Enlightened, delighted and overcome with feelings of elation is the only way to describe this three-day spectacle. In its fourth year running, Purbeck Folk Festival has grown from strength to strength exhibiting truly gifted and extraordinary musicians. PFF encompasses the broadest definition of ‘folk’ offering maximum talent and choice.
Organisers, Catherine, Paul, Phil and Mick warmly welcome festival goers to the beautifully rural surroundings of Purbeck, Dorset. The festival’s location is wonderfully picturesque and in that respect, unique. The friendly, relaxed environment is undeniable and makes the festival appeal to the young, the old, families, friends and dogs alike. Children’s activities run throughout the festival, making it extremely suitable for families. Camping facilities are available for the whole weekend and are included within the ticket price.
Over three days, the hills, nooks and crannies of Purbeck were blessed with phenomenal music. The extensive array of talent was featured across three stages; the high barn, low barn and an outdoor stage, the fire stage. Choosing what to watch was therefore extremely challenging!
The opening evening exceeded all expectations both with the musical talent and lyrics filling the Dorset countryside. Gypsy jazz, guitar duo Limehouse gave a beautiful performance followed by Glen Ross, Bournemouth-based singer, songwriter who can only be described as a pure delight to watch. Another Bournemouth-based musician Mischa, accompanied by his Merry Men, gave a mind-blowing show filled with energy, enthusiasm and a range of instruments. I highly recommend Shooglenifty, a six-man band from Scotland producing funky, hypnotic tunes entangled with Scottish tradition, unbelievably brilliant and ingeniously infectious.
Saturday witnessed the free-flowing, raw talent continue with; captivating singer Ant Lewis, The Widowmaker cast everyone under his spell with his charmingly atmospheric songs, Kat Hurdley and Alex Percy gave an energetic performance showcasing traditional English music. Chris Woodford was simply astonishing with his exceptional playing on a 12 string guitar, a definite crowd pleaser, who is not to be underestimated. Catherine Burke Band was instantly likable with catchy tunes sprinkled with humour and energy. Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson had great energy together; a real dynamic duo! Finally, the headline act, KT Tunstall gave a barn shaking, knee and foot stomping, electric performance in the long barn. She is exceptionally talented and took PFF by storm!
The final day continued to burst with laudable performances in the Sunday sunshine. Ant Henson, gave a heartfelt and upbeat showcase of his catchy pop-folk songs. You were effortlessly lured into his unique sound. Brighton-based solo artist, Chris Simmons entertained the crowd with his flawless set. The Paper Shades were enjoyable with their catchy melodies and rhythmic songs. Andy Stock, winner of Bournemouth Unplugged Awards 2012, can be praised for his sincere and honest song writing. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the musicians featured.
As well as musical mayhem, festival goers could enjoy; the linguistic flair and bravery of the poetry slam, witness the fuzzy ‘Beard Competition’ (perhaps join in, all genders welcome), partake in various workshops (yoga/comedy/Morris dancing), enjoy open mic sessions day and night, woodwork demonstrations and arts and crafts. On offer were locally sourced and produced delicacies, with a wide selection of ales and ciders to tantalise taste buds! Post festival – three ales are awarded for their popularity over the weekend, with the winners being announced on the official website.
Purbeck Folk Festival is definitely one to be permanently written in your diary and at an affordable price, it is worth every shilling. Thank folk for that! PFF is a fantastic way to support grassroot musicians and the Purbeck community, while also enjoying the sheer brilliancy of folk music.