Category Archives: Community

It’s awards season and Folkstock has joined the party!

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The Festival may be over, but it feels like things are just beginning…

As you probably know, the Folkstock Arts Foundation community interest company was set up in February of this year, and we are delighted to have won a place in the finals for two Hertfordshire Business Awards: for Hertfordshire Business in Community Award and Business Person of the Year (for our Festival Director Helen Meissner). Herts_Business_finalist
The next stage for the 5 finalists in each category, is to be visited by the judges and the announcements are made at the Knebworth Barns ceremony on 28th November.  Other Herts based finalists include Harriet Kelsall Jewellery from Weston, who is a highly feted entrepreneur who co incidentally has been a great supporter and sponsor of Folkstock Arts Foundation musicians!

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A week later, on December 2nd, the UK festival awards announce their winners in London’s prestigious Round House, which until the end of October also incorporates a public vote. We are thrilled to be included in the nominations for 5 awards, including Best New, Best Small, Best Grassroots, Best Toilets and Best Family festival! Other Herts based festivals are also nominated for various awards, or can be voted for by the public if you go to the Festival Awards website and all of these listed had Folkstock artists performing or indeed whole stages managed and curated by the foundation for acoustic musicians – they are Standon Calling, Wilkestock, Balstock and Folk by the Oak.

You can vote until the 1st November if you feel so inclined, for any festival you have enjoyed.  If they are not nominated, you can suggest them for ‘Best of the Rest’. To vote click here.

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Message from the Festival Director:

“We are thrilled that the awards nominations have given us another chance to promote the foundation which will increase the profile of the musicians who are associated us. Many Herts based musicians were included in the 16 who have been on our mentoring, marketing and masterclass programme this year and they have performed at a number of events put on by the foundation this year. However, we are not sitting on our laurels, in fact, regardless of the outcome that getting this far in these lovely awards has afforded us, we are in a very exciting developmental time.

Following on from Folkstock Festival just over a month ago, we are broadening the existing support for acoustic musicians to provide more opportunities for
them to make a living from music.
Introducing Folkstock Represents and Folkstock Records”.

My lasting message from Folkstock Festival…

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I’ve made no secret of the fact that Folkstock is all about providing a platform of opportunity. Of course the Folkstock Foundation, which the festival was born out of, was established to support new and emerging acoustic, folk and roots musicians and help to bridge the gap between artists and the harsh business and marketing world – which is the ethos of the entire event – and I’ve written before about the fact that the festival was used to launch local business: Espiritu, but there’s an underlying current that runs a bit deeper than that, in my view.

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As you may well know, Folkstock Festival is being used as a case study for social and community research by Dr Linda Wilks, and I’d like to put my two-pence worth in (that’s what a blog is for, surely?).

Whether realising the extent of this or not, Folkstock has allowed me as an individual to explore some of the links between professionalism; breaking into a career path, and the way that a combination of student media and local events can help one to realise their potential.

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Earlier in the year Festival Director Helen Meissner approached me, as the then Editor of Hertfordshire Students’ Union magazine; BlueMoon, to write an article about Folkstock Foundation, the festival, and its lead-up events. I was able to include the piece in my ‘Talent Issue‘, which I’d hoped would provide exposure to the many positive things that the students at the University of Hertfordshire are doing; the research taking place, the awards won, and also advice from graduate peers and a spotlight on ways and places to showcase said talents (cue the article about Folkstock). I’d also hoped that my team of writers, photographers and designers responsible for creating our magazine would gain some recognition too.

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The article featured in BlueMoon

It was a ploy that worked well. After sending out a copy to Helen (as I did with all the interviewees and contributors external to the university) she researched me and found I’d blogged for the St Albans Film Festival for its debut year. All of a sudden I was agreeing to become the official blogger of Folkstock Festival (bringing a student’s eye view to the proceedings) and my associate editor; Kealie Mardell (an up and coming music journo) was given opportunity to interview the festival team and artists for the UniVerse Newspaper.

Better still, unbeknownst to me, the model of one of our featured photos was being signed up to perform at her first festival.

