Eastfolk in Bloom

Our good friends over at FolkEast, the three day festival at the glorious Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall are challenging festivalgoers and stallholders to create a floral haven at next month’s much anticipated event.

Never short of innovation, John and Becky Marshall-Potter, the creators of the six year old festival with a difference, have launched Eastfolk in Bloom.

Says Becky:

“Every summer, communities up and down the country come to life in a riot of colour to compete in the RHS Britain in Bloom contest. Now we’ve come up with our own blooming competition – we want everyone to join in by decking their stall, tent, camper van, caravan or bicycle with bowers of flowers – or even just a pot or two!”

Judging will take place on Friday, August 19. Rosettes and certificates will be given to the best exhibits and competing campers can also win a pair of weekend tickets for the 2018 festival.

Tickets are selling briskly for the East Anglian extravaganza that is so much more than a music festival. (One of The Guardian’s top festival picks for 2017). The green-fingered theme continues with ‘Mini-pond’ (a pond in a Mini!), a floral municipal roundabout with water feature and Sunday morning’s ‘Gardeners’ Cornered’ – FolkEast’s answer to Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time.  Steve Coghill, Senior Horticulturist of Kings College Cambridge will head a panel that will also include ex Bellowhead band lynchpins John Spiers and Pete Flood. The musicians from the multi award-winning powerhouse band (which has now sadly called it a day) will show another side of themselves. Melodeon ace Spiers is a keen allotment owner in Oxfordshire while Flood has been studying botany since Bellowhead’s departure from the folk scene. Pete says he has thousands of hours of obsessive botanising, moss-gathering and fungus-bothering behind him!

The audience is invited to bring along their plants or photos for discussion and Pete will also be leading a nature walk through the grounds of the 300-acre Glemham Hall estate.

And there will be arboreal antics with Jack Cooke giving a talk about his celebrated book The Tree Climber’s Guide which looks at London from high in the capital’s canopy while former East Anglian resident Tom Cox talks about new book 21st Century Yokel.

John Spiers will also be revisiting a unique collaboration with folk fiddling legend Peter Knight seen for the first time at FolkEast 2016 – an undisputed highlight of the event.

In its sixth year, FolkEast will be packing a punch with an eclectic line up of folk and world music acts including BBC award-winning headliners Jon Boden and Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, drumming sensation The Dhol Foundation, 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees Nancy Kerr, Kris Drever and Dorset duo Ninebarrow and of course FolkEast’s irrepressible patrons The Young ‘uns.

Jon Boden is one of the outstanding folk performers of his generation – having won 11 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, more than any other artist. One of his first solo festival performances, he will headline the main Sunset stage on Friday night in a genre-hopping set that promises to get FolkEast off to a buoyant start.

Winner of the Horizon (Best Emerging Act) award at the 2016 Folk Awards, Norfolk-born Sam Kelly will bring his Lost Boys band and unmistakable voice to the main stage on Saturday night, building on their success last year. They will showcase songs from forthcoming album Pretty Peggy, out in October.

The dynamic Dhol Foundation will close the festival as Sunday headliners. Founded by Johnny Kalsi, the spectacular powerhouse troupe plays dhol drums – a traditional percussion instrument from the Punjab – to create the mesmerising bhangra style music. Their music has been heard in Hollywood films such as Gangs of New York and Incredible Hulk and they have also worked with Peter Gabriel on  soundtracks for films including Rabbit Proof Fence and The Last Temptation of Christ. They opened the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.