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Kettle Bridge Concertinas

Concertina group based in Maidstone, Kent, UK

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Sidmouth Folk Week  -  Fri 3rd to Fri 10th August 2012

Original photo: Sally Barrett
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Performing in Blackmore Gardens
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Written by Sally George

Some of Kettle Bridge Concertinas attended Sidmouth Folk Week 2012. It may have been only a very small contingent consisting of Liz and Sally plus two honorary members from Norfolk, Paul & Sally Barrett, but we were there and did play and perform during the week.

Sidmouth is a great folk festival. The whole town comes alive with music and dancing; everywhere you go there is a celebration of our great folk heritage going on. It is difficult to walk down the street without bumping into people you know. It is all so friendly and quickly new friends are made. Altogether it seemed like a great party atmosphere and especially good because it enabled Liz and Sally to spend time and enjoy catching up with our Norfolk contingent.

The Kettle Bridge crew could all be seen at the WCCP workshops which were held every morning in All Saints’ Church Hall from 9.30 – 12.30. The concertina band was led by Paul Barrett and a post-beginners group led by Sally Barrett. Both Liz and Sally attended the band workshop with Liz playing baritone and Sally playing treble.

We worked on several pieces of music including ‘Annie Laurie’, ‘Bonny at Morn’, ‘All Hands Around’ and ‘Harmony Moze’. The overall numbers attending were low. This was mostly due to the lack of advertising of the workshops in the festival programme; during the course of the week we met several concertina players who told us they did not know about this event and would have attended had they known. So Kettle Bridge were needed to make our contribution. During the course of the week, Liz found herself at times playing the baritone part solo and Sally was asked by Paul to lead the treble 1 part especially in Harmony Moze, which was a challenge for us. We also joined with Sally Barrett’s group to play ‘My Love is like a Red, Red Rose’. Some other familiar faces were there including friends met at Kilve and Seale-Hayne, which was great.

At the end of the week, we were asked to perform in the Blackmore Gardens which is very much the town centre of the folk activities. It was a scorching hot day but also quite windy, so a trip to the local shops was needed to purchase some pegs to keep the music in place. Even that was not enough and some of us had to use some pebbles that we found in the gardens! We played all the pieces we had been working on. For that performance some other friends (Adrian and Oliver) who had been attending different workshops that week joined us. That was helpful as the sound of the music can "disappear" in the open air. We received several compliments for our playing.

Time had just flown by and it was the end of the week. Very tired but also very fulfilled we all packed up and made our separate journeys home. But we all had booked for next year and so are already looking forward to August 2013.