Natalie Denise, as featured in BlueMoon Magazine

Natalie Denise, as featured in BlueMoon Magazine

I have to give credit to photographer Saahil Dossani of S.H Photographic for his stunning photo of singer/songwriter Natalie Denise (which incidentally won a Student Recognition Award for Student Media’s Best Photo). This captured Helen’s eye and with a bit more research, she had brought Natalie on-board (I can’t stress enough how appreciated it is when professionals take the time to follow up on individuals!).

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Natalie did a great job on the Folkstock Presents… Stage on Saturday. You’d have never known that this was her first festival performance; her sweet voice and moving lyrics of her song dedicated to her nan (Little Hand) – which she is using to fundraise for the Alzheimers Society – had the audience captivated. I hope this leads to good things for her. Find out more about her charity single here.

Never one to miss a trick, you may have read already that I took a small team with me to help with coverage of last Saturday’s festival. There was two reasons for this: the first hope was that between the three of us, we would be able to get some form of coverage of as many artists as possible; whether it be photography, video, audio interview, a tweet, or simply notes on my page – and secondly, because I knew it would give an opportunity for my fellow UH students to put their skills into practice in a real, live event environment.

Eric Sawyer, our videographer for the day, is an enthusiast for all things media, and is set to take on the role of head of Hertfordshire Students’ Union television outlet this academic year. He has filmed many of the acts at the festival and is currently completing post production work and editing footage ready uploading on this blog. All of which will be making its way to our video page.

 

Audio editor and interviewer Michael D’Souza was the Assistant Station Manager for Crush Radio last year. I invited him along after listening to his repertoire of interviews on SoundCloud and remembering that he was looking to explore radio further and make industry contacts. There came a brilliant moment when I was covering the Main stage when BBC Cambridgeshire’s Sue Marchant, who was host for that stage, commented before Pauline Alexander & Edwin Gallagher’s set that radio’s don’t do enough to support these kinds of events.

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Ever the one to challenge things, I raced to my blogging team and suggested Mikey D carry out an impromptu interview with BBC’s Sue Marchant addressing that issue. Listen to the result of that conversation below:

So all in all, students and community do go hand-in-hand – and when a local organisation and event gives us the opportunity to step-up, I think we media-folk can produce great results in promoting local talent, and in turn can help promote our own talents. I think we all gained something from the festival on Saturday; whether it be exposure for the artists or exposure as journalists, bloggers and media producers.

Exposure and opportunity: that to me is the lasting impact of Folkstock Festival.

Stay tuned for my last few summary posts coming up over the weekend and lots of videos too!

An Explanation

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After 3 months of going it alone this on this blog, on the day of Folkstock I was joined by two extra pairs of hands to help with all the coverage of events. Whilst I will be writing the content of the blog posts post-event – and the photos and a few (of the less impressive) videos will still come from me, you may notice I start saying “we” a lot more, and there may be some strange faces appearing on the blog… Don’t fear! Here’s who I’m talking about (and what they lack in beauty, they make up for in sheer talent… and braun? No, scratch that).

FROM LEFT:Me (aka McFly) taking on the role of: bossy. Eric Sawyer (aka Captain Green Beard) taking on the role of: filming. Mikey D (aka The Smurf) taking on the role of: sound editing, interviewing and psycho-analysing (disclaimer: Mikey is not a trained psychologist).

Thank you to the guys and girls at Espiritu for decorating us!

Who’s playing at Folkstock?

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I’ve been busy this week trying to think of all the ways to get information about our amazing Folkstock Festival (and the talented  line-up) across to our followers, and those in-betweenies that are thinking about buying a ticket but not yet sure…  (just remember, you always regret what you didn’t do, not what you did 😉 ).

I have previously introduced some of the main acts playing at Folkstock, but seeing as that was a while ago – and likely to have gotten lost in the mass of blog posts, I thought I’d bring you a quick and easy way to get to know some of our artists: via my Pinboard.

If you are – or know of – any Folkstock Festival artists that aren’t on the board, please help a blogger out and go ahead and add them – I’d love to see all of the acts’ websites on there by the weekend!

Follow the board through to Pinterest to see the larger range of our artists – all image will take you through to their websites.

The stage is set…

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It’s getting so close, isn’t it? Only 6 days to go until Folkstock Festival. We’ve put together a full set list now of acts, times and stages (click the image below to view) – so once you have your tickets, you can get planning your weekend already.

