Monday, August 31, 2009

It's over!!

The Proclaimers are close to finishing their set, and we'll soon be thinking about 2010.

But before we do that, we hope you had a fantastic festival and we'd like your comments and thoughts on the last four days.

Highlights for me were Chris Wood, Lau, Darwin Song Project, the packed out tent for the beginner's session, and the new Sabrina Marquee.

Let us have your thoughts, good or bad, and we'll respond to them and consider them for next year......over to you...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Streaming concerts

We're receiving lots of email/comments on the streaming webcast, so it seemed sensible to start a new 'thread'.

Most of the comments are from people who are watching the webcast in high resolution with no problems at all (I've been testing it out on site with my laptop and a '3' mobile broadband modem and it works fine), but if appears there are a small number out there who are struggling in some areas.

If you're having trouble with stuttering streaming, no vision, or badly out of sync audio then please reconnect and try again - we know the feed is working as we're receiving loads of positive comments via email.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

12 hours before gates open!

Currently sat in my tent after an excellent day on site, everything is just about ready - the caterers are on site, lots of stewards arrived today and we're pretty much ready to go!

The satellite link up is working and wi-fi is live on site (leaflets will be given out as you arrive).

Wherever you are travelling in from we hope you have a safe and delay free journey - gates open at 10am, programmed events kick off around 5:30pm, with main stage at around 8pm.

Hope you all have a fantastic festival!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Set-up #3

It's all very busy today, all the marquees are up with stages in place and the sound guys were setting up as I left at around 4pm.

The set up teams are working hard and ticking off all the jobs in short order.

The screens were being installed into marquee 1, these are 12ft screens and are HUGE.

The forecast rain never really materialised today, it was a little squally in the morning, but the ground is still dry and pretty much perfect for camping. The weekend forecast is pretty good, perhaps a little rain on Sunday but all is looking well.

Artists' reception will be set up tomorrow (which is good as all the riders/beer/wine etc are currently in my dining room - will be nice to have some space back!)

All in all, it's looking fantastic - spirits are very high and we will be ready for the off at 10am on Friday.

I'll be heading back down tonight to drop a few things off - will try and remember my camera this time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Set-up #2

Lots of action on site today, the roadways for camping are being laid out, Boxfresh Organics are setting up the fantastic festival shop and generally there's lots of movement as temporary structures seem to multiply each time you visit the site.

A few showers in the morning haven't had any effect on the ground, and by this evening the sun was out and I took a picture of the new Sabrina Marquee being erected.

Over the past 4 years, this marquee has grown from a small tent that seated around 50 and hosted the open-mic, to a venue that seats 300 and has a full programme of concerts, workshops and this year has two special album release shows, both Rachael McShane and The Wilsons are putting on special shows to launch their CDs. (and don't worry the open mic, still takes place!).

Here's a pic of the new Sabrina Marquee nearing completion in the early evening sun....

Darwin Song Project review

The Darwin Song Project receives its second (and possibly final) full airing with all 8 participants on Saturday night at the festival.

The disc is officially released on Monday 31st August, and will be available at the festival...the reviews are beginning to come through, here's one from Netrhythms

"Song projects featuring an assemblage of individually talented singer-songwriters have a bit of a chequered history, some amounting to nothing more than a thinly-veiled personal showcase for the artists that’s at best tenuously connected to the project’s theme.

The Darwin Project, however, is an honourable exception, for it displays a spirit of genuine artistic collaboration between the contributors, a special alchemy that I’m guessing is attributable to the good sense and vision of its director Neil Pearson in bringing together an ideal mix of participants who between them encompass a wide range of songwriting experience and styles: established masters Chris Wood and Jez Lowe; veterans of similar exercises Karine Polwart and Emily Smith; acclaimed American artists Mark Erelli and Krista Detor; and rising younger stars Rachael McShane and Stu Hanna. It’s even more of an achievement when you consider that most of the eight participants hadn’t even met beforehand, and that extraordinarily, they managed to get all the songs written during one week-long songwriting retreat in early March of this year and ready for performance at a public concert less than a fortnight later – an occasion that provides the source recording for this disc, which has been brilliantly mastered by Stu Hanna himself. The Project has already been the subject of features on BBC Radios 2 and 4, and the songs are due to be further aired at this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

This 72-minute CD succeeds in capturing the magic of the occasion, and features 17 of the 19 songs performed at the concert. The eight artists each appear in both lead and supporting roles (there being no purely solo outings), and the instrumental settings actually feel spontaneously conceived, almost semi-improvised and coming together in performance stage rather than being consciously pre-arranged.
The songwriters’ brief was to create new works that have a “resonance and relevance” to Charles Robert Darwin (naturalist and “father of modern evolutionary theory”), who was born in Shrewsbury two hundred years ago (in February 1809). Darwin’s great-great-grandson, Randal Keynes, addressed the writers at the start of the week, furnishing them with unique insights and eloquent anecdotes which clearly much inspired the resultant songs, which surely do Darwin’s memory proud.

