The Eighth Southsea Folk And Roots Festival
South Parade Pier
2008 Festival Review
by John Roberts (the barking spider)
Southsea Folk & Roots Festival 2008 was was the most successful yet, and unlike many festivals during that summer, we were actually up on numbers, thanks to a strong line up, with headliners Amy Wadge, Little Johnny England, The Men They Couldn't Hang, and on blues day Mike Sanchez and the Portions. The support artistes for these main events were of an exceptionly high claibre too :-
Della Perrett's Sweetedge, East Of Ealing, Naomi Bedford & Paul Saunders and Kris Dollimore.
We were extremely well attended for the free entry days too, no doubt due to a superb line up including Ron Trueman-Border, Rory Ellis, Stompin' Dave Allen, Claude Bourbon, Bob Long & Keith Miller, 'The News Awards' winner Chris Ricketts, Sue Apicella & Paul Horton, The Sally Strawberry Revue, Ade Cull, Burnt Ice, Mary Jane, Graham Robins, P.J. Wright, and the one and only Jackie Leven. Both the folk roots days were compere by the incomperable (ouch..) Pete Watkinson, whilst I "did the hounours" on the blues day. And all this for free!
As usual, we included local music pubs and venues in the Southsea Folk & Roots Festival, and organised free entry fringe gigs, utilising many of the artistes that have played during the free entry daytime gigs. This meant there was always something for everyone, if
there was a folk act headlining the Pier, there was something for the blues fans at a fringe event. This year on different nights at "The Florence Arms" we had Andy Broad's blues jam, Rory Ellis and Bemis, The R.M.A. Tavern" presented Saiichi Sugiyama's Ceamy (kicking the whole Festival off on the Thursday night) and Billy Irvine, and at "The Cellars at Eastney" Rory Ellis appeared.
The beauty of the free entry afternoons on the Pier and the fringe events is that it opens people's eyes to genres of music they haven't previously experienced. Common comments are often along the lines "I didn't think I liked folk music, but this is great!".... or...."I always though blues was slit-your-wrists stuff, but this isn't though!" More converts to the cause....
Once again, I'm indebted to a great team, many of them artistes themselves or with a
good background to the roots music scene. For instance, Andy Broad, our
webmaster, is an exceptional blues guitarist (and a member of The
Continentals, Burnt Ice, and Sally Strawberry Revue), Pete Clarke is a
Jew's harp virtuoso and member of The Jellyrollers (and previously Hot
Tamales and Apicella), and Pam Wilkins has been part of the fabric of
the folk scene around Portsmouth since the late 60's. The team is
always expanding, and the degree of enthusiasm and commitment is
outstanding. Also without the wonderful support of the owners and staff at South Parade Pier, this Festival just could not take place.
We know we'll have a hard job to beat the 2009 lineup for the ninth Southsea Folk & Roots Festival, but 'onwards & upwards' is the only way to go, and we have a very strong line-up....so see you at the Festival!
(Southsea Folk & Roots Festival artiste co-ordinator)