Purbeck Folk festival review

When people say Folk Music do you think of beards, sandals and an unhealthy love of real ale?

Well in fairness The Purbeck Folk Festival had its fair share of sandals and quite an array of real ales. They even had a beard competition but dismissing the folk festival as a haven for earnest middle aged men in cardigans is to miss one of the Souths best music festivals.

We spent a wonderful weekend at this exceptionally friendly and laid back farm based musical feast and here we present our thoughts on what turned out to be a great few days.

I was intrigued to see how this small but perfectly formed festival would pan out and I wasn't disappointed.

We arrived pretty late on Friday so missed a must see band in nizlopi but caught some great music in the funky duck shed and an exceptional set from the awesome Jack Ratts in the high barn.

An amount of real ale was despatched and it was pleasing to find that even on a busy Friday night the queue at the bar wasn't too long. The smell from the eco toilets was a bit ripe mind you!

It's great to see some really interesting food on show and we sample very tasty Chilli in a bread trencher before retiring to our Hilltop tent. You'd pay a fortune for that view.

Saturday gets off to a wonderfully folky start with local favourites Ninebarrow and Kadia wowing the high barn. 2 very high quality and very enjoyable sets start off what will turn out to be a very memorable day.

There's so much going on that I wish I could be in five places at once but we decide to take in the finals of the Purbeck Rising competition. A high standard show produced winner Lily of Barbery who did a really different set of a capella folk for the assembled crowd in a strangely familiar wood stage.

Staying put we experience the mighty Big Tent and the Gypsy Lantern who are last year's winners. How they managed to get so many instruments and very tall musicians into a hollowed out caravan escapes me but the music was damned fine.

There's loads going on and I try to capture as much as I can of the ambience of the day. The organisers have made this a truly friendly and family orientated festival but without trying too hard.

Kids are running around all day with treasure hunt maps and it's clear that this is a really safe environment to let your youngsters off the leash a bit.

More fine beer and we enjoy Idlewild with only their second live set in five years followed by one of my personal favourites The South. Born of The Beautiful South they have a great back catalogue and we end the day by having a mass singalong in the freezing cold Long Barn.

Wandering past the duck shed we experience a cracking Bo Rap from that Chris Payn with another mass singalong and I can go to bed happy if a little tired from a long day pointing a camera.

We enjoy the beard off competition (which is a lot more fun than it sounds) and then trundle over to the duck shed for our second Kadia experience of the weekend followed by a short poetry reading from winner of the Poetry Slam Shaun Gary Palmer who's stuff I really like.

More of the excellent food (Paella for me and more chilli for the missus) and we go off to see one of my must see bands of the summer Coco and the Butterfields. They are busy, energetic and have a great look and sound. The crowd are singing their original material back to them and once again we have a mass open mic session.


It'd be really difficult to top Saturday but Sunday starts with a bang. There's the brill Wikkaman followed by the expertise of Wil McNicol who both get a rousing reception from the Fire Stage crowd. 

Despite an extreme weather warning it's a lovely day and we sit in the sun and experience the phenomenon that is Caravan of Thieves. They are simply sensational and I get loads of great shots. They do a lovely thing where they invite any kids onto the stage to dance with them for their final number. Something that the little ones will remember for a long time to come.

A quick sprint off to the other end of the site and it's Fearne, one of my favourite bands in the local area. We get a very high quality set from their five piece format and Alex is in top form as a frontman. I catch hold of him after and have a nice old chat before I launch off to the other end of the site again.

Turin Brakes are on and the organisers have stoked up a barbecue in the barn next to the beer. I have one of the tastiest burgers I've had for ages(only three quid too) and enjoy a really good Brakes set which brings down the curtain on my festival.

It's a bank holiday weekend so we stay overnight and the predicted extreme weather makes it's presence felt. The laid back feel of the festival continues as there's no hassle and no need to leave early in the morning.


So how do I feel about my first ever Purbeck Folk festival?

Well it was as folky as you wanted it to be. There were sandals and there was beer but there also was a great feeling of a festival that doesn't take itself too seriously and that really enjoys putting on a show.

There were rough edges as you'd expect but to be honest they just added to the charm. A clear sign of a great atmosphere was the amount of musos that hung around just to listen and chew the fat with their mates.

Purbeck folk was definitely my favourite festival of the year. Get yourself some early bird tickets for next years event soon!


I'll be writing up more detailed reviews of each of the days soon so check back.

If you've enjoyed this then do me a favour and share it on facebook/twitter or whatever you like to use. I judge my own self worth by the amount of likes I've got.

as a gift please enjoy these photos from the weekend - again I'll be putting up the more band type shots shortly


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