Like most music journalists this weekend (I'm stretching that job title I know, but bare with me) I trundled down to the edge of nowhere, bags packed, worried about the weather, to spend hours walking around trying to find new and exciting music, to try and discover that something special. Along with thousands of other music fans I found myself aboard a train headed for a somewhat mythical place, a place steeped in heritage, a place full of fun and interesting characters. That's right dear reader, I found myself in Leigh-on-sea, Essex for the 17th Annual Leigh Folk Festival.
Having never been to a Folk Festival before I was slightly unsure of what to expect, but was immediately put at ease by the first character I stumbled upon...
Nice to see Father Christmas continuing his cross-dressing habit during the downtime between January and December. Other amazing sights included a sinister clown giving out balloons, lots of belly dancers and a host of people in traditional dress, including this lot, they're like the Traditional Irish S Club Juniors...
Spread across the day were a host of bands and dance troupes, including Annie's Fantasies (!), Deferred Success, The Famous Potatoes ("the sultans of soil", apparently), Westcliff Piping Society and the recently reunited Woebegone Brothers. Due to the amount of pubs and the quality of the fish and chips, I only managed to catch one act, the rather lovely The Rural Tradition, a photo of whom is shown below:
If old Victorian photos had a soundtrack then The Rural Tradition would provide it, somehow finding that mid-point between soothing and sinister. Click here to have a listen.
Next year, when everyone else is forking out over £100 for Glastonbury or V, perhaps think about taking a trip down to Leigh-on-sea to hang out with the Folk massive, drink some cider, do some square dancing and hang out with people like Hilda*
*That may not be her actual name.