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Faversham Hop Festival

GUEST,George Frampton 10 Sep 12 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,FloraG 10 Sep 12 - 06:17 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Sep 12 - 06:33 PM
Kampervan 11 Sep 12 - 06:47 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Sep 12 - 06:59 AM
Kampervan 11 Sep 12 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,FloraG 11 Sep 12 - 09:58 AM
Essex Girl 11 Sep 12 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,SCL 11 Sep 12 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Sep 12 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,George Frampton 12 Sep 12 - 06:34 AM
Manitas_at_home 12 Sep 12 - 08:15 AM
Mr Happy 12 Sep 12 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Sep 12 - 09:13 AM
Mr Happy 12 Sep 12 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Sep 12 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,George Frampton 12 Sep 12 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,FloraG 13 Sep 12 - 03:42 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Sep 12 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Magrat 13 Sep 12 - 10:04 AM
banjoman 13 Sep 12 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,FloraG 13 Sep 12 - 11:06 AM
Manitas_at_home 13 Sep 12 - 01:07 PM
GUEST 13 Sep 12 - 06:43 PM
Kampervan 14 Sep 12 - 02:02 AM
GUEST,FloraG 14 Sep 12 - 03:56 AM
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Subject: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,George Frampton
Date: 10 Sep 12 - 04:05 AM

So, where were all the folkies?

I fielded a number of grumbles in the way the Morris dancing was organised this year. Knowing many of the teams who have been involved over the last 20 years and thwe festival's history, and how the organisation has changed in 2012 and its organiser's aspirations, I'd be interested to hear anyone elses reaction and impressions.

For myself, I mainly went to see folk-jazz band Follia from Belgium, hoped to see Sur les Docks, and ditto The Fabulous Fezheads, achieving two out of the three. As usual, the town was packed, with loud music blaring out from the three main stages - not to mention that at some of the pubs in town. It was impossible to walk up Preston Street in the afternoon.

In all, somebody must be doing something right.

Discuss!


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 10 Sep 12 - 06:17 AM

I thought Faversham was a bit more like a giant boot fair this year.There was plenty tat to buy - but not much going on in the streets.

A number of the morris sides who have been attending since it began were not invited to camp. This reduced the number at the Friday and saturday evening session.

I could not run the day time sessions in the Bull this year because of bookings elsewhere but when we popped our heads in on the Sunday nobody else had taken over the job.

It was busy this year - but not as many as in previous years. I wonder how busy it will be next year, as people tend to go if they have had a good experience the previous year.

I would not be surprised if an enterprising morris side started an alternative meet at another venue.

I admire the committee for managing to run the event without Council support but I think the Council are being short sighted in this.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Sep 12 - 06:33 PM

One used to be able to camp (for a modest price) if sort of recognised as being somehow associated. I've done that before (but I don't go now so things may have changed).

If sessions are to be "run" then the runner should be booked. If they are to happen then they need to be at least advertised so people know where and when they are - unless they are so well known that people know they are there. Many no doubt feel it looks conceited to "take over the job" if they have not been booked to run something and so don't.

My understanding (from information received) is that there was in fact no session in the Crown and Wossname on the Saturday night at all.

My suspicion is that there was a conscious effort to reduce "folkiness" and that it will reap its reward in that folkies will not go. I know a number who don't, and a number more who have said they won't in future - and the conversion to American music with amplification, lager, and urban yoof will be complete. There will still be a festival - but it will be different.

Sweeps also has the thin end of the same wedge in that the pubs are full of Americana and amplification but it has the benefit of loads of morris sides and Doug Hudson who is indefatigable in seeking out acts to perform - but 10 years ago there was acoustic music in every pub and some you could just go into and play (and the Eagle sessions were wonderful). Now the folkies are rammed into the Good Intent, a few in the Man of Kent, and instrumentalists wherever PJ's session or the other tunes session are. I wonder how long that will last.

Deal is very low on song sessions this year as well. It's a worrying trend.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Kampervan
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 06:47 AM

Having been to most of the festivals held so far, I think that it's fair to say that this one less 'folk' content than any other.

There has been a steady increase in the number of bands playing, especially in the pubs and I think that, whether deliberately or not, it has turned into a general beer and music fest.

If the organisers can't or won't set up and advertise pub sessions for singers or musicians then the chances of them occurring spontaneously are remote.

I sat in the Crown and Anchor on Saturday night from 9.30pm to 11.30pm and a number of likely looking people stuck their heads round the door, found nothing happening and moved on. There were a few songs sung late on but there wasn't the critical mass of performers/audience to keep it going.

I didn't bother going on Sunday.

I know that this was never intended to be a primarily folk-based event, but I believe that there are enough interested people around to get some good sessions going if only they could be brought together. It's a shame really.

Maybe next year?


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 06:59 AM

Dangit K - if you'd sat there singing the people might have stayed.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Kampervan
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 09:45 AM

If I'd sat there singing to myself I don't think they would even have looked in at the door!


