Aside from the weather, which was difficult because we had forgotten our pram and had to borrow one without a hood or a rain hood (i know...), we had a nice time. All the concerts were lovely, loved the Methodist Hall despite having problems with acoustic venues normally because of the throat trouble. Gorgeous acoustics, no problem at all and it was lovely hearing Jim Causley sing rather than watch him whoop me during the Silent Disco with his funky "it's raining men" moves...
The only thing that got me this year was the same thing that got me last year: the uncurable unfriendliness and intransigence of the other old-timey session in the Bedford. that's not the main one in the bar area side room, but the one in the smaller restaurant room.
Last year we went with Jock and Vera from the New Ropes and joined in, only to be told that we were playing things wrong and to have fingers wagged at my boyfriend for trying to play a break during one of the tunes.
This year we took our new friends from Genticorum and both of our babies, and tried to listen with a bottle of wine. The room was mostly empty apart from three or four musicians, there were empty tables out and we initially had a nice time having a quiet chat and enjoying the ambience.
As the afternoon went on a few other people turned up with babies, clearly thinking that this was a baby friendly room, and soon after the session was stopped by one of the players complaining that the non-players were talking. Specifically he said that "the children were behaving, but..." Behaving?
Immediately over half the room was on the back foot and uncomfortable. Within half an hour the room was cleared of everyone but the players, who continued to tut at the slightest whisper from anyone.
So what is the problem?
Is this public room in a bar their own private concert?
Was this a ticketed event that should demand quiet respect?
Who has the right to enjoy the space more? There was nowhere else to go, we ended up in our room upstairs, embarrassed and chastised. Our French Canadian friends were confused as to why the atmosphere had turned in such a way. The room downstairs was again more than half-empty and a load of families were wandering the streets, unable to hear any music.
Grr. what does anyone think about this? i personally thought that it was a nice example of how intolerant and precious English folkies can be, regardless of where the music originates that they play. Exclusive. Keep out. Hmm.