Virtually FolkEast

August 2020 : Preview : Virtually FolkEast

In April's pandemic maelstrom FolkEast 2020 was postponed for a year. Just a few (bleak) months later the energy and commitment of the event’s directors, John and Becky Marshall-Potter, has salvaged something special from the wreckage of this year's programme.

Three hundred people have already donated £33,000 to a Crowdfunder to secure FolkEast's future. The resurrected plans seem like both a thank you for this support and a statement of defiance. As Becky Marshall-Potter says,

"People have been stuck behind closed doors for so long and musicians unable to play for months. We wanted to bring artists and audience back together and give everyone a boost – a festival fix."

Virtually FolkEast will take place on a date when the original, postponed festival was due to be held - Saturday 22nd August.

It will be, as the title suggests, a live streamed event, running 3-9pm, but with a crucial twist - the stream will be of an open air, afternoon and evening concert from a meadow near FolkEast's normal HQ, in front of a two-hundred strong audience.

Everything has been done to make this latter aspect safe - a ticket will pay for a socially distanced picnic pitch in front of the stage, able to accommodate up to six people.

The line-up is superb.

FolkEast's patrons The Young'uns head the bill, supported by Sam Kelly, John Spiers, The Hut People, local Suffolk duo Honey & The Bear, and the heavenly-voiced Katherine Priddy (see below).

Musicians contributing their stardust from afar, in the form of a song, will include Peter Knight (from his home in France), Mary Ann Kennedy from Scotland and one of our favourite contemporary folksingers, Ireland's Daoirí Farrell.

If that is not enough creative compost to fill your spade, horticultural heft will be added as John Spiers hosts his own version of Gardners' Question Time.

The on-stage performances will be repeated on Sunday, but not streamed, to allow more people to experience a live folk event.

On both days audience members can bring chairs along with their picnics. The six-person pitches, price £120, can be bought online here. Online viewers over the weekend will also be able to donate to the "Secure FolkEast in 2021 and beyond" campaign.

The line up for FolkEast 2021 has already been confirmed - and features most of 2020's postponed bill - including The Young'uns, Afro Celt Sound System, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, the trio Drever, McCusker, Woomble, Gigspanner Big Band, The Shee, The Trails of Cato and Elephant Sessions.