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 09:58 AM

Kampervan
I'm sorry to hear that nothing happened. Over the years we have had some excellent sessions there. My band had a booking that night - one of our regulars - so I felt I couldn't turn it down.
The committee had not invited a number of the regular morris sides this year including ours,so there were fewer musicians and singers around.
I am hoping that the committee will get back to inviting more sides, but I am not optimistic. The faversham folk club used to do a lot for the festival, but took a back seat this year. The idea of having a do at the very end of August is such a good one I'm hoping that an enterprising morris side will start something. There are lots of towns that have hopping connections.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Essex Girl
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 05:38 PM

I was dancing with one of the few sides that were invited to Faversham this year. There were no musicians sessions in town on the Saturday and we had no knowledge of the session in the Bull. Although the dancing areas were far better than last year, with a lot more space for dancing there were not enough sides invited, especially on the Sunday.Without the morris sides you have very few musicians so we decided against going to the Crown on Friday. There was a ceilidh on Saturday night which was quite well attended and despite the lacklustre band we enjoyed the dancing.
We were asked on several occasions as to the whereabouts of the Morris dancers as there was nothing in the programme stating where the dance stands were.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,SCL
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 06:09 PM

There was a bit of a spontaneous tune session in the Bull on the Saturday afternoon, the landlord was happy to accommodate this. The absence of the Morris sides and the lack of programmed session events meant that there were indeed fewer musicians about. Hope things improve next year.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 04:10 AM

Essex girl
Sorry I missed you on friday night. We had quite a good session- but there were regulars missing.
I think as you were there you are the best person to give feedback on the web site.
I did also wonder at not picking a local band for the saturday night.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,George Frampton
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 06:34 AM

I would have thought that one way to 'make things happen' rather than 'just see how they turn out' is to contact powers that be.

Chris & Tracy Rose are currently in charge of the Morris. Personally, with it being so crowded, I wondered just where anybody might perform - apart from outside the Post Office. The Phoenix is usually pretty accommodating, but isn't quite in the town centre. I heard that the Oojahs from Hastings turned up and were asked 'not to dance' which I find a little extraordinary - I don't know how true that might be. I don't know where or if Boughton performed. And it seemed amazing that Royal Liberty didn't show - not that they are quite the bikers they used to be! The Fezheads have now evolved so that a portable unit of musicians (of which I was one) is no longer practical - and they had been told NOT to perform outside The Sun in West Street, anyway. That wasn't an issue, since the six-strong band set up their PA in the garden and turned the volume up to 11 and did the show there, having been pre-booked by the pub rather than the festival, this didn't appear as such in the programme.

So far as song/music pub sessions are concerned, if Faversham is still to be valued as a venue, then I'd have thought making personal contact with the landlord/manager before the event might be a good idea. Good festivals have a healthy fringe rather than stick to a prescribed formula. Something informal did take place in The Phoenix when I stuck my head round the door. My overall impression is that with so much street noise in the centre, a good venue would need to be sought on the town periphery.

Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 08:15 AM

I was there with HawkSword on Saturday. We had danced, as East Saxon, a few years ago and had had trouble finding anywhere to dance. This year was better, the only problem we had was in the main square when the stage act due after us tried to sound check while we were just about to start. I didn't care if his whole fan base was there (just his Mum I expect) and told him to shut up.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 09:11 AM

Seems to be a national trend that the informal pub seshes are being replaced by amped up bands.

Many places have been that way last couple of years & its getting hard to find anywhere to play.

For this reason, we've been to more DIY gatherings lately as we know with no bands present we're guaranteed to get decent seshes plus a variety of kinds


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 09:13 AM

George
Part of the problem is too many stalls. I'm not sure who is in charge of this. Instead of reducing the number of stalls they reduced the number of morris sides. That might backfire on them in that most morris people will turn up at very little cost and provide street entertainment as long as there is
- a social gathering to meet old friends from other sides
- a bit of a dance
- a bit of a session where the musicians get together
- somewhere to camp
They may find no morris sides are willing to turn up if the basics are not provided, as the above is less likely with fewer sides. Faversham hop festival may well turn into a beer, pop band and boot fair, which is what it felt like on the Sunday. This may be what the good people of faversham prefer.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 09:18 AM

This may be what the good people of faversham[ or insert anytown] prefer.

or just apathy?


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 11:29 AM

Not apathy in this case. When the funding and all council support was withdrawn the festival was taken on by a voluntary committee. Its a job and a half - and a bit more as well. Most of the initial committee found it too much and resigned at the end of the first year. Things like sorting health and safety are out of the experience of most normal people.
It is good that the festival still went ahead.

Me - I don't live in Faversham, so I'm not directly involved. When I knew of the situation last year I volunteered to run the day time sing arounds. I couln't do it this year because of a band booking, otherwise I would have done so.

