'Hard work and energy' makes festival a socially distanced triumph
- Credit: ANDREW MOORE
Musicians, lights, sound, an audience and space - these were all the ingredients needed for a socially-distanced and successful edition of Ely Folk Festival.
Moving the festival to outdoor stages and providing the audience with socially distanced boxes marked on the grass did not dampen spirits and the festival vibe was present.
After a year of limited access to live music and festivals, there was a tangible excitement in the air on Friday evening as the acts took to the stage.
The high octane sounds of Merry Hell and Blackbeard’s Tea Party had the audience on their feet dancing along.
On Saturday, Rodney Branigan enthralled the audience with his soulful blues.
Later, The Young’uns effortlessly blended their humor with stunning harmonies and songs about social issues.
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Noble Jacks provided a storming end to the day’s concerts on stage one.
Meanwhile, on stage two, the audience listened to the mellow sounds of the Carrivick Sisters bathed in the setting sunlight.
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Those who chose folk over football on Sunday evening possibly made the better choice and enjoyed stellar performances from troubadour Martyn Joseph and cajun band Elvis Fontenot.
British supremos Show of Hands closed the festival with a performance of old favourites and newly-penned numbers.
Soon after, a contented crowd made their way home from the first major weekend music festival of 2021.
The festival had a real buzz to it, with informal music sessions popping up around the festival site.
Younger festival visitors meanwhile paraded around the site in the costumes they had made in the craft corner.
Last minute changes to the line-up caused by Covid restrictions did not affect the quality of music over the weekend.
Fionnuala Lennon, from the festival organising committee, said: ’We are so happy all went off well and that it was a successful weekend.
"It has taken a huge amount of energy and hard work to put the 2021 festival together.
"But the reaction from our visitors has been wonderful, and made all that hard work worthwhile.
"We’re already looking forward to the 2022 festival."