Comment from Committee
As promised the rationale for booking Jools:
We frequently find that people say they do not like 'folk' music because they have a very narrow view of what constitutes 'folk' music.
The Gate to Southwell Folk Festival presents a broad spectrum of 'folk' music. As the 'F' word is such a big put off and open to so many interpretations it might be better to say we present 'roots based' music. Over the years we have included English traditional and contemporary,Celtic, blues, bluegrass, old timey, Eastern European. country and alternate country, gypsey jazz and trad jazz, world music, punk/folk, ska, and western swing to name all the ones I can think of at the moment.
Jools Holland performs a big band style based mostly on jazz and boogie woogie, drawing on material from that era.. He has also recorded an entire album of country music. This to our mind is all roots based music. Indeed the heyday of the big bands of the jazz swing style vied with those of the western swing style.
Our prime aim this year has been to raise profile and attract a new audience to find out what folk music can be instead of the jaundiced view that exists. If we can get professed non folkies on to the site we believe they'll find something they like and discover there is a bit of a 'folky' inside them after all.The introduction of the big tops, the video screens and the bank holiday date were also aimed at audience development. There's also the obvious link with Jools Holland being something of a champion of all roots music. By mixing it in with other more popular modern forms he gives it a much bigger platform. Look at the enormous success of Seasick Steve for instance. I thought Hat Fitz and Cara who provided the support and were last years big hit, were brilliant and I hope we've opened the door for them.
The concert in the main marquee was timed to finish as the Wilsons started in the bar, Mr. Fox performed their pagan fire dance and Maniere des Bohemiens started in Marquee 2 followed by The Bonny Men an 8 piece Irish band from Dublin. So we tried to give people a dose of several new experiences.
The concert was only partly 'stand alone' in that weekend ticket holders could buy tickets at half price which about half of them did. The concert had a separate budget and given the lousy weather we had, which significantly affected walk up sales, fortunately helped defray some of this loss in revenue.
Despite the weather and it was bad, the atmosphere at the festival was amazing, the best yet. Whether that's down to more locals buying in or what I don't know but thus far the feedback has been almost universally positive.
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I think that answers it and well done Southwell Folk Festival for putting such hard work in to entertaining thousands of Festival goers. Sometimes, people forget the damned hard work and sacrifice that such committees do over the year for each festival.