I do like the faversham festival. It always feels like a nice rounding off of the summer season. It will be a pity if it turns into little more than a giant boot fair and I'm not sure I like the directionits going in- but it has gone ahead because of the very reverse of apathy.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,George Frampton
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 11:42 AM

Too many stalls? Nowhere to meet? No space for the Morris? Sounds like the esplanade during Sidmouth FolkWeek!

It's sad comment that for (some) festivals to happen, it has to be a 'business opportunity' for some organiser or another - either by way of sponsorship or direct merchandising.

However, despite the organisers, received wisdom has it that it's up to pub landlords or their delegates what actually goes on in or around their premises. If you want a song or music session badly enough, then it is to them the approach must be made. If this is worthy enough for 'official' recognition and coordination by the festival, all well and good.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 03:42 AM

George - totally agree with you about sidmouth.
I remember sitting on the wall on the prom doing a few songs and tunes with a few like minded people - not collecting or selling CDs - and quite a few people were kind enough to stop and listen. A nice day.
This year there was not even enough room to find a bit of wall space to eat a pasty. Who allows these stalls selling tat?
Faversham
I also had not realised how upset ( and angry) some morris sides were who for the last 20 years have turned up rain or shine to support the festival. I am not surprised at their reaction when this year they were told they were not wanted! Well done those sides that refused to come knowing that others had been treaded so shabbily.
How Appalachian clogging, French and belgian folk and elecric pop represent hopping I'm not sure?
I've e mailed the committee with some thoughts - I hope everyone who has commented here does the same. All the newspaper reports seems happily complacent.
(Its my week for suggestions - I wrote to my MP this week complining about having to wait 20 minutes for the Inland revenue to answer my call).
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 09:16 AM

I was given to understand that there were problems at Sidmouth in finding legal powers to regulate the tat stalls and the amplified Peruvian buskers with pan pipes and backing tracks etc.   Presumably that does not apply to Faversham.

I would have thought that Morris sides were cheap for Faversham - am I not right that all they get paid is a few beer tokens (literally, not as a synonym for money)?   I, too, see the connection between hopping (down in Kent) and the Morris, but not the connection between hopping and Appalachian, hopping and foreign vernacular music, and hopping and electric pop.


If folk does return to the Faversham hop festival, I think there would be merit in having a range of session hosts: one man's meat is another man's poison. There would also have to be available information about where the sessions were (and what sorts of music each focussed on).


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,Magrat
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 10:04 AM

Sorry you don't like the Appalachian - it's roots are in English clog, Irish and Scottish stepping so probably has as much right to be at a hop festival as Morris - so get over it! Personally I don't like the way the Hop Festival is going either - loud music and lager, but do like the French and Belgian contributions - without them it would have been quite boring.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: banjoman
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 10:44 AM

It seems to me that what is happening at Faversham is the same as at other festivals. I refer to Broadstairs in particular where it seems that its now just a pop festival with a sort of Folkie Fringe. I suspect that the problem lies with the pub landlords who want loud bands in to attract the younger element and sell more beer.
Thank goodness for Swannage which seemed this year to be like the major festivals used to be.
ps - Appalachian is great to watch and should be an integral part of any festival's dance programme


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 11:06 AM

I'm not averse to appalachian - use a few of the tunes myself- its just its relevance to hop picking. As far as I am aware, clogs and clogging tended to happen in the Northern factories. It would be the same if they introduced a bagpipe band. Great -but not relevant.If the festival renamed itself ' faversham festival' then it could be more liberal with the things it chooses.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 01:07 PM

What makes you think 'Hop Festival' implies morris dancing should be countenanced? The old-time hoppers may have sung folk songs but they didn't recognise them as such and I'm sure they would have treated morris dancing with the same disregard as the present majority of the festival goers.

On a related note I wonder if the ladies pushing lucky heather on people (£10 !!!) were invited along for 'local colour' or just taking advantage of the crowds.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 06:43 PM

Relevance has little to do with it.

The hop festival is now just an excuse to have a bit of fun over a weekend and folk is just as relevant as all of the other music that is featured.

There were plenty of people around who would have enjoyed singing/listening to folk if only they had been given, and told about,a venue to focus on.


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: Kampervan
Date: 14 Sep 12 - 02:02 AM

Post above was me. Cookie had disappeared.

K/van


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Subject: RE: Faversham Hop Festival
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 14 Sep 12 - 03:56 AM

Manitas - I can't claim any knowledge of hopping/ morris dancing link, but I'm sure there would have been country dances. There are dances called things like ' Love in a hopyard'. Many
morris sides in kent have a lot of good and experienced singers, so if you limit the sides, you limit the traditional singers.
It was interesting this year that we got more clapping than usual from the customers in the Crown and Anchor. Kampervan, I'm sure you are right. There are those who would have enjoyed more traditional music.
FloraG


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