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Andy Shepherd of Shepherd Audio has kindly supplied us with this plan of how the area is going to look next Saturday, so you can get a good feel for the size and area its going to take place in. Excited doesn’t cover it!!

Folkstock merchandise, including the t’shirts (as modeled by festival director Helen Meissner and folkstock artist Amy Pettingill below), are now also available to buy via the website. Those of you who read the previous post about t’shirt designs may be pleased to see both designs are available to buy, with a list of various artists on the back.

If you can’t wait until  next weekend to have a listen to some of the artists that will be performing at Folkstock Festival – click here. Last Wednesday I headed to Nick Stephenson‘s Mid-Week  Music Open Mic night at The Boot, St Albans, to see Zoe Wren perform ahead of Folkstock – and if her set at The Boot was anything to go by, the Folkstock crowd are going to love her!

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Espiritu Salon & Spa to launch at Folkstock Festival

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Festivals are usually associated with ‘roughing it up’ a bit: think mud, camping and – if you’re anything like me – wild banshee hair. But Folkstock Festival is all about challenging conventions, and blogger ‘Mummywhisperer‘ is lending a helping hand, by offering a range of beauty treatments on the day of the festival and family fete.

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On her own blog, she says:

Never been to a Folk Festival? Nows the time to try it

By MummyWhisperer, on September 9th, 2013

To finish off the summer you can go to Folk Stock on Sat Sept 21st at Aldenham Country Park.  Doors open at 10.30 and it finishes at 11.30pm.  Folkstock is slightly different in that it is not just folk, but also acoustic artists, and the amount of choice is going to be phenomenal.

Check out their wicked jingle (I KNOW how cool is it that they have a jingle!) .. <listen here>

Plus, there is a big bonus in that we will be launching Espiritu, our new Salon and Spa there – so you can come and get free hair consults, hair colours in your hair (using hair chalks), braids, reflexology or indian head massage.  Come on over and we’ll give you a bit of a pamper and pep up!

Read more by clicking here.

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I personally can’t wait to try out hair chalks – I’ve been curious about having these done for ages! – And the Indian head massage sounds pretty good too.

ESPIRITU SAYS:

We are so excited at Espiritu to be pre-launching ourselves at Folkstock Festival on Sept 21st, as we have so much in common with the ethos behind this wonderful festival.
Our Salon is about giving you that moment in time to bring you back to ‘you‘ in the midst of our hectic world.  Live music is wonderful for this, but there is something extra special about Folk and Acoustic music, as it is about our roots and something stronger than just the ever changing and moving modern world.
We love to embrace the old style glamour of simpler times, whilst enjoying modern miracles like iPods and gell nails, it is this fusion that we are looking forward to at Folkstock.  So come along to our tent (you wont be able to miss it with our big flag) and enjoy one of our treats for you:

 

  • Braids in your hair,
  • Fun Colours (from hair chalks)
  • Hair Beads for children
  • Free Consultations
  • Reflexology (feet or hands) taster sessions
  • Indian Head Massage taster sessions
  • Hand massages
  • Balloons

 

 

And remember to pick up a 25% off voucher for your first visit to our salon!

If you have kids, then folk festivals are the perfect family friendly way to introduce them to live music, and we too think that families are important, which is why we have created ‘Mummy Mondays’ at the salon to support you mums.  Check out my tips about festivals over on the MummyWhispererBlog.
Community is important to us; we will be supporting local businesses, authors, musicians and charities at Espiritu and making sure that the products and services that we offer are ethical and environmentally friendly.  Folkstock is actually a charity event being organised by the Folkstock Arts Foundation who among other things supports folk and acoustic musicians.
Check out some of the lovely line up here on sound cloud or listen to the lovely Tamsin Rosewell’s delicious radio show about folkstock.Hope to see lots of you there!Poster-1694x2338-741x1024

Linda Wilks on Warming up for the Folkstock Festival

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Hertford Corn Exchange, Sept 6th

On Friday 6th September, just over 2 weeks away from Folkstock Acoustic Festival and Family Fete, the Folkstock Arts Foundation held a warm-up event – as a practice-run for the big gig! As well as giving out (for FREE) these amazing cupcakes, made by Jan’s Cakes, the event attracted a great crowd – including one of the ‘community gain’ researchers, using Folkstock as a case study.

