Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Rochester Sweeps and a night out in Folkestone!

Yeah I know I know, living the dream or what?  You must all be so jealous of my luxuriant life style.  Seriously though compared with 90%plus of the worlds population what the hell do I have to be ungrateful about?

We went to the Rochester Sweeps Festival on Monday.  This is a bit of an odd event combining ages old May Day celebrations with maypoles, morris dancers, Jack-in-the-Green etc. with an old holiday the chimney sweeps of old were granted.  According to Medway Councils site...

Festival origins
The sweeps’ holiday was traditionally held on 1 May each year. Locally, they used to mark the occasion by staging a procession through the streets of Rochester.
Medway’s annual Sweeps Festival recreates the joy and laughter enjoyed by the chimney sweeps at their traditional holiday: the one time of the year the sweeps could leave the soot behind and have some fun.
Their fun continued with the Jack-in-the-Green ceremony, a seven-foot character that they used to waken at dawn on Blue Bell Hill, Chatham. The Jack-in-the-Green would walk with the chimney sweeps in their parade. When the Climbing Boys’ Act 1868 made it illegal to employ young boys to carry out the trade, the traditional procession gradually began to fade. The final May celebration was held in the early 1900s.

Whatever it is a good day out.  Watched some Morris Dancing in the streets - not my thing but I appreciate the skill in it, typically I end up more watching/listening to the musicians accompanying these groups - my favourites are The Wolf's Head and Vixen Morris - who have an interesting look.  Totally black makeup, all wear dark mirror shades and black clothing.  The ladies don't have the make up but similar look - a friend described them as Goth Morris Dancing.

Moving on we listened to some music acts - a mismash as ever on these things.  One group that frankly sounded like Metallica's next collaboration but rather than with Lou Reed with Bellowhead, honestly it was like Metal with Folk over the top - odd... just didn't work for me.  I think it could have but needed more consideration in the gelling of the parts - i.e. the guitarist was thumping out barre chords throughout with too much distortion from a 100w Laney stack.. buy a smaller amp, find the crunch and clean channels and play some open chords and some arpeggios - that would have worked better for me for a start.  

So to the find of the day... Rosie Eade who describes herself as a Folk Pixie.  She was brilliant, despite being on an open stage in a increasingly damp and drizzly conditions and with the resident nutter (Bob the Drunk) cavorting in front of her throughout her set she was stunning.  Beautiful voice, great songs with a wide range of influences including even a Who cover towards the back of her set.  I bumped into two friends drawn to her performance, in a car park which doesn't sound grand but with the backdrop of the castle and its walls on one side and the cathedral on the other - if it hadn't been raining it'd been lovely, they too both thought her brilliant and the best of the acts they'd seen.  So impressed was I that Mrs F and I are planning to see her again in June when she next returns to Medway - I'll do a gig review of that in due course.

Total change of tempo for the evening, Daughter-of-Furtheron and one of her best pals were of to see Rizzle Kicks (I've tried to educate her musically I really have...) at Folkestone.  Mrs F and I had a slow drawn out 3 course Indian meal to wile away the time.  We were pretty much the only people in the place for much of the time - not much trade in Folkestone on a wet Bank Holiday Monday night then.. felt like I had to give the guy a tip just to make it worth their while staying open for us.


  1. Our eldest has moved away from any of our musical influences - all rap and dubstep. What can you do? Having said that at his age (15) Punk was the now-wave for me, parents music seemed dusty, old and out dated.

    PS Leigh Folk Festival is on next month if you fancy a spin over the other side of the estuary


  2. My oldest son, 21, listens to music from the 60's and 70's while my other son, 19, listens to dub step and rap. Me? I listen to old heavy metal, rock and...wait for it....dance music while I clean or drive LOL

    Indian food sounds just perfect right about now!

  3. My, you do lead the high life.
    It's nice that many towns keep up the old traditions, it maintains a character sadly missing from most of the plastic present.

    I really liked your description of the Goth Morris Dancing. My mind reeled at the very concept, but it's strangly fascinating nevertheless.

  4. There is only one space for Folk Pixie, and I have filled it. I have no talent, but I filled it anyway. ;)

  5. absolutely love local festivals -- the music, the food, the people-watching! and i learned something today -- Morris Dance. About 4 minutes in to the video i was done, but it is rather complicated, isn't it?

  6. I think the band you didn't like was the one I'm part of!
    Ha, completely understand were not everyone's cup of tea so thanks for the critique. I will pass it on to the others.

    1. I think it could work but needs better balance and sympathy between the elements for me to sound as a whole unit... good luck... if you ever need a support act give me a call ;-)