Purbeck Folk Festival – Review Day 2

Day 2 dawns and there's another trauma. It turns out that the single portaloo in the field is full. In fact it's more than full. I'm left wondering exactly how someone managed to do what they did. I was going to have a moan about how the organisers must have been idiots to think that one loo would do for the whole quiet camping area when a truck rolls up with 3 extra loos on board and the chap cleans up the existing installation. I wouldn't have his job for anything. Full marks then to the festival volunteers for being responsive when something wasn't right.

Midday and it's Ninebarrow in the High Barn. Again traditionally folky but with a modern edge they enthrall the crowd with their story based songs (despite a broken key on the harmonium) and I'm decided on catching them again when they play a local gig. Struggling manfully with both the noise and indeed the smell of the toilet pump they treat us to great harmonies and get a really good reception from attendees in the high barn

Continuing the 'Bournemouth based modern folk' theme next up are Kadia, another of the fast emerging crop of fine bands to come from the conurbation. There'll be a more in depth review later but suffice it to say that we don't get bored as the chaps fill the barn with their close harmony and classically trained  Katy Perry covers (it's OK they don't just do Katy Perry).

I shot a video but it'll never see the light of day as it's as shaky as a jelly on the waltzers. A downside of my tripod being in the tent about a mile away.

Quick chat with bits of Kadia then run off to the wood stage to see the Finals of the Purbeck Rising competition. See a strangely familiar red caravan from Grooves on the Green.

We're there to support the lovely Kimari Raven in the competition but it's a very high standard and she faces some really good acts.It's a difficult day for all involved as the weather can't make its mind up. At one moment it's a lovely sunny day and the next it's like a very wet thing. Still we persevere and are treated to some fine music.

The deserved eventual winner is Lily of Barbery with an inventive a capella set of folk songs and stamping. Lily is looking for female instrumentalists to work with so if you play you should seek her out.

The wood stage is handily placed for beer tent and toilets so we decide to stick around on the recommendation of the lovely (but pushy) Jo Elkington and enjoy the next act.

This is probably a good time to mention the food. As all good festival goers do we've brought our own supply of bacon and eggs but the food at Purbeck is so good we end up sampling pretty much most of the fare over the course of the three days. It looks like the stallholders have agreed the festival price to be around the £5 mark and for that we sample the paella, ploughmans, nachos, chilli in bread, half a pig in a roll and a late night thai dish called whateveryouvegotleftmush.

The standard was really very high and I'm told much better than last year. In fact it's so good that they start to run out before the end of day 1.

Big tent and the Gypsy Lantern play more instruments than the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra between them and fitting all that in and a really rather large lead singer into the tiny red caravan was well worth sticking around for.

Instantly likeable with their blend of folk rock and with a hint of Spanishy (is that a word?) influences these highly educated and technically talented chaps have it in spades.

Each song has it's own back story which is always handy when you have that many instrument swaps and retunes. The guys are supporting Turin Brakes on their current tour and look like they are going to be going places (other than Birmingham).

 Finally the chaps go off for a wander round the crowd rather in the style of Her Majesty the Queen but with instruments. We then get the announcement of the winner of the competition and a delighted Lily does the oscar thing.

I decide to brave the tutting of the woolly cardigan brigade and take some photos of an earnest Gigspanner in the long barn. Again I get bored so wander off in search of some general shots around the festival site.

I'm struck by how some events say they are a family festival but that this really is a good place for the smaller members of the family. I get the sense that the kids are able to run around without mum and dad worrying and there is loads to do with craft areas, workshops, story tents and a very well attended open air cinema. I don't see any bored kids at all and the friendly feel seems to extend to them as I hear stories more than once of children finding new friends and not being seen from one hour to the next.

If there was a suggestion I could give to make the festival even better it would be to cater more for the kids. Have some decent food that nippers will like with smaller portions and provide some clean changing areas. Make sure there are reasonably priced soft drinks available somewhere other than at the adult bars so that the kids can be served themselves and have a decent sweet stall so trailer trash like me can fill our little babies up with E numbers.

Credit also has to go to the adults who were tolerant of the little darlings hurtling around crashing into people and generally causing mayhem. It was almost like people had decided to make an effort to get on with one another for  the weekend. Bout time I say.

This dad was rescued by fork lift about an hour after the photo was taken

Back to the music and I'm once again off to the long barn to see Idlewild with their acoustic set.

They are very good especially considering this is their second live gig in five years.

However it shows what a hard life we photographers have (awwww) as the members of the band sit down in chairs, behind pillars and refuse resolutley to move. The lighting is shocking being seemingly powered by an 80 year old pedaling a bike behind the eco toilets.

The sky has cleared and it's getting freezing.Unusually it appears to be colder on stage than it is in the audience and the static group sit in their garden chairs and freeze slowly to death whilst giving a really good show.

Respect at this point has to be given to Idlewild, members of whom are spotted sitting on the grass the next day listening to open mic sessions. It's another feature of this festy that the artistes actually hang around and enjoy the music rather then bogging off the moment their set is done.

I persevere trying to get more shots with two cameras and the ISO turned to 11. It's not going well. I decide to take pictures of the three wooden uprights that obscure the view which at the time I think is funny but the next morning think is stupid. Meanwhile icicles begin to form on the end of my lens.

I decide the best bet is to put on another two layers and drink some more beer.

Before long it's time for The South. There's no pit as such at the festival so I have to stake my claim early at the front and remain static and hope to get some decent pics.

Having been a long time fan of the Beautiful South I'm there as a fan as much as a tog and hope not to be disappointed.

The first thing to say is that with a back catalogue like theirs you've got a head start. But it would be easy to rest on your laurels, something that the latest incarnation of the group didn't do.

We were treated to a superb set with all of our favourite numbers. As you'd expect from a band that has been working for quite some time they were very professional. They also knew their audience and although they did put in a couple of original (and to be fair pretty good) numbers, The South didn't labour the point and kept closely to the flavour of the well known hits.

Despite the cold Dave and Alison are really starting to enjoy themselves and plough on through hit after hit as the barn decides it's singalong time and we all give it some to 'keep it all in' and 'Prettiest eyes'. I'm massively impressed by the woman behind me who knows all the words in the right order to 'Song for whoever'.

The South absolutely nail it with just the right amount of chat between the songs and their time playing festivals around the country is all to our benefit as they give us a terrific show to finish the day.

As we march ourselves up the hill my calves are killing me and I realise it's because I've spent the day standing and walking around on hills and very rocky ground. I decide to drink some more to get rid of the pain.


It's the first time in the weekend we get the dramatic 'extreme weather' announcement and we're told to move to higher ground, rope down our children and collect animals two by two as it looks like it may rain a bit.

Well if you've managed to read my drivel then you really must make an effort to get out more.

If you absolutely need to torture yourself then check out my day 3 review here

and scroll down for our day 2 gallery

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