St Neots Folk Festival, Priory Centre, St Neots, Friday 24th September 2021

We had great fun yesterday evening performing at the St Neots Folk Festival and the great pleasure of seeing some old friends and making new ones as well. 

The event was held in the Priory Centre in St Neots, the first of a three day festival to be held across the town. 

The evening was kicked off by the immensely talented New Roots finalist, Callum MacKellar, who sang a range of songs from the West Country and the West Midlands unaccompanied.  I think his is a name we’ll hear a lot about in the folk world in the coming decades.

We then took the stage for our thirty minute set - our first live performance in over eighteen months.  Any nerves were made easer by having had the very warmest of welcomes from both St Neots Folk Club organisers and members alike. We had some new material that we were keen to try out and it all seemed to go down very well.

The second half of the evening featured the beautiful songs and compositions of Tom Bryans from Wisbech.  With loop peddles and classical guitar, Tom performed some delightful material.  My personal favourite was his musical tribute to walking the West Highland Way recently.

The evening was then brought to a close by the silky harmonies and arrangements of The Worthys, a trio formed from members of the St Neots Folk Club.  Appropriately, they finished their set and the evening with a splendid version of Richard Thompson’s Dimming of the Day.  Lovely.

Many thanks to Bob Hines, Patti and Roger and many others at St Neots Folk Club for their warm welcome and their invitation for us to perform.  It was an ideal opportunity to kickstart our performance programme and to try out some new material.

As a post-script, we discovered that the COVID lockdown might largely have ended but the post 10 o’clock-at-night road chaos has not.  The journey home, in the middle of a bout of panic buying of petrol, was a little worrying.  I knew we had just about enough petrol to get us back the forty miles to St Albans but, when we discovered the A1 was closed and that we had to drive an extra 15 miles across to the M1, I confess some worries began to creep in.  But, the diversion ended up being somewhat serendipitous in that we finally made it to Toddington service station and (albeit with notably hiked prices) were able to fill up there and make it home in confidence.