Moseley Folk Festival, an idyllic delight within gritty inner suburbia. A place where with one swivel of the head you can digest a near continual diet of eclectic music