Tag Archives: marketing

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!

Folkstock Celebrity Support

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This week, celebrity & VIP gossip mega blog; Live Like a VIP, allowed me to write a piece about Folkstock Festival for their site. In-keeping with their style and content, I covered some of the celebrity support Folkstock has gained.

VIP Meet&Greet: Planning an independent music festival

Many of us go to festivals over the summer, but most of us don’t spend the summer months planning our own! But that’s exactly what cancer survivor Helen Meissner has been doing to raise money for Cancer Research UK and Folkstock Arts Foundation; a community interest organisation created to provide a platform for up and coming acoustic artists looking to get signed.

READ THE REST OF THE POST HERE

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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

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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Septemberfest – Folkstock and two three-day festivals

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September is the month of the Hertfordshire Festivals. Three consecutive weekends (including this one) will see the likes of music festivals:
Wilkestock, Balstock and Folkstock bringing focus to the awesome talent that this area has to offer.

The three ‘stocks, which take place only a month on from the awesome Standon Calling, help to highlight the impressive music scene in Hertfordshire, and the community that it brings together.

This weekend: Friday 30th August to 1st September 2013

…tickets still available on the door!

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Wilkestock offers FAMILY CAMPING, 100+ bands/dj’s across 4 stages and late night venues! all profits direct to Charity for the 8th year running.  4 STAGES & LATE NIGHT VENUES DISPLAYING THE BEST MUSIC AROUND – NEW AND OLD. *NEW ROCK UP AND RINSE STAGE*. 3 BARS. FREE SHOWERS! LOCKERS & PHONE CHARGING. LIVE GRAFFITI, PAINTBALL ARENA, SUMO SUITS and LOADS OF ENTERTAINMENT ACROSS THE WEEKEND.

NON COMMERCIAL & ALL PROCEEDS DIRECT TO CHARITY. AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, INTIMATE MUSIC FESTIVAL, NO £4.50 DRINKS HERE!

Mission:

Create a solid intimate music medley of quality bands and dj’s for all ears, whilst raising money and having a party time for Keswick Mountain Rescue & Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research

Company Overview:
In its 8th successful year….. 100+bands/dj’s across 4 stages, an epic weekend to be had with all profits going directly to Keswick Mountain Rescue & Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Dance tents pumping into the small hours with –

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2 Bad Mice
Dj Law and Wheeler
Variations [Dub Police]
Mojo [Terrorhythm]
Bygore [Dub Police]
Ethic [Dub Police]
Swiss B2B Foul Matta [Stink Like Sock]
Venum [N:Era]
Teknition

Hosts – The Corporal / Shox / Overdoze

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Next weekend: Friday 14th to Sunday 16th September 2013

 

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Balstock Music Festival started 8 years ago, in the Engine pub garden, Baldock. From the 11 acts that graced the small petanque shed that day, none of them could’ve known that the very same festival would become Hertfordshire’s largest free music event not even a decade later!
Balstock 2013 is staying true to form by attempting to ‘out-shine’ all the previous years. Not only is every pub in Baldock taking part (bar the George IV just outside town) but also there are 2 Street Stages (including food & merchandise stalls, zorbing and a tug-o-war competition), a café hosting DJs and even bands in one of the tattooists.
Over the 13th, 14th and 15th of September, 150+ acts will be performing in 15 venues, all over Baldock town, including rock, pop, acoustic, soul, ska, blues, hip-hop, punk, folk, motown, reggae, metal, alternative and covers as well as DJ sets of all kinds and stand-up comedy courtesy of Lastminutecomedy.
Every single venue is FREE ENTRY and every single act performs for FREE, all in aid of the chosen charity which changes each year. Funds raised in Balstock 2013 will be split 60 % to the MS Trust and 40% to aid future Balstock events. So please put plenty of money in the collector’s buckets and buy plenty of Balstock Merchandise.

13 September at 18:00 until 15 September at 22:00. This year’s funding goes towards the MS trust and Balstock (split 60/40)

Venues are:
The Orange Tree, Baldock
The Engine
The High Street stage
London Road & Academy Of Music & Sound Stage
The Rose & Crown
The White Lion
The Hen & Chickens
The Boot Baldock
The White Hart, Baldock
The Brocken Drum
The Victoria
The Cock
The Old White Horse
Slack Alice’s tattooists
Taste Cafe

Third Weekend in September: Saturday 21st September 2013

…tickets still available – click here!

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Folkstock has a mission to be a joyous fusion of many different strands of folk, with over 70 artists, half of which are from the local area, from award winning faves of this show such as Lucy Ward, Kris Drever, Reg Meuross, Luke Jackson and Josienne Clarke/ Ben Walker and Folk roots band The Willows, who have sessioned on Bob Harris, through to local artists who are being offered their first festival slots, and everything in between.

Four stages and an additional two performance areas are planned at this relaxed rustic event at beautiful Aldenham Country Park near Borehamwood, along side free, ‘sign up on the day songwriting’ workshops with Reg Meuross, open slots at Flaming June’s Troubadours, Morris Dancing with ‘join in’ scratch sides, festival feast food, local ales and ciders, arts and crafts stalls, childrens activities, milk shakes and soda bar, Ukulele workshops for all levels, and I am reliably informed that they have procured 24 ukuleles so if you ever fancied a go, now’s your chance ! The performers range from the local Under 10′s ceilidh group to 72 yr old Chuck Owston from Pennsylvania ! and they are delighted that this age range is reflected in the ticket sales so far!

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Facebook offer for discounted musicians’ tickets!

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As many of you know, Folkstock Festival will be offering ‘sign up on the day’ slots of 2 or 3 songs a time at the Flaming June’s Troubadours gazebo. Many of my Twitter followers have been asking if there is a possibility of playing at Folkstock, and at this stage in the planning, via the Flaming June’s Troubadours is certainly the best way to get involved.

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To add to this, Folkstock has decided to launch an opportunity for musicians to receive discounted tickets with the view to perform an on the day slot. To find out how to be in with a chance of taking advantage of this offer, head to our Facebook Page. Good luck!

What’s All The Noise About?

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*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!

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Music and Lights – Musings and Images

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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“[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.

Luke Jackon’s Song writing Inspirations

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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!