After the great experiences of the weekend before and a hectic week catching up at our regular places of work, it was good for us to have a new focus for the weekend. We were off to play the Leigh Folk Festival, masterminded in large part by Tony Prior from the Hoy-at-Anchor Folk Club who had asked us to come along after we had performed briefly at the folk club earlier in the year.
The festival, which is free, splits into two sites in pleasant parkland in the middle of Leigh-on-Sea with great views over the Thames estuary. We were on at the club tent, which sat in a natural amphitheatre, in the lower part of the park. Despite variable weather, there was a good crowd passing through, sitting attentively and listening to the wide range of acts who were each doing 20 minutes of so. Tony and a colleague were on the sound desk and had done a magnificent job engineering a stage that functioned - given that there wasn’t a square inch of even ground in that entire part of the park.
Despite being tired from our recent exertions, we played well and more than a few of the audience later congratulated us on our set and, yet again, we met someone with family links to the Spanish Civil War – this time through an audience member whose father had fought with the Canadian Brigade, the ‘Mac-Paps’ as they were known.
We also caught up again with Joe Whittaker from Ash Old Church and Dartford Folk Club who continues to be very supportive and helpful to us in all sorts of ways. He was there with his singing colleagues in the wonderfully named band ‘Swinging the Lead’ and they did some well known shanties which got the crowd singing and clapping along. It was nice to get the chance to see Joe and his friends perform.
We also saw our friends The Raven and heard about their new CD coming out – all the best to them with that, and we managed to catch Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts’ set in the late afternoon. It was great to see them again – they certainly warmed up what was now a very old afternoon. However, we were both very tired by late afternoon and turned for home soon after. It was time for me to have a beer, eat some of that French cheese and sausage at home and have some family time with my daughter - being scared witless watching The Woman in Black on video.