The first few songs portray snapshots from Darwin’s life; intriguingly, he sets sail on the Beagle to the tune of one of his great-nephew Vaughan Williams’s folksong settings! On Rachael’s reflective Heavy In My Hand, Darwin ponders his initial decision to decline the offer of the trip, after which on Chris’s masterly Turtle Soup he relishes the exotic adventures to come and portrays them with a keen sense of wonder before darker overtones and realisations creep in. Jez’s tale of Jemmy Button examines the familiar theme of the return of the native, while reactions to Darwin’s theories come from the confused man-in-the-street (Stu’s The Merchant’s Question) and an indignant American (Krista’s Emma Brawley), finally being summarised in Jez’s fond jolly-jape pastiche outlaw-ballad We’ll Hunt Him Down.
The grandeur of the miracle of life itself is conveyed by Mark’s Dylanesque Mother Of Mysteries (with beautiful harmonies by Karine) and the Boyesen-poem-inspired Mother Of My Soul, while other songs intelligently address the central theme and conundrum, the conflict between faith and science, which so preoccupied Emma, Darwin’s cousin (later to become his wife). Emma’s personal feelings and worries regarding the gulf between these two belief-systems, and their effect on Charles, are explored on the powerful trio-song Will You Be Waiting?, while Save A Place (sung by Emily) is a tender personal entreaty by Emma for Charles to remember her while at work. The sheer cruelty of natural selection is brought home to Charles by the death of his daughter Annie at age 10, conveyed extremely poignantly in the pair of songs at the core of the set – Emma’s Lullaby (sung by Krista) and the especially moving We’re All Leaving (sung by Karine) – having been also eerily alluded to in Mark’s earlier Kingdom Come. Then, two songs towards the end of the set muse on the implications of Darwin’s theory: Krista’s soulful-gospel Clock Of The World and the concluding rousing acappella of Chris’s sacred-harp-like hymn You May Stand Mute, an exhortation to us all to lay aside our opposing factions and unite in love and humanity.

Each of the songs is strong enough to stand alone outside the context of the project, although the performances on this disc will always be special. The digipack presentation is exemplary too, with booklet containing full lyrics and background notes. The project can be judged both a resounding artistic success – a massive credit to all concerned – and a fitting celebration of one of Shrewsbury’s most famous sons."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Set-up #1

The main two concert marquees are up and from tomorrow we'll start putting the stages in - we're at least a day ahead of where we were last year and will hit the ground running tomorrow when the majority of the set-up team arrive on site.

Here's a couple of pictures from the site today, the third concert marquee will be up tomorrow - this is a new marquee and will be a little different inside....we'll take a pic as soon as it's ready!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Site Set-Up / Weather

Just a quick update to let you know that we've started the set up of the site today - the main concert marquees will all be on site today, and should all be safely up by tomorrow.

The site set-up team arrive in earnest on Monday, and from then on in I should have some pictures to post.

Have just been checking in on the weather, the set up week looks warm and dry and the ground looks like being in perfect condition for the does look as though it's going to cool off a little by the weekend though, so an evening jumper might be required!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shirt #4

Well, not so much shirts as ladies vests.

Last year we tried ladies vest for the first time and they sold out by Saturday lunchtime! - this year we've opted for a couple of styles.

Our cedar green top is described as a 'strap vest' in the catalogue and thinner straps.

The baby pink top has thicker straps....the pictures decribe it better!

Both are available in S, M & L and sizes are pretty generous.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Programme

The finished printed programme arrived last week and we've shipped copies out to all those who pre-ordered copies when they bought tickets.

Shrewsbury Tourist Information centre (has now moved to Rowleys House from the Music Hall) have copies available NOW!


Regular festival attendees will know that we really push the boat out with the bars, and this year is even better; here's the full list of beers and ciders & perrys that will be available over the's probably not even worth considering working your way through them, although doubtless many will try!

