Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around / I’m gonna keep on walking, talking, singing, hoping, praying, saying, voting, voting, voting / marching to the freedom land”, sang Rhiannon Giddens in the closing minutes of the 54th Cambridge Folk Festival, accompanied by a stage filled with her curated acts and an audience which heaved at the seams of the Club Tent. This chorale was not only conclusive testament to the sparkling success of Giddens’ role as Guest Curator for this year’s Festival, but also to the sure-footed stride forward this weekend was; for the Festival and for the future of folk music. Setting the pace for other festivals to follow suit, the line-up offered a 60:40 split of female:male acts, the Festival already excelling their pledge alongside the PRS Foundation’s goal of a 50:50 ratio in festival line-ups by 2022. Giddens’ own main stage set on the Saturday night, and the acts she curated – the legendary Peggy Seeger, Amythyst Kiah, Bristol’s own Yola Carter, Kaia Kater and Birds of Chicago – raised up to a whole new level the values of diversity and commonality between audience and artist; values which have been beating steadily at the heart of the Festival for years.
On stage 2, home of the up-and-comers and a safe bet for stumbling across your new favourite band, Norwich-based Morganway delivered an energetic and promising alt-country opener with stunning vocals. Over on the main stage New Zealander Marlon Williams, a contemporary hybrid of Roy Orbison and Jeff Buckley, crooned through a set of songs from his latest album Make Way For Love with such ease and distinction that even the moody layers of electric guitar couldn’t stop the audience from swooning[ . . . ]
Continue reading at FORFOLKSSAKE: Live | Cambridge Folk Festival 2018 | For Folk’s Sake