this. It has gone really well this year. The highlight for me was seeing all the families come and sitting around, listening to the music and relaxing. We have been very lucky with the weather and it has made for a great festival weekend.

“The ethos of this festival is that it is for families and each year, we get more and more children so we are doing something right.”

Fresh from a sound check, Rev Sekou and his band were more than impressed with the set up. “It’s our first time here in Shrewsbury and it has been wonderful,” said Rev Sekou. “It is a great festival and has a rich history. When we were asked to come along, of course we said yes.”

Penny and Richard Morris had travelled to Shrewsbury from Bury St Edmunds in their camper van with friends Linda and Eric Gray. It is their 15th time at the festival and they thoroughly enjoy the experience.

“I like traditional folk music,” said Penny, “and there are so many different types here that there is always something to listen to. It is great to be able to come to a festival which is so family, and dog, friendly. This festival is unique in that respect.”

Shrewsbury Folk Festival continues today and tomorrow. See shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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