It’s not long now until Sidmouth Folk Week (1st – 8th August) which I’ve been looking forward to for some time, Yes, they have pulled out all the stops this year to produce an incredible line-up, but Sidmouth is a lot more than that as I hope this series of interviews has shown.
For those of you that have been following our Sidmouth Folk Week Memories the festival celebrates its Diamond Anniversary this year and so far we have interviewed John Kirkpatrick, Andy Cutting, Pete Coe, Chris Wood, Sandra Kerr and Kathryn Tickell. Each of them has highlighted just how special this festival is and you’ll be pleased to hear we have a few more to go yet.
Today’s guest the young Devon folk singer and musician Jim Causley whose most recent release, Cyprus Well, is well worth a visit if you haven’t heard it already.
When did you first come to Sidmouth, and what for?
When I was less than a year old in a carry-cot! I don’t recall much about that year but I’m sure it was a good one! I was born and grew up 20 minutes away from Sidmouth so was very lucky that the most famous folk festival in the country also happened to be my local festival too!
What do you most remember about your first (and/or subsequent) Sidmouth festival experiences? Do you remember the first song you sang, tune you played, story you told, the first dance you called or danced or played for?
My grandma was a big fan of coming to Sidmouth to hear the musicians on the front and to watch the dancing in particular. She took me with her on the bus every summer. The first song I sang was in an open mic session in the Bedford and Ollie Knight was doing the sound so I was rather star-struck and nervous! I most probably sang The Mower.
Do you have memories of particular venues ?
I love all the venues for their various charms but my favourite has to be the Manor Pavillion, it’s a perfect combination of old fashioned grandeur and yet just the right size to feel cozy and personal with the audience. Every concert there is always relaxed and fun.
Do you have memories of particular people you met at the festival? Or particular performances?
I’ve gotten to meet so many of my idols at Sidmouth, that’s one of the joys of the folk scene, i doubt you’d have the same experience at Glastonbury! Too many wonderful memories to fit in here but I’d say some of the first happy memories were being introduced on the Ham stage by Martin Carthy and also taking part in Martyn Wyndham-Read’s ‘Song Links 2’ project and getting to meet performers such as Shirley Collins and the Copper Family.
What are your lasting impressions of the festival?
Just tonnes of memories of joy and learning. I definitely wouldn’t be the performer I am without having grown up through Sidmouth. From attending wonderful workshops and concerts to becoming a workshop leader and performer myself. I can’t thank Sidmouth folk week enough and can’t imagine Augusts without it!
What are your hopes for the future of the festival?
That it continues to grow, evolve and inspire new generations of musicians, singers, dancers, storytellers and artists whilst celebrating the successive generations of talented people who came before.
Rolling of the Stones from the 2007 album ‘Lost Love Found’
Jim with Bella Hardy, David Rotheray having fun in the Shed performing Puffin Meets Squirrel
Festivities at 60th Sidmouth FolkWeek kick off – with Ralph McTell’s pre-festival concert at the Ham Marquee on 31st July, 8pm, followed by a festive holiday week of music, dance and song from 1st – 8th August
More here: http://www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk/
A SMALL QUIET ENGLISH TOWN
A Small Quiet English Town is a feature documentary – in association with The Sidmouth FolkWeek Festival.
To be Directed by ANDY BAYBUTT this film will tell the unique and intimate story of the last 60 years of The Sidmouth FolkWeek Festival. Interweaving fascinating unseen archive footage with interviews, music, dance and song alongside the actuality of the 2014 event this film will be a stunning insight into the wider British Folk story through the prism of the Sidmouth event.
Find out more and help fund it by going here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-small-quiet-english-town