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Folk Week just keeps getting better

By Julia Collins
From left, Sue Blaskett, Jane Adams, Paul Morresey, Pete and Jane Croucher, Lynda Borley, Graham Jackson, Colin Kidd and Rose Dowd of Sunshin Ukes, entertaining the crowds at Broadstairs Folk Week.

From left, Sue Blaskett, Jane Adams, Paul Morresey, Pete and Jane Croucher, Lynda Borley, Graham Jackson, Colin Kidd and Rose Dowd of Sunshin Ukes, entertaining the crowds at Broadstairs Folk Week.

Launched back in 1965, Broadstairs Folk Week is one of Kent’s oldest music events – and every year it keeps getting bigger and better.

Although in previous years I had just been a day visitor, this time I decided to enjoy the proper festival experience, and headed along on Saturday morning to pitch my tent at the campsite, at Charles Dickens School.

There was ample room, no problems with finding a space, and the friendly staff were very calm and organised, creating a stress-free experience.

Families with children were also able to enjoy the onsite Panic Circus, offering entertainment during the week. After getting settled in, we headed down to the town centre, and our first stop was Harpers Bar for a performance by Medway’s Funke and the Two Tone Baby.

The one man alt-blues band – aka Dan Turnbull – describes himself as a “one-man festival” and he more than lived up to that claim, using only his voice, guitar and harmonica – along with some clever technology – to create an amazingly full sound.

The sweat poured from underneath his signature black hat as he threw himself into the virtuoso performance – a feat of musicality but also co-ordination, as he wrangled with several loop pedals, a stomp box and other devices while singing.

He really is a performer who has to be seen, not just listened to. One of the great things about Folk Week is that everything is within walking distance in the town centre, and in addition to the music taking place in pubs and other venues around the town, there are lots of other things to see and do. We wandered up to Victoria Gardens, where there was a craft fair, before heading down to the pier to browse some record stalls.

Then it was back to the music, watching Kent folk rock band Green Diesel at the Albion Gardens. The sextet attracted a capacity crowd for their gig, with people packing the area outside the Royal Albion Hotel, and even standing outside the gardens to watch.

We finished our evening with a visit to Urban Folk Theory’s late-night ceilidh at the Pavilion.

Caller Cate Banister impressively created order from chaos, as dozens of people of all ages flocked to the floor, eager to take part in the organised dances.

Make sure you get along and sample some of the great music and events on offer before it finishes at the end of the week.

Broadstairs Folk Week runs until Friday. A full festival programme is available from various outlets around the town, priced £5.50, or call 01843 604080 for information.

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