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RESEARCH PARTNER LINDA WILKS WRITES:

What a lovely atmosphere at the Folkstock Festival warm-up event held at the Hertford Corn Exchange last Friday. It was great to be able to see some of the acts which will also be on at the festival on the 21st. All of the performances were excellent and I came away with a Said the Maiden CD which I’ve been enjoying listening to since then – the fiddle playing was a major draw for me and I love the quirky songs and harmonised vocals.

I also took the chance to persuade lots of people to fill in a questionnaire about their Folkstock experiences so far – many thanks to those of you who were kind enough to do this on the night (and also to the online people). Ever since Helen called in at the Uni of Herts, where I used to work, and told us about the festival she was setting up, I’ve been keeping in touch with developments. I’ve carried out research at festivals and gigs before, so I know how rich and interesting they can be as places to do research. I was also really keen to work with Helen to collect data which will help her to review how Folkstock is going. I’ll be writing up the findings for Helen with my consultancy hat on, as well as putting together an article for an academic journal with my researcher hat on, too.

The questionnaire survey is exploring the messages which people are receiving about Folkstock. It’s asking things like how people heard about it, and also trying to find out whether people are getting the impression that the Folkstock ethos is being achieved. There’s space for people to add extra comments too and a couple of those stood out to me: “I think this is going to be an amazing event and the start of something very special”, and “So far all the Folkstock events have been really enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the main event!”. The survey is also running online – there’s been a link from the Folkstock Facebook page for the last few days. If you have a connection to Folkstock and you’d like to fill in a questionnaire yourself, we’d be really pleased to hear from you. You can click this link to fill it in https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Folkstock_survey – it’s all anonymous. We’ll also be giving out the questionnaires at the festival too. The more feedback we can get the better!

Finally, a comment from one of the online questionnaires is a nice one to finish with, and after Friday’s gig I can see why someone put this: “Such a huge line up of talented musicians of all ages. I do not think the like will ever be repeated as I am sure some of these acts will be mainstream very soon.”

Enjoy the festival – not long now!

Dr. Linda Wilks

Research Partner, Verlamion Cultural Impact Analysis and Visiting Research Fellow, The Open University

You can find some of my other research here (including my 300-page PhD thesis in case you’re having a sleepless night!) http://independent.academia.edu/LindaWilks

 

A fabulous weekend for folk

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Folkstock artists have been busy, as usual, this weekend. The Folk, Garry Smith, Daisy Mae LewisZoe Phillips, Kaitlyn Sings, The Tritones and Nick and The Sun Machine were entertaining fans at Wilkestock Festival, whilst Daria Kulesh and her band KARA were kicking off Saturday night’s Live Music Project at Trestle Arts Base.

Folkstock Managing Director Helen Meissner spent the weekend at Wilkestock, taking amazing photos of the performances, as usual – which I’ve put a sample of here. It looks like it was a blast!

A little bird also told me that Simon Hadwin (the drummer of Nick and the Sun Machine, whom I meet at the Marketing Matters event) impressed the crowds with an impromptu spot on the acoustic stage to fill in for an artist who had to cancel – nice one!

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I, on the other hand, headed over to Trestle Arts Base, to see KARA’s folk performances with a Russian twist. Daria Kulesh was the first Folkstock act I ever encountered, having met her at the St Albans Film Festival, so I definitely wanted to see her joined by her band on stage.

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This was my first experience of hearing a hammered dulcimer instrument being played, and it certainly added another dimension to KARA’s musical sound.

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Four bands played in total last night: KARA, Starseedz, Broken Boat and The Neverists. It was great to see the space at the arts base being used so well, and lots of people enjoying the local talent that Herts seems so full of. The Neverists themselves summed it up with:

“The show we played last night was incredible, I have never felt a reaction from an audience like last night, people we’re dancing to our songs, we played the longest set we have ever played and really got to mix it up, with Jimmi leaving the drums to play harmonica.”

I love finding new music, and hearing Broken Boat for the first time last night was a real treat. I’m looking forward to seeing the performances of other Folkstock artists at Trestle in the coming months, and discovering other local bands. Hopefully some of these guys will be heading along to Folkstock Festival in 3 weeks time, to give us a few impromptu performances at the ‘on the day sign up’ slots?!

Coming up at Trestle Arts Base:

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