What the Folk?


Harbouring a penchant for socks and sandals? Partial to the odd tankard of home brewed ale?

If so, it’s time to dust off that Morris dancing outfit and whack out the accordion (don’t pretend you don’t have both) ahead of the return of the Oxford Folk Weekend on 20th-22nd April 2012. Taking place at the newly refurbished Old Fire Station in addition to various venues across Oxford, the three day festival promises to be a colourful riot of ceilidhs, craft fairs and folk infused concerts.

With organisers eager to cast off the perception of folk music as the reserve of fusty, grey-haired, ale-swilling eccentrics, headlining the Sunday will be Mawkin, the (comparatively) youthful three-times-BBC Folk Award nominated five-piece following in the footsteps of Seth Lakeman and Dry the River et al. Describing themselves as ‘folk rebels’, (N.B Cherwell can find nothing more dissident than a lack of beards) Mawkin look set to liven up the traditional folk canon and reinvigorate Oxford’s underground folk music scene.

Performing alongside Mawkin will be artists including Ian Giles, Telling the Bees, Emily Spiers and the Tunesmiths and Jamie Huddlestone. Oxford’s self-proclaimed ‘glam-folk legend’ James Bell will also be taking to the stage on the Saturday, no doubt providing blessed relief for those bemoaning Oxford’s current spate of glam-folk legends. Still, while it’s easy to poke fun at the idiosyncrasy of folk festivals, their influence on today’s music industry is unarguable. With the meteoric rise of neo-folk artists such as Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling, arguably folk music is instrumental in tapping into a wider rejection of the commercialism of mainstream music. At a grassroots level, this has seen a resurgence in local community-led festivals across Britain, spearheaded by the ever- popular Cambridge Folk Festival, celebrating traditional folk music at its most basic and intrinsic level.

So best forget the looming essay crisis, start cultivating that facial hair (applies to both sexes) and prepare to embrace the unbridled folk revelry that the Folk Weekend Oxford 2012 promises. Clog dancing optional.



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