Ma Pardoes
Dark swan
Broughs Pale ale

Enville Ales
Enville Ale
Ginger Beer
Enville White
Old Porter
Nailmaker Mild
Simply Simpkiss

Timothy taylors

Woods Brewery
Craven Ale
Shropshire Lad
Woods Wonderful

Hanby Ales
Cherry Bomb
All Seasons
Scorpio Porter

Wye Valley Brewery
Best Bitter
Butty Bach
Dorothy Goodbodys

Salopian Brewery
Darwins Original
Shropshire Gold
Hop Twister
Lemon dream

Hobsons Brewery
Twisted spire
Town crier
Hobsons mild
Best bitter

3 Tunns brewery
1642 Bitter
Clerics Cure

Hook Norton
Hooky bitter
Old Hooky
Hooky dark

Willoughby Brewing Co.
Tried and trusted
Trusted Gold

Greens gluten free beers
Bottled selections only


Burrow Hill Cider co.
Broadoak Cider co
Riches Cider
Brook Farm
Newtons Court Cider
Gwatkin Cider
The Welsh Cider Co
Westons Cider
West Croft Cider Co.
Barbourne Cider and Perry co.

...and if all that isn't enough, there will also available on draught
John Smiths Smooth
Stowford Press Cider
Kronenbourg 1664
Ciderhouse Special Cider


Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Weather

We all know that constantly checking the weather forecast is a stupid game to play, but we all do it here goes.

For the past few years, Metcheck have been pretty good with forecasts from two weeks's what they're saying for the festival weekend (and importantly for us, the set up week which starts a week today is looking great too)

Friday, August 14, 2009

T-Shirt #3 after being 'advised' in July by the entire female contingent of the festival committee that we needed some slightly larger shirts, we now have an extra shirt for the festival.

It's a fitted ladies v-neck that we only ordered in sizes 16 & 18.

The Heather Rose ladies shirt (pictures a few blogs below) is in S, M & L, which are about sizes 10, 12 & 14.
So this year we have a range of fitted ladies tees across the full size range...and I shall escape the next meeting unscathed!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Shrewsbury Folk Festival Travel Bug

Thought you might like to read an excerpt from a press release that's been sent out today.....

Oswestry Family Win Shrewsbury Folk Festival Tickets Thanks to Transatlantic Treasure Hunt

An Oswestry family will be paying their first visit to Shropshire's biggest music festival this year after winning a geocaching challenge set in America.

Ken and Pat Tomkins won weekend tickets to the sell-out Shrewsbury Folk Festival after successfully retrieving a travel bug from Washington DC as part of the global craze where people search for hidden caches using GPS systems.

The travel bug - which is a item that can be moved from cache to cache - was originally left in Memphis, Tennessee by festival director and keen geocacher Neil Pearson when he attended the North American Folk Alliance Conference in February 2008.

It was then discovered and moved to a hiding place in downtown Washington. Mr and Mrs Tomkins, who have geocached across the UK as well as in Egypt, Goa and Peru, eventually caught up with the travel bug when they visited their daughter in April this year and brought it back to the UK.

They will complete the travel bug's journey of more than 4,200 miles when they go to the festival at the West Mid Showground from August 28 to 31 with their 16-year-old grandson James.

For more geocaching information head to

Wednesday, August 12, 2009



That's it folks. As of around 20 minutes ago we sold our last pair of tickets.

Thanks to all of you who are heading to Shrewsbury in a couple of weeks, we hope you have a great time!

T-Shirt #2

This is the first of the fitted ladies shirt, it's in a dusty rose colour (officially 'Heather Rose').

We have these in S, M & L

All the shirts were taken to our July committee meeting for everyone to look at - people loved the shirts. The other comments from that meeting are echoed in the response to the first shirt blog from a couple of days we went away and ordered a second ladies shirt that arrived here earlier today. Will post pics of the alternative ladies shirt this week.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Workshop Programme

We've now finalised our workshop programme for the festival, workshops start at 10am on Saturday and they run right through to Monday afternoon.

So if you're interest in learning Orkney tunes with The Chair, joining in vocal workshops with the Spooky Men, or even walking away from a FREE recording session with a fully mixed CD then the details are all here

Monday, August 10, 2009

T Shirt Design #1

We have a good number of shirts this year, we'll show you them all here on the blog over the next 10 days or's shirt #1

Mens Charcoal (sizes Small - XXXL)
Washed black colour, front image is centred on chest (17cm width)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

New Darwin Song Project website

The official release of the Darwin Song Project CD (Amazon, Play, iTunes etc) is 31st August, and in anticipation of the release the project website has been redesigned.

The new site is a permanent record of the whole project, and photo galleries, videos and full background information.

The eight artists gather together again at the festival on Saturday night for a complete performance of all the songs from the songhouse.

Details on picking up the Darwin CD ahead of the festival and general release date are available on the website.