We continue today our series of interviews with some of British Folk’s big names looking back at their memories of Sidmouth Folk Week who celebrate their Diamond Anniversary this year. Today’s guest is a celebrated diatonic accordion player, his name appears in the credits of numerous albums, he’s been a member of many bands, including Blowzabella, and he’s notable for his duo with Chris Wood whom we also recently interviewed. I am of course referring to Andy Cutting:
When did you first come to Sidmouth, and what for?
My first year was a family holiday in 1975. My Dad had been the previous year and come back with a beard….which he’s sported ever since!
What do you most remember about your first (and/or subsequent) Sidmouth festival experiences?
As a young child I remember the amazing freedom my brother and I had. We’d arrange a time and place to check in with our parents (most commonly outside the public bar of the Dove) and we were off, playing amongst the boats, watching the dancing on the front and generally being kids. We’d always try and fit in a fishing trip and would go to at least one evening Arena show. I really enjoyed the Meet the Band workshops. But the spectacle of the Magic Lantern fire show will forever live with me! Truly amazing!
Do you remember the first song you sang, tune you played, story you told, the first dance you called or danced or played for?
In 1988 Ritmia played at Sidmouth and their box player Riccardo Tesi ran a workshop. Some participants were invited to play a tune or two. Paul James and Nigel Eaton (who were helping out at the workshop and had heard me play a few weeks before) asked me to play something. I played In Continental Mood and Flatworld.
Do you have memories of particular venues ?
I liked that you could play at the Radway and then watch a film afterwards. Carinas was always special.
Do you have memories of particular people you met at the festival? Or particular performances?
I met my wife and Chris Wood at Sidmouth. In 2010 putting together the night Andy Cutting and Friends in the Ham was very special to me. …and playing a five and a half hour dance with Blowzabella at the Bulverton in 2008!
What are your lasting impressions of the festival?
It feels like a part of my life. A bit like a relative’s anniversary.
What are your hopes for the future of the festival?
I hope I get the odd gig from time to time.
Chris Wood & Andy Cutting ‘Lusignac’ 1996 (Courtesy of Bristol Ron)
Sidmouth FolkWeek 1st – 8th August 2014
We’ll have more memories soon from: Jackie Oates, Jim Causely, Jo Freya, John Kirkpatrick, Oysterband & Steve Knightley.
Find out more about this years festival and line-up by visiting: http://www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk/