Monmouth Rotary Club once again for their 55th Charity Raft Race. The rafts launched from Monmouth at midday on September 5th, and we were on hand to provide everyone with breakfasts to keep them going! The route passes through 6.5 miles of beautiful Wye Valley scenery to the finish line in Whitebrook. Everyone was exhausted and delighted, and celebrated together with our hog roast, lots of live music and a well earned cider! Big thank you for supporting this great cause.
We look forward to welcoming back acoustic folk duo, Jan Vaisey and Ian Harvey. Jan and Ian are best known for their dynamic soft rock and vibrant acoustic sound. They’ve played many venues locally and their music has been showcased by Dean Radio’s Clive Southerton on his Soft Rock and Acoustic Show.
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 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.
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.
So how do talented musicians and performance duos weather lockdown? How about performing online and local, or fundraising for great causes? Then of course what about writing and recording new material? That’s exactly how gifted musicians and performance duo, Skylark, have used their talents and time. They’ve managed to create more great music and help others along the way. Together they have given over 80 online performances, through the Forest of Dean Virtual Open Mic initiative alone.
Local charity Ready Steady Go has also benefited from their fundraising efforts at Live Music from South Wales. Ready Steady Go organises events and activities for children with autism. It’s a great initiative that allows the children to have fun and flourish in a structured environment.
Going virtual in lockdown has also seen Skylark online at Weymouth Open Mic and for The Gatehouse, Monmouth. They’ve performed in virtual gigs for Brockweir, Hewelsfield & St Briavels and for Lysaght Live too.
Lockdown has given the duo plenty of time to record more songs and ‘spruce up’ their set list. Now that things are easing they’ve even been able to play live at The Jukebox and Lime Tree Cafe Bar, (Facebook) in Chepstow.
Skylark are lucky enough to live locally in the beautiful Welsh countryside. The landscape has inspired much of their music and has seen them safely though lockdown. We look forward to welcoming them to Abbey Mill on 1st and 29th August 2021 and sharing their music with visitors and friends.
Folk on the Lawn is an innovative, rootsy and ‘chance-taking’ music festival, playing live at Abbey Mill from 15 to 18 July 2021. We hope you’ll enjoy our vibrant ‘homespun genre’, which is our acoustic antidote to X Factor fatigue! Our performers include a number of international artists and signed bands, in addition to Welsh, English and very local talent. The stunning natural setting, together with the artists’ good will, makes for a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.
The festival is not-for-profit and is run completely by volunteers. Our friends and supporters lend us the space, equipment, time and, not least, artistic prowess. A big thank you to all our performers, to Abbey Mill Centre and their staff and the good folk of Tintern, for helping us stage the Folk on the Lawn festival for an 11th year.
We welcome ‘wristband donations’ in support of our artists. These are available on site and also in advance through our funding page.
See our website for a full line up of artists and also our Facebook page for more details. You can also follow us across the weekend on Twitter.
From 1992 to ’96 guitarist Ian Luther played alongside Dave ‘Celtic’ Cox as the Twist Devils duo, performing at over 200 UK venues each year. Since then he has travelled across Europe as a live solo artist, entertaining audiences with his exhilarating and distinctive music style. He also works alongside other special guest musicians. Ian writes a lot of his own songs and is always and exploring new material and ideas.