It’s difficult to imagine that there was a time before Warwick Folk Festival. Perched at the very beginning of the long school holidays, it has been the ever-present gateway to summer for as long as can be remembered.
A magical place, a safe space, where we had freedom to roam, whilst our parents sat inhaling wineboxes on the campsite, reminiscing about Fairport Thursdays at the Lord Leycester, and we ran free with Dr Sunshine, playing parachute games.
So many memories! Staying up late to watch Loose Chippings, wrapped in a blanket, siting on Mum’s knee. Being carried back to the tent at midnight, fast asleep. Dancing to Florida in the Guy Nelson. Struggling into morris kit in the blistering heat. Chinewrde leading the procession, a young Will Pound on snare.
Music sessions in the bar, staggering back to the tent at dawn. Moor & Coast, a crash detox the next morning. Rammed into a sweaty pub session with several hundred morris dancers, singing and laughing and playing for rapper dancing in the tiniest space, rain splatting against steamy windows. Waking at dawn in a camping chair, still in morris kit.
The first tent we bought together. The barbecue years. Cheese and olives and sourdough crackers after midnight and I got this bottle from Aldi of all places. The gradual migration to a caravan in the family area. New meanings to old rhymes. Kids asleep in buggies, as the Unthanks transcend starless space and time. Many, many, many types of gin. Nancy Kerr switching off Show of Hands, armed only with a lightly toasted muffin.
And everywhere, friends; never more than a few paces away. All of one mind. We’re at Warwick. We’re home.
Warwick Folk Festival. The slow and steady beat of the turning years. The heart of folk.
- Millennial Memories, Andrew Sharpe