We have another special guest today as part of our ongoing series of interviews on the run up to Sidmouth Folk Week in which we ask a number of British Folk artists about their memories of the festival who celebrate their Diamond Anniversary this year. Our guest is a well known English singer and melodeon/concertina player…and dancer/founder of Shropshire Bedlams. He is John Kirkpatrick:
When did you first come to Sidmouth, and what for?
1967 – as a member – Squire, in fact – of The Hammersmith Morris Men.
Do you remember the first song you sang, tune you played, story you told, the first dance you called or danced or played for?
With Hammersmith that year we did a ridiculous amount of stuff – Cotswold Morris, Long Sword, Rapper (we broke Chingford’s record for the longest non-stop rapper dance at Sidmouth that year) a mummers play, and The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. We were very young and keen!
Do you have memories of particular venues?
I remember how odd a place the Beach Store was as a song venue at that time. Sand for a floor and rather odd acoustics.
Do you have memories of particular people you met at the festival? Or particular performances?
My proudest memory is from 1977, when The Shropshire Bedlams and Martha Rhoden’s Tuppenny Dish came to Sidmouth for the first time. I thought we might just make a bit of an impression, and we bloody well did!
What are your lasting impressions of the festival?
I think it’s quite nice, really!
What are your hopes for the future of the festival?
I hope it keeps going forever – I’ve had so many brilliant times here, and hope it stays that way so that others can discover its delights for themselves.
Richard Thompson band (with John Kirkpatrick) – The Gas Almost Works (live 1980)
John Kirkpatrick – Welcome To Hell (The Albert Hole Bristol 18th Feb 94 courtesy of Bristol Ron)
Sidmouth FolkWeek 1st – 8th August 2014
We’ll have more memories soon from: Jackie Oates, Jim Causely, Jo Freya, Oysterband & Steve Knightley.
Find out more about this years festival and line-up by visiting: http://www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk/