Monthly Archives: July 2013

What’s All The Noise About?


*Disclaimer: The thoughts presented on this blog post are those of my own [Kate Snowdon] and not those official of Folkstock Arts Foundation or Folkstock Festival.

This morning I read an article in the Borehamwood and Elstree Times about complaints made with regards to the ‘noise pollution’ that the Folkstock Festival will cause when it reaches our ears in September. Now, I’ve heard the songs of quite a large number of Folkstock’s artists, and I’m so disappointed to think that they will be considered ‘noise pollution’ – I rather think of it as filling in the air with beautiful melodies :).

The article goes on to explain that the festival; which will take place in Aldenham Country Park, Dagger Lane on the 21st September, has riled residents near by, as they believe the noise it will create will be a nuisance late into the night and disturb young children. Folkstock, as far as I have been aware, has always been a family event; a family fun day that even has areas to cater for all age groups, including a soft play area for tots, a DVD area for kids and a milk bar for teens – so I’m surprised to hear complaints of the event not taking children into consideration, as I really didn’t feel that was the case.

From my first conversation with Helen (the festival director) she told me that Folkstock Festival is a community event bringing Hertfordshire and its surrounds together,and community will always be at the heart of it. It’s a shame that the community that the festival will take place in are not particularly reciprocal, as seeing as the event is only one-day long, it could easily be embraced and enjoyed rather than opposed. I mean if you can’t beat them, join them – right? I’d love to hear of those concerned about the event coming along (maybe even talk to Helen Meissner, as she says she’d happily give tickets to those living in the vicinity!).

Folkstock has positioned the two quieter acoustic stages nearest to the road to ensure that there will be minimal noise pollution to neighbours and has paid for a £2,000 sound report to ensure noise will not disrupt residents living nearby, so hopefully this reassures locals that Folkstock Festival is about peaceful, considerate, fun and enjoyment for all – and not in any way a reckless rave of sorts. It’s a celebration of local talent and community – let’s not lose sight of that!



Music and Lights – Musings and Images


Last weekend saw the third ‘Under The Stars’ workshop in the Folkstock series, followed by the usual performances round the campfire.

I have a confession to make. I was not able to attend this event, as my older brother Alton Wahlberg got married on the afternoon of the 20th July, and whilst Folkstock Foundation Acts were listening to good music and probably having a bit of a dance, so was I – to the sounds of the awesome Cupids Wish.


I had a good reason for missing the latest Folkstock workshop…

So, Folkstock’s ‘Music and Lights’ event kicked off from 6pm, beginning with three seminars for artists, given by Michelle Holding, Bonz Barnes and Martin Lumsden; those were: ‘Social Media Made Easy’ – for artists looking to promote themselves online, ‘Shooting on a Shoe String’ – about making music videos and ‘Studio Sessions – Right First Time’ – which is pretty self-explanatory.


Naturally for these such events, those in attendance moved from Church Farm, Ardeley to the camping grounds to finish the evening in the relaxing atmosphere created by the camp fire and all the additional guests that join for this section of the night.


Folkstock Festival Director Helen Meissner said; “Very enjoyable day and thank you to everyone who gave their time for this – KARA folk ( duo), Karl & The Prodigal Son, Kaitlyn, Josiah Handpan, Noel Cowley, The Tritones, Rob Finlay, Martin Lumsden (from Cream Room Sound Productions) and of course Michelle Holding and Bonz”.


“[It was] Lovely to see Zoë Wren joining us in the evening, and Peter Mayles, Rose Goodship and Steve Dagleish as well as everyone who performed in Hatfield’s Town Square and the Kaleidscope Hatifeld Short Film Festival [which Folkstock Foundation artists had played at earlier in the day,” Helen said.

