Mudcat Café message #3389601 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #146386   Message #3389601
Posted By: Will Fly
13-Aug-12 - 10:42 AM
Thread Name: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
Well I'm just back from Sidmouth and Exeter after taking a half-share in a B&B with Melodeonboy (thanks Kev - very nice). I went out of curiosity and didn't go to any of the concerts. I had a listen in at some of the sessions and had a little play or three at the Newt under the eagle eye of Leadfingers, so my impressions are, I'm sure, are purely personal, biased and probably not typical.

I walked up to the Radway after dinner one evening - I'd read quite a bit about it - and I frankly thought although some of the playing had some drive to it, a lot sounded uninspired. No-one at that occasion looked as they were moved by the music or even enjoying it. Why, I even looked at the Olympics on the TV - and I hate sport. Ironically, on the way back to the seafront, I heard the strains of "I Heard It On The Grapevine" coming from the Dukes bar. This turned out to be 'Mama Stone's House Band' playing that evening - and a great band it was. The crowd was jumping. Bit of a contrast there... Then I walked past the Black Horse, where a 4-piece rockabilly-style outfit were giving it some welly - full of life, full of fun, full of energy. Not 'folk', I'm afraid.

During the week I kibbitzed on sessions in the Bedford and the Anchor - again very mixed. I was looking for energy, musicianship, fun - and I realise that sessions cater for mixed abilities - but I just didn't have the urge to get in among it all. I'm not making myself out to be any great shakes, by the way, I just expected to see a bit of spirit and I didn't happen to see much of it. Perhaps I went at the wrong times.

However, I did see and hear some great music on the seafront during the day. I was walking back from the Ham about 11 one morning and there was a woman sitting on the low wall and playing the violin. She was superb - beautiful intonation, lovely tone, great playing. I went over and complimented her and asked if she was playing in any of the sessions. She shook her head and said she was down to play for some dancers. I saw her again the same evening, playing across the road from the Bedford, with a guitarist - just as great.

I saw a couple of great Morris teams - one being a blacked-up border team on the seafront with a cracking band behind them - and some good physical rapper dancing near the Ham.

The sun came out on Wednesday, and Thursday was a scorcher (went to Exeter on Friday). The seafront was awash with music and people, traders were trading, and everything looked great. Nice place. I might even go again, but not in folk week. As for alcohol, Doombar at 3.55 a pint is taking the piss, great beer though it is. The non-musical highlight of the week for me was a pan-fried John Dory in Neil's Restaurant. Cheers, Neil!