REVIEW: Seth Lakeman gets the house hopping at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017

PUBLISHED: 15:26 11 August 2017

Seth Lakeman. Picture: Paul Strange.

Seth Lakeman. Picture: Paul Strange.


Seth Lakeman and The Drystones at the Bulverton Marquee

Seth Lakeman. Picture: Paul Strange. Seth Lakeman. Picture: Paul Strange.

One of FolkWeek 2017’s hottest tickets was Thursday night’s Bulverton Big Gig, featuring folk legend Seth Lakeman, supported by up-and-coming duo The Drystones.

Southampton University music students Alex Garden and Tom Collier formed The Drystones in 2011. Since then they’ve taken the folk world by storm with their high-energy interpretations of traditional tunes.

Both multi-instumentalists, Alex’s main instruments are violin and percussion, with Tom playing guitar and tin whistle. By the time they were done, finishing to rapturous applause with a virtuoso performance of three Irish tunes on the tin whistle, the audience were already dancing.

Seth Lakeman. Picture: Paul Strange. Seth Lakeman. Picture: Paul Strange.

And when Seth Lakeman took the stage, he did not disappoint them. The local boy turned folk superstar delighted the packed marquee with a mix of new songs, such as The Willow Tree, and old favourites including The White Hare and the tragic Solomon Browne, written to commemorate the Penlee lifeboat disaster.

Ably supported by his backing band, Lakeman demonstrated his own versatility by switching effortlessly between violin, guitar and mandolin to deliver a punchy set that had the house hopping.

Among the highlights was the lyrical Silver Threads, a poignant reflection on love and aging, accompanied by plucked and strummed violin. Lakeman’s commanding vocal and muscular fiddle playing dominated much of the set, particularly on The Willow Tree, where his voice and musicianship seemed to soar above the dense, complex harmonies to thrilling effect. Hold Your Fire, with Lakeman now on guitar, was another triumph, as the audience swayed to the hypnotic rhythm, shouting along with the chorus.

However, the most memorable moment was when the amplification was switched off and the band departed, leaving Lakeman and his violin alone to deliver an exquisite, acoustic version of Portrait of My Wife. As the room joined the chorus ‘Raise your glass to the one you love’, waving a sea of glasses in time to the music, the atmosphere became as intimate as an impromptu home session, connecting both performer and audience in a rare moment of folk magic.

The Drystones. Picture: Paul Strange. The Drystones. Picture: Paul Strange.

It was a memorable evening, and a reminder of why we’re so privileged to have FolkWeek on our doorstep.

Delia Pemberton

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other Entertainment Stories

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The line-up for this year’s Summer Rep Season at Sidmouth’s Manor Pavilion Theatre has been revealed.

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

The showground at Westpoint, Exeter, is a hive of activity as final preparations are made in time for the 123rd Devon County Show on May 17, 18 and 19.

Read more
Thursday, March 22, 2018

The annual Easter Egg hunt at Exeter’s Crealy Adventure Park and Resort is a firm family favourite, but this year, the fun is set to be bigger and better than ever before.

Read more
Friday, February 16, 2018

Music stars Chase and Status, Jess Glynne and Razorlight are set to headline Oceanfest18 at Croyde from June 15-17.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

This year’s Devon County Show – at Exeter’s Westpoint from Thursday, May 17 to Saturday May 19 – is to feature two of the most prestigious British cattle breeding awards.

Read more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ottery Community Theatre will be performing its pantomime for Wednesday, January 24 to Saturday, January 27.

Read more
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

There’s a pantomime with a twist coming up at Exeter’s Barnfield Theatre.

Read more
Thursday, November 23, 2017

A concert featuring an orchestra made up of 70 members from across the South West will be held in aid of Sidmouth Hospiscare.

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

Here’s our latest gallery of photos from the 1997 barrels - more to follow.

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

Razor sharp and stylish production of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, is a big success at Exeter’s Barnfield Theatre.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 11°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read Entertainment

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications