Sidmouth FolkWeek review: Blackbeard’s Tea Party is a glorious riot

Blackbeard's Tea Party headlined the Bulverton Marquee at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2016

Blackbeard's Tea Party headlined the Bulverton Marquee at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2016 - Credit: Archant

Bulverton Marquee headliner raises the roof

Blackbeard's Tea Party headlined the Bulverton Marquee at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2016

Blackbeard's Tea Party headlined the Bulverton Marquee at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2016 - Credit: Archant

Blackbeard’s Tea Party - the name alone is one that conjures up images of riotous, foot-stomping fun, swinging from the rafters while swigging from a tankard of rum.

And boy did this six-piece band from York deliver.

Taking to the stage as the Bulverton Marquee headliners on Friday (July 29), Blackbeard’s Tea Party was a breath of fresh air, the perfect morris-dancing antidote for those who prefer their folk tunes with just a little more edge.

Musically talented, the band stayed true to the genre’s traditional roots, infusing their songs with a fizzing, spontaneous energy that bounded effortlessly from Irish jig to rock riffs with a raw, earthy edge and a heavy dose of humour.


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It was the humour that really set Blackbeard’s Tea Party apart. Frontman Stuart Giddons established an easy, cocky rapport with his audience, firing out light, tongue-in-cheek banter and revelling in the party that saw band members bounce and play through the throngs of people on the dancefloor.

He told the ‘rags to riches’ story of how the band had so wanted to play at Sidmouth Folk Festival, they came and busked in their early days before later securing a booking.

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Now, despite taking the music world by storm and receiving wide critical acclaim, there was a sense that the band could not be more delighted to be appearing as a headline act on the festival’s opening night.

With a glint their eye and a hearty swagger in their step, they played, sang, stomped and gyrated through a consistently high-octane set that had the crowds bouncing the house down and calling for more.

Eleanor Pipe

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