By Bernie Bell
I’d been thinking about the Orkney Folk Festival https://www.orkneyfolkfestival.com/ , which would have/should have been taking place this weekend – between the 21st and 24th of May. Unfortunately, as with many another proposed large gathering of people, the Folk Fest had to be postponed until next year, when it is scheduled to take place between the 27th and the 30th of May.
Make a note of that – in your diaries, on your calendars, or on one of those Smartphone do-dah’s which are beyond my ken – MAY 27TH TO MAY 30th 2021 – ORKNEY FOLK FESTIVAL!!! SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO!!!!
I mentioned the Folk Fest being a large gathering, and it is. It’s grown and grown over the years, and I have many happy memories of attending gigs, or just listening to buskers in the streets of Stromness. There’s always a good mixture of local performers, and performers from farther afield, as can be seen from this selection of C.D.’s, bought by us at previous Folk Fests…
They all get played a lot, and are getting a bit dog-eared! We have more, but I could only fit six into the frame.
Some of the local acts go on, to be more widely known. A good example is Kris Drever, who now performs with ‘Spell Songs’ https://www.thelostwords.org/spell-songs/ , a musical extrapolation from Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris book, ‘Lost Words’
On ‘Spell Songs’, Kris Drever plays alongside a few other folk who have appeared at the Orkney Folk Fest in previous years – Beth Porter, Julie Fowlis, and… Karine Polwart, who’s C.D. you might notice in my little collection. These folk are not Orcadian, but they are now working with a native Orcadians, on a musical collaboration which also includes artistes from all over the world, all weaving their spell-songs, together.
And that’s what music does – it brings people together, brings folk together – to listen, enjoy, think about, sing along to, dance along to.
I use some of my folky C.D’s , as part of the exercise-at-home-by-dancing-round-the-kitchen regime.
Last time, I put on Jimmy Somerville & The Communards, ‘You make me feel mighty real’ – which was a lot of fun, but wore me out!
Not exactly folk, but, well, we’re all folk, when it comes down to it.
If the Folk Festival had happened this year, as in other years, there would have been singing, dancing, playing, sessions, a ‘stramash’ or two, and not forgetting the Orkney Folk Festival Fiddle Gathering, which is exactly what it says it is!
Meanwhile, if you’re lucky enough to be able to play or sing, you can do so at home – what the hell, even if you’re not particularly good at those things, do so anyway – who’s to hear? Though, a learner fiddle player can be a strain on the ears – and the nerves!
There’s also lots available on-line, including this https://twitter.com/folkonfoot/status/1262291834862211073 – if I’ve done it right – I’m not on Social Media, and don’t always manage these things very well! I love music – not so keen on t’Internet, but – t’Internet, contains much music.
It’s all there, it’s all still happening. A bit more dispersed than usual, for now, but we’ll all come together again – 27th to 30th May next year.
See you then!