Beverley, the town in Yorkshire where I was born, holds a folk music festival every year. As well as the official festival events there are impromptu sessions in the ancient pubs, so I flatswapped with an old friend and headed down there for the weekend.
We started with coffee at The Sun Inn, which has stood opposite the Beverley Minster since 1530. Even at lunchtime the place was stuffed with musicians, dogs, children and old, old folk. With beards and walking sticks.
This dude with the awesome guitar case was my favourite. He reminded me of David Crosby.
We popped out for a stroll through town to check out what was going on at Nellie's.
And got a Burgess's ice cream. A Beverley institution.
Then we headed back to The Sun Inn. It was late afternoon and the place was absolutely jumping. There was somone on spoons (which he alternated with a trombone), a double bass, flutes, bagpipes (officially the world's worst instrument but they actually sounded okay), fiddles, drums, a squeezebox, an accordion, a banjo, penny whistles, recorders, mandolins, bells and a baby playing maracas. We started on the specially brewed Festival Ale.
In the evening we went out for dinner with my folks and then strolled back to the Sun Inn. Passing the Oddfellows Arms we saw the David Crosby dude with the guitar case in the window so shot in. There was a singing circle going on; everyone gets one song each as you go around. We plonked ourselves in the circle like the drunk tourists we were, and listened to everyone sing. (They kept asking us to sing but we were too tired and drunk! Next year, we're singing.)
These dudes had blue Artist wristbands, and they were soooo good. There were three sisters, who all sang beautifully. Their father was the guy above, with the red bandana. He introduced one of his songs as 'a border ballad with a breton twist.' Moment.
That's two of his daughters singing together above, the ones with the dark hair. We sat and listened to them sing until after the pub door was locked and many pints of Funfair ale drunk. The whole weekend was a folky fairytale dream and I can't wait until next year! I'll be going armed with bells and songs.