We’ve a wide mix of festivals being covered by Folk Radio UK this year year but there is one that is like no other, quite literally. Woolf Music is less a festival, more a party…it takes place over the weekend of 17 & 18 August at Cleeve House, a lovely country manor situated in Wiltshire. What makes this particular festival so interesting is its whole unique approach. Those behind the festival are the very same behind the legendary Terrastock festivals which have taken place across the United States since 1997. For anyone who has read ‘Seasons they Change: The story of Acid & Psychedelic Folk‘ by Jeanette Leech (who will be at this year’s festival) you will already know the part they played…
Whilst most of the music press began to follow the new shining altar of Indie Rock there was one magazine called Ptolemaic Terrascope that continued to cover acid and psychedelic folk music. Founder Phil McMullen who edited the magazine from 1989 to 2005 explained in Seasons of Change (SOC) that “we were simply writing about stuff we happened to like, irrespective of labels or trends.” Whilst that humble stance may be true it became an important platform for raising the profile of many unknown free folk and independent acts. McMullen added to the magazines appeal by ensuring that each issue featured a diverse mix of genres giving the magazine an incredibly expansive horizon. The first issue (pictured above) included an A4 double-sided sheet called ‘The Scrapbook’ featuring: Traffic, Moby Grape, Geranium Pond, Robin & Barry Dransfield, Trees and Shirley & Dolly Collins; as well as a vinyl 7″ EP featuring: The Flyte Reaction / Psychos Mum / Mick Wills / The Bevis Frond.
The magazine grew in stature amongst fans and artists. Jeanette Leech described it as a “virtual space for these artists to converge and find a sympathetic audience”. It was a difficult time for artists as Greg Weeks, solo singer and founding member of Espers explained in SOC “Indie rock was king. There was no way to get into any of the clubs to play.” That was to change in 1997 with the very first Terrastock festival, the festival featured many disparate artists who each had a respect for each-others music. The bringing of these artists together led to many impromptu sessions, something that continues today with Woolf Music.
When I spoke to Phil McMullen about Woolf Music he explained that as well as psych-folk “there’s a fair bit of drone, noise, avant-gardening and outrageously weird sh*t intentionally incorporated into the line-up, as that’s traditionally what the Terrastock festivals (which this event has its roots firmly planted into) tend to revolve around…the whole point of it though is to bring the community together.” Far from being put off I found myself being sucked into what Phil was achieving through Woolf Music and after seeing the line-up for this year including: Josephine Foster, Nick Jonah Davis, Sharron Kraus, Jeanette Leech, Ellen Mary McGee, United Bible Studies, Woodpecker Wooliams and more…it took a fraction of a second to make me commit to getting a ticket…especially at the price they are (£20 for the weekend / £40 if camping).
So here’s just a small taster of some of the artists I’m looking forward to seeing:
Woolf Music Compilation
Woolf Music Details
WOOLF MUSIC takes place over the weekend of August 17th and 18th, 2013 at:
Seend, near Melksham
Wiltshire SN12 6PG
Starting at 11am each day and ending at 9pm (outdoors in the marquee) and midnight or thereabouts (indoors)
Ticket buyers will be issued with a wristband on arrival and must bring proof of identity / purchase with them to the festival in order to gain entry.
Camping is available on site. Fresh running water and eco toilets are provided.
Weekend tickets are £20.
Weekend tickets including camping on the Saturday and Sunday nights are £40.
Website and full line-up can be found here: