Soaking up the Sidmouth Folk Festival atmosphere, enjoying the music and dance

Windsor Morris at the Blackmore Gardens. Picture: Paul Strange

Windsor Morris at the Blackmore Gardens. Picture: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant

Part of the joy of the Sidmouth Folk Festival is simply wandering around the town, soaking up the atmosphere, dropping into the myriad of venues, catching street performances and occasionally making new discoveries along the way.

Musicians warming up at the Bedford. Picture: Paul Strange

Musicians warming up at the Bedford. Picture: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant

The Blackmore Gardens is a good place to start, and this year was no exception, with a freewheeling, colourful carnival atmosphere to savour on the Saturday afternoon.

Things went into full swing as a number of dance teams arrived in the Gardens, ready for the Dance Spectacular. With teams going full pelt showing their finest moves, it was a dazzling display of dance dexterity.

After all that frantic commotion, it was good to have a breather down at the Bedford, catching a music and song session. The Pynes Bar was very packed, but it was easier to move in the other bar, where musicians were gently warming up, providing a calming backdrop.

Back out on the streets, Windslide were in action near the Market Square. A gutsy electric guitar and didgeridoo duo, their brand of blues was strongly addictive, attracting an interested crowd.

Windslide performing near the Market Square. Picture: Paul Strange

Windslide performing near the Market Square. Picture: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant


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Pressing on, The Fountaineers were on fine form in the busy Anchor gardens. Offering a jolly mix of reels and jigs, they performed with aplomb, keeping the afternoon crowd happy.

Then came a great discovery. Kitty Macfarlane is an up-and-coming singer songwriter from Somerset. Headlining at the Folkadelica session in the Cellar Bar at Kennaway House, she offered a range of songs, many showing her acute awareness of environmental issues. Her pure voice - with shades of Joni Mitchell - was perfectly complemented by her acoustic guitar and a mix of soundscapes. Definitely an artist to watch.

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And there was another discovery on the seafront. Tucked up on the railings, Exeter musician Jamie Hocking blended classical and Spanish acoustic guitar styles with percussive effects and loops to create a bewitching brew.

Finally on to Port Royal, where the colourful dance teams - fresh from the Dance Spectacular - were back in action. It all made for a splendid Saturday afternoon, perfectly summing up what the Sidmouth Folk Festival is all about.

The Fountaineers at the Anchor. Picture: Paul Strange

The Fountaineers at the Anchor. Picture: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant

PAUL STRANGE

Kitty Macfarlane at the Cellar Bar, Kennaway House. Picture: Paul Strange

Kitty Macfarlane at the Cellar Bar, Kennaway House. Picture: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant

Kitty Macfarlane at the Cellar Bar, Kennaway House. Picture: Paul Strange

Kitty Macfarlane at the Cellar Bar, Kennaway House. Picture: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant

Jamie Hocking performing on the seafront. Picture: Paul Strange

Jamie Hocking performing on the seafront. Picture: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant

Earlsdon Morris Men at Port Royal. Picture: Paul Strange

Earlsdon Morris Men at Port Royal. Picture: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant

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