Purbeck Folk Festival – Review Day 3

Blimey - can't believe you've got this far. Well done to you!

So Day 3 of the smashing Purbeck Folk Festival begins with a fry up and ends with a severe weather warning. Yikes!

A quick look at the day 3 schedule shows it's going to be a busy Sunday with a lot of very very good acts ready to give their all in the name of folk.

First up is Wikkaman who I always enjoy shooting and their blend of out there folk stories to songs is a hit with the rapidly filling fire stage area.

The arena is a really good place for a stage as it's almost a natural bowl and is conveniently tucked away. The organisers have done a good job because it also has its own dedicated bar. It turns out that they appear to have over bought on beer so I resolve to help them out by drinking some.

Wikkaman are great fun and go down a treat by the way and as time moves on the fire stage arena starts to fill up pleasingly.

Caravan of thieves sound intriguing from their programme write up and it's getting difficult to move so we stay put and as so often happens at festivals we randomly see one of the best performances of the weekend.

The thieves are all the way from Bridgeport, Connecticut (surely too many 'Cs' there?) and they bring with them a mixture of sort of gypsy, jazz, funk, acoustic and hue and cry. Intriguing touches like musicians standing to attention when not playing and a drum kit made out of recycled modern day detritus add to the slightly manic set.

But let not the interesting costumes and odd choice of drum kit detract from the fact that they play and sing very well and their toons are captivating. Photographically they are pretty much a dream as they move around like a ball bearing in a magnet factory.

There's a fantastic touch at the end of the set when they invite all the kids on stage for a sing and a dance to their last number.

I meet up with the guys at various points during the day and learn how to transport a double bass across the Atlantic and that they hope to come back next year and do a longer tour. My feeling is that they are perfect for the summer festival season in the UK.

Annoyingly it turns out that Fuzz, Carrie, Ben and Brian are really nice people which quashes my attempt to find some backstage gossip of badly behaving artists and tantrums and traumas. oh well.


One of the acts I particularly want to see is Will McNicol and he appears at Purbeck with collaborator Luke Selby on drums and pinging electronic thing.

Will is instantly likeable and keeps up a flow of amiable banter with the crowd. He doesn't sing but given the excellence of his musicianship and the originality of his approach this matters not a whit.

Of particular note must be his vocals into the mic of his guitar and put into a multi layered loop. The crowd are transfixed and the time goes all too rapidly.

Will and Luke give us a wide ranging menu of sounds from a 'triple distilled' Mississippi blues to a wonderful self penned Africa with Wills' makeshift Mbira involving torn business card.

In contrast with the American shenanigans there's a wonderfully British 'Beard off' competition which involves judging a variety of real and not-so-real beards produced by the audience.

I admire the facial efforts of all the male contenders but of special note are the manufactured hirsuteness of the women and children who also take part. It's a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed so have a look at the gallery below!

It turns out that it's nearly 3pm so food time.

We make our way out of the now packed Fire stage area and off to the courtyard and it's clear that the food traders have had a good festival with a few of them packed up for the weekend. We decide to sit in the duck shed and nosh what we got and see our second Kadia set of the weekend.

It's even better than the first and it strikes me that Kadia feel more at home in the intimate environment of the duck shed rather than the much larger and somewhat remote high barn.

The guys start to have some fun with the crowd packed into the shed and in addition to favourites of their own like 'Beast of Bodmin Moor' we get Katy Perry and Michael Jackson. Never let it be said that Kadia are conventional!

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.

The wonderfully diverse nature of Purbecks' offering is demonstrated then by the introduction of the Poetry Slam winner Shaun Gary Palmer. Having heard his stuff before (and liked it) I was pleased to hear of his triumph and even happier that he was to reprise some of his spoken word for us in the Duck Shed.

Shaun (in addition to being a musician) produces verse that speaks to the teenage unconfidence (it's a word look it up) in all of us. Self doubt is mixed with gentle humour and he gives a very heartfelt performance.

Coco and the Butterfields wowed the crowds at The Larmer Tree and I was pleased to see them on the bill for this festival. Their set in the Long barn goes with a bang and they are every bit as impressive as at Larmer.

If you've not seen them before this band is another in the canon of British new folk/punk bands. They bring bucketfuls of energy and some very singable tunes. It's a measure of their growing popularity that the crowd began to sing their original songs back to the Butterfields. Worth seeing.

The Butterfields finish with a flourish and I'm off to the Fire stage for a brilliant Fearne set.

I've seen them a couple of times as a duo and having heard their recordings wanted to experience their live work as a four piece.

As it turns out they are joined by the excellent Lee Cuff on cello and their five handed (should that be ten handed?) set up works exceptionally well.

Occasionally described as a bearded Morrissey frontman Alex Bedrijczuk is engaging and amusing and despite the self effacing put downs is nothing like the ex Smiths serial non turner upper.

Fearne give us their full repertoire and we learne (see what I did there?) that Alex will spend his stag do recording their new album. Good news for both us and the future Mrs Bedrijcuk.

Having the extra members of the band gives the group a richer sound and adds depth to lyrics that pretty much demand it. Guns also provides a target for Alexs' humour!

I end up having a chat with Alex after their set and he's complimentary about a review we did back somewhen. I promise to review their set and their latest album so look out for those little gems of literature in the near future.


For my final music of a long but enjoyable day I go off and stand at the back and watch Turin Brakes do their thing in the long barn. Luckily it's getting cold again so the rancid smell from the nearby loos has subsided, which is handy because next to the beer handing out area they've set up a BBQ with some of the tastiest burgers I've had since the last time I made them. For 3 quid I get a little bit of meat based heaven and this washed down with whateverbeerwe'vegotleftmush and the excellent TBs makes for a fitting end to a great festival.

Walking back up the hill we get a little bit of drizzle which turns out to be the start of what nowadays people class as extreme weather but what to people born before 1995 is actually a bit of rain and wind.

There's no hassle to leave in the morning, no one has even mentioned what time we're to be off site and this pretty much sums up the whole festival for me. We're left to our own devices and expected to behave like adults which suits me fine!

If you are wondering whether to book the Purbeck for 2015 then I suggest you get in quick. Based on this showing they will sell out next year pretty early.

Thanks for sticking with me

scroll down for our day 3 gallery

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4 thoughts on “Purbeck Folk Festival – Review Day 3

  1. Great write up Stuart. I did Purbeck last year and really enjoyed it. I would have gone again this year but I promised my son a visit to one of the big festivals and he chose Reading which was on the same weekend. I spent most of the weekend wishing I was anywhere other than Reading. Check out why if you fancy a read. http://wp.me/p4Fvr2-h3

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