Folkstock on the Airwaves


Local radio stations have been going a little ga-ga for Folkstock Foundation acts…

I’ve bought you a few blog posts of late showing the events and news about Folkstock Festival, but as yet haven’t really given my blog readers  a chance to listen to what Folkstock has to offer. That’s about to change. I’ve been collecting all the sound files and radio coverage that Folkstock has had so far to give a good insight to what is heading your way this September. Click on the icons to hear the audio. Enjoy!

Helen talks about Folkstock

Terry Sullivan from The Sticks Magazine interviewed Helen Meissner for his Secklow Sound (Please click on the third of the four icons of the Mixcloud selection and scroll down to the fourth episode):


Folkstock Radio jingle by Heartwave:


Radio Appearances and broadcasts:

 eabcd955-d3dd-4393-ae45-f82fcc7ed31dFolkstock Artist Daria Kulesh on Dacorum  logo-cambs-105

A selection from the Folkstock Festival artists:


More of the Folkstock artists:


Artists that will be appearing at Standon Calling:


For more info on Folkstock Radio Appearances:


Folkstock Stage at Standon Calling


In an exciting collaboration, on the final day of  Standon Calling Festival this year, Folkstock acts will be taking up the Lordship stage. Standon Calling is one of the biggest Hertfordshire-based festivals – it’s Facebook page alone has over ten and half thousand ‘Likes’ – and it’s running from 2nd to 4th August, making it exactly seven weeks ahead of Folkstock Arts Foundation’s own Folkstock Festival on the 21st September.


Taking place in the grounds of a 16th century manor house in Standon village, 30 miles North of London, this year’s ‘Running Away From The Circus’ themed festival even includes a Big Top. The festival is designed to be like a ‘carnival of freedom’, with an actual on-site circus showcasing exciting circus acts by day and turning into a lively social scene at night with live bands and DJs. With its infamous Cowshed nightclub, Standon Calling has a bar license to 5am, so there’s no need for campers to retreat to their sleeping bags early!

“We’re keen to support interesting artists of all ilks, be they painters, sculptors, writers, actors, comedians or even chefs. A different theme takes over the event each year, reflected in the interactive theatre, art installations, set designs, and outrageous outfits our guests dream up” boasts the Standon Calling web page.

Aside from the Big Top and Cowshed nightclub, there are two stages of acts this year: the Main Stage and the Lordship stage, where Folkstock acts will be on the 4th. They also (rather awesomely) feature a swimming pool which festival-goers are encouraged to enjoy! Probably the best thing about Standon though? It’s kind of a big deal…


“You’re pretty much guaranteed to discover bands before most people have heard of them. Florence and the MachineFriendly FiresMumford and Sons, Bastille, Metronomy, Anna Calvi and The Noisettes all played Standon before enjoying the profiles they do today. Similarly, we’ve had The MaccabeesMr HudsonGlasvegasDelphic and Paloma Faith.” 


So come show Folkstock some support and maybe discover the big bands and acts of tomorrow! The fifteen Folkstock acts performing on the Lordship stage will be:


For tickets and more info click HERE.

Reg Meuross is an acclaimed acoustic ‘story teller’ of whom Mike Harding said, when introducing him at the Royal Albert Hall recently  “One of the finest singer-songwriters this country has produced” and he went on to comment on Reg’s brand new album LEAVES & FEATHERS, which was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios and captures some of the warmth and intimacy of Reg’s live performances.  “I think this is stunning!”

The Willows are a folk roots family band from Cambridge, who have just completed a tour for their debut album’ Beneath our humble soil’ which included a rapturous session live on Bob Harris’s BBC 2 Radio Show.

BOB HARRIS, BBC Radio 2: “…Absolutely gorgeous sound, a lovely album…”

MIKE HARDING, Mike Harding Folk Show: “They sort of straddle the worlds between Americana and English roots music and do it in a very very deft way for such a young band; I think they’re really really interesting! Bella’s Fury has got a sort of feeling of old timey noir about it… I think it’s really amazing!”

