Everyone at Abbey Mill was so pleased to welcome back Folk on the Lawn. This is our very first festival since the start of lockdown restrictions. You can’t imagine how good it was to see familiar faces together with new artists and to enjoy real music performed live. As always the mood across the four day festival was laid back and convivial. A wide range of artists showcased their work and there was definitely something for every taste. Absolutely everyone had fun, with kids dancing on hay bales and Mum and Dad relaxing with drinks in the beer tent. Even the ‘Miller’s Dad’ was busy making friends on his mobility scooter! Here’s a quick glimpse of some of the acts that we really enjoyed.
Kahlo After Frida
Kahlo After Frida were the exciting final act who played the Cottage Stage on Friday. The musicians were Simon Cottle on flamenco/ folk guitar and Louise Armstrong on arresting vocals. The duo’s music reimagines the independent spirit of the artist Frida Kahlo. You can find out more about their music on Facebook.
Dark Valley Revival
Dark Valley Revival were the foot-tapping act rounding up Friday night’s music. This band fondly describes themselves as ‘emerging from the darkest depths of the south Wales valleys’ in 2016! Above all their music revisits bluegrass, gospel and the country songs of the past. Introducing their own vibrant, self written material gives them their unique and energetic sound. In addition the Dark Valley Revival sound is inspired by artists like Doc Watson, The Carter Family, Gillian Welsh and Gene Clark to create an exciting blend of psychedelic folk, bluegrass and punk. Similarly many of the band members have previously played with the Soft-Hearted Scientists, Gwair and Helen Love which altogether makes for a refreshingly eclectic line up of musicians.
We are Muffy
We are Muffy are best known for their byline of ‘all manner of things will be well’. As anticipated they gave a mesmerising performance on Saturday night’s River Stage. The viewers backstage agreed the music was completely intriguing. Meanwhile those at the front responded with ‘we were indeed mesmerised, thanks muchly! Another audience member said simply, ‘I loved these 2 years ago’.
Musicians Angeline Morrison and Nick Duffy are the talent behind the We are Muffy’s magic. They mostly use a distinctive array of instruments to produce a charmingly ramshackle take on Indi pop. On the other hand they are also known for their haunting English folk music. The We Are Muffy songs have also been described as ‘The good bits of Belle and Sebastian with all the drama and electrically powered stuff removed and replaced by thumb pianos’ by music writers PopMatters. On stage at the festival they were captivating and much appreciated by a very enthusiastic audience.
Hey St Mathew
Meanwhile Hey St Mathew started off the Saturday evening music under the trees on the Cottage Stage. They are an Anglo-Welsh band including Sheena Bailey on guitar, singer song writer MG Boulter and Mike Bailey on bass. Together the trio use classic song craft and story telling to explore both pastoral and suburban themes. Music critics have said their work recalls late 60’s gentle psychedelia and by contrast also chamber folk. Certainly the band draws on many diverse influences. Our audience’s response was ‘these were great’ and ‘really enjoyed this set this evening’. Look out for the Hey St Mathew’s debut album which will be released in 2022.
Sunday took off with Peter Gowan ‘encouraging participation/ or intimidating the audience’ on the Cottage Stage! Peter is a poet, presenter and raconteur and was styled a ‘comedy genius’ by the North Wales Pigeon Fanciers’ Gazette. Initially he started out writing serious verse but soon decided that ‘he wanted people to laugh with him, not at him’. As a result he now writes ‘terrible verse intended to make you giggle and exercise your chuckle muscle’. Judging by our active audience’s athletic response he really is a genius!
The Folk on the Lawn festival was an amazing 4 days full of music, sun and laughter! Thank you to our gifted artists who gave their time and talents so generously. A big thank you also to our energetic and resourceful stall holders, crafters, caters and refreshementeers. We hope you enjoyed our first festival since lockdown as much as we did. We look forward to all your stories and feedback and to celebrating music and local beer together again at next year’s festival.