Last Friday we were at the Tide Mill in Woodbridge for the official launch of FolkEast 2019. From one of their pieces of marketing materials John Marshall-Potter quoted this definition: “Folk: a group of kindred tribes forming a nation.” If you have never ventured onto the plains of EastFolk in mid-August, let me tell you that is exactly what it feels like, being part of nation of like-minded people. Sadly, it only lasts three days and is restricted to a few acres on the Glemham estate.
I attended the first FolkEast at Glemham Hall back in 2013. Over that weekend I met lots of people, all friendly, helpful and interesting. Many have become friends. For me that is FolkEast’s virtually unique characteristic – you cannot go without making new friends.
Over the intervening years the festival has grown, the layout has changed, new things have been added but that core friendliness remains. Nor is it restricted to the people you meet in the crowds – it extends to the acts, the crafters, the volunteers – everyone involved.
At the launch, as if to emphasise that FolkEast is about far more than music, not a note was played at the Tide Mill. Never fear, the 2019 FolkEast line up will more than make up for that. The Karine Powart Trio headlining on Friday, Cara Dillon & Friends on Saturday and Richard Thomson on Sunday.
But that is but the tip of the iceberg, wander off to the woods and seek out the Soap Box Stage – it’s a mini festival in itself. The Moot Hall stage is covered therefore handy if the weather turns and unlike many festivals, despite the crowds, there is always room to dance in front of the main stage.
Non musically, Malcolm Cudmore will be running workshops for those keen to hone their drawing skills but if you want to have a go at creating your own FolkEast masterpiece get along to the art marquee get involved with FolkEast’s “Big Draw Competition”.
And we are told that there will be more than sixty artists exhibiting – “instrumental” will be back for all the luthiers out there – local food and drink will abound.
The one slightly sad note is that The Young’uns, FolkEast’s patrons, will not be there this year as they will be kicking off their 2019 US tour at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.