Coppull Free Folk Festival 10-12 June 2011
The evening started off brilliantly with Stringshack opening the Festival. They attracted a large crowd and gave a very musical and entertaining set. In fact they get better and better, and we could have listened to them all night.
They were followed by Marie Little who as usual gave a very varied set of songs and poetry and jokes. Marie battled on as the weather got colder and her fingers were nearly frozen. She gave 110% and was enjoyed immensely by all. Mental note, we need to hire a few heaters to warm the marquee next time, even though it is June!!!
As usual, there was a great sing around in the pub to end the night.
We were entertained by the Band of Crooks from the Crook folk club, who attracted a large crowd on Saturday afternoon. This was their first outing as a group and they did themselves proud producing a good sound and a varied programme. Well done and thank you Crooks!
Saturday night was the turn of the younger generation, Catallana who entertained us with a wonderful harmony sound and varied song repertoire which just gets better each time they go on stage. They were ably assisted by Ken and were joined by Jon Brindley towards the end of their set.
Jon Brindley followed the girls with an awe inspiring, energetic performance. His guitar playing must equal the best in the country. He also played traditional music on his fiddle and sang many of his own compositions. He was ably assisted by the legendary Tony Gibbons of Garva fame, on the bouzouki, and at one stage he invited Tony back on stage for a memorable duet. Jon said that he was honoured to be invited back to his old folk club, and we were delighted that one of the most gifted entertainers in the music industry should grace us with his presence.
This was a truly memorable day which ended with all of us in good spirits after such a wonderful feast of music.
The session in the pub continued well into the morning!
Sunday afternoon was an Open Mike session , ran by Seth, which was well supported despite the onslaught of the heavy rain.
However the rain stopped and the final concert got underway with Phil, Ken and Mervyn singing a few songs each. They are all talented performers in their own right and were well appreciated by the audience.
One Hand Clapping then took over the stage with a lively, non stop set, which had feet tapping, hands clapping, dancing in the aisles and on the tables. Gerry’s guitar and mouth organ playing were superb. Tim put so much energy into his songs and the driving bass complemented the fast moving pacy music. They were exhausted at the end of the long set and we were all on a high because it not only was a brilliant set but a brilliant ending to a very successful Free Music Festival.
Thanks must go to all the team behind the scenes. Firstly to Seth Holden who was there day and night to manage the sound. Not only was it a demanding job but a very responsible one because the whole weekend’s music depends on it. Secondly to Pauline, the Alison Arm’s licensee, and Steve, her husband, who provided the venue, one of the tents, and food and drink all weekend. They did a sterling job. Thanks to Wigan Council for providing the camping area. Thanks to Albert for the posters and publicity, and Maria (helped remotely by Simon from Canada ) for the web site work, and Mervyn and Roger for the raffle prize donations. A special thanks to Ken Scally, who did so much on the musical side to make the weekend a success, both in tireless personal performance, and in assembling the Crook ensemble and coaching and accompanying Catalanna. Lastly thanks to the Committee – who all worked so hard to make it all happen, especially Kevin Brady, who has donated so much of his time and expertise over the years. The teamwork and camaraderie and enthusiasm has been wonderful – all with the aim of promoting live folk music and keeping it alive. They deserved to have a successful weekend, and the smiles on Sunday night showed that it was exactly that.