MAVERICK MAGAZINE: “…The Willows are a breath of fresh air to the folk music community…

Fred’s House “I like this band, they’ve got a great sound and some very fine harmonies. Fred’s House sounds like a nice place to be!” Frank Hennessy, BBC Radio Wales . “That was a perfect song” Reg Meuross. Fred’s House are an alt folk four piece band who released their debut single last month, Fine Line and are attracting a lot of attention. “Finally, they release debut single Fine Life, which underlines their ability to deliver ear-pleasing songwriting built around sweet vocal harmonies and warm, breezy pop-folk hooks and gets the toes tapping in a way you could never have imagined.” **** Indie London

The Folk are three unsigned 17 yr olds who have already been in session and playlisted on BBC Three Counties and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, have had tracks played on Tom Robinson’s BBC 6 Music show, been playlisted on local 106Jack fm have released their debut single and two EPs and are about to release another EP in the summer. Hertfordshire Life ran a four page feature on the ambitious trio in March and their lively folk pop is winning them new fans at every gig.

Nick and the Sun Machine are an Alternative Folk/Rock band from St Albans who formed in March. The band have received critical acclaim emerged from the likes of Sound on Sound and R2 Magazine. They have appeared at celebrated British festivals such at Glastonbury and Secret Garden Party and last years Folk by the Oak.

Said the Maiden This new Hertfordshire all girl traditional folk trio are thoroughly enjoying their speedy rise in the world of super support roles, having played to 800 people at the Alban Arena when they supported Fishersmans’ Friends, they have recently released their debut EP Come Hither and it has been played on Mike Hardings’ Folk show.

Flaming June are a fiery local three piece who wield fiddle, guitar and bongos with alactrity and passion. Voted best EP by Fatea in 2011and their recent EP has seen them supporting BBC 2 Folk award winner Bella Hardy in Suffolk.

Indi Forde is an exciting guitarist and has the most incredibly powerful voice mixed with superb songwriting, usually with a band, he is performing for us solo which shows off his craftsmanship.

Roxanne de Bastion. Has just released her debut album,  The Real thing to great review

Tom Whalley, BBC 6 Producer “…One of the most perfect voices I have ever heard!”

BBC Introducing: “If you ever get a chance to go see her live – definitely do!”

Barfly: “Funny and biting, sometimes angry missives on love and life in London, Riot Grrl Folk if you will… Amazing Voice”

Zoe Wren is a 17 year old singer songwriter who has already had a track included on the Folkroom Records Anthology collection. A gem of a songwriter, she also has the voice of an angel.

Rob Finlay

Adriana Rubio – “ Rob Finlay’s compositions have been originally created and brilliantly performed.  There’s no room for doubt that his musical influences have touched him deeply to become a passionate songwriter”.

 Tom Robinson – BBC 6 Music  Hertfordshire based Rob Finlay’s single Stone Dead and Rising proved popular with readers of my Fresh On The Net Blog and among listeners of our BBC Introducing Mixtape where I featured it the following week. This is a taut and vigorous track.  Call him a songwriter or call him a singer – both of which he patently is – but not a singer-songwriter. He’s so much better than that.

Keith Ames – The Musician – Musicians Union Publication: This track [Collections] is a fine example of his ability to weave unconventional elements into familiar genres.  His searching vocals call to mind Tim Buckley while he shows commercial potential during the chorus, in which his voice soars over a gorgeous chiming guitar lick.

Minnie Birch writes beautiful songs which she accompanies herself with guitar. Minnie was chosen from hundreds of hopefuls to support Joan Armatrading at one of her tour dates last year, and has been performing live on BBC Three Counties Radio twice in the last two months and is in demand gigging all over the county

Noel Cowley

Chris Sheehan, Karamel Music “….honest, time honoured songwriting that lights little camp fires all over the space beneath your rib cage…..”

Reg Meuross: I really like Noel’s ‘ Hazy Summer Morning’ EP. His voice is lovely, modern, sweet and sincere. The songs are deceptive, seemingly just love songs but with interesting lines and creative rhymes”


Luke Jackon’s Song writing Inspirations


Eighteen year old nominee of two BBC Radio Folk awards, Luke Jackson, was on hand at the marketing matters seminar to share his song writing experiences and woo the audience with his flawless performances.

Although, nowadays, Luke can usually be found performing at large gigs, he said he was glad to have the opportunity to talk about his career so far and reflect on where his songs have come from.

Listening to Luke (I managed to sneak into this photo somehow!)
Listening to Luke (I managed to sneak into this photo somehow!)

Like many artists starting out, Luke began with mostly performing covers. He would perform to audiences at every opportunity given. He recalls being 14 years old and performing in smoky pubs, where it’s possible that he was the only person there below the age of 50. “I tried to get my head in as many places as possible, all the open mic nights, etc. Back then I did pub gigs for a long time, but now I tend to avoid pub gigs – they love a cover, but I’m now picky because I want to perform my own stuff. But always start out with being everywhere!” he said.

Luke impresses the audience with his strong voice
Luke impresses the audience with his strong voice

It was great to see an artist with such charisma (and modesty); Luke had the whole room hooked on his every word as he chatted about his journey as an artist and joked about the days he would “travel from Canterbury to Birmingham to gig in front of three people – two of which would be talking, and one was [his] dad”.

He explained that at the start of his music career the social networking site MySpace was good for getting gigs, (where he would sell CDs for £3) but now social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are more about communication with fans then getting gigs and selling.

Inspired by acoustic great Richard Thompson OBE’s storytelling genius, Luke’s first album More Than Boys is about growing up – that’s where he is at in life, and he finds others can relate. He spoke of recording his album last year under Martyn Joseph’s record label – he wanted to make an album with a live feel and so using only a voice mic, a guitar mic and lots of takes, the album was cut in 4 days.

Performing for the Folkstock crowd

Performing for the Folkstock crowd

Luke sang seven songs in total to the select crowd in the room (it was like having our own private gig) six of which were his own, original songs (including the title track of his debut album More Than Boys) and one being a cover of John Hiatt’s Icy Blue Heart. These were interjected with funny anecdotes about Luke’s friends, tour experiences and fellow artists – and how these have influenced his song writing. It was easy to believe Luke’s admission that he favours gigs not by number in attendance, but audience response, as he comfortably made eye contact around the room as he sang.

“The way they come out is how they are meant to be, I don’t set the genre and I can’t tell himself ‘I will write a song today’ then go write it – they happen when they happen”

It was fascinating to learn about the experiences that inspired each of the songs Luke had written. From writing ‘Out of Time’ while standing in St David’s Hall in Cardiff waiting for his encore at the end of a 6-week tour with Martyn Joseph (during which he lived off of Cornish pasties and sausage rolls from service stations) – to stumbling across the melody for ‘Last Train’ during a sound check at a Cambridge gig (lyrics followed the next day while watching an old war film), Luke explained that he can’t force a song.

The session with Luke concluded with an audience Q&A. The things that stood out to me most over this were Luke’s thoughts on big labels and talent shows. Although he loves artists like Paolo Nutini and Ben Howard, and can see how a big label works for them as they continue to do their own thing, he admits that personally, he wouldn’t go mainstream if meant he had to compromise his own style. As far as X Factor type contests go? Luke wants to be around the music scene for a long time, and can’t see a sustainable career via TV talent shows.

Final thoughts from Luke

“In main stream everyone is wanting to get  to the number 1 spot, but in the folk and roots scene everyone wants to help each other. That was why the Young Folk Awards was such a great experience – I made such good friends.”

With that thought in mind as he graciously thanked Helen for inviting him to be there, I can see why Luke Jackson wanted to be involved with Folkstock from the beginning – and what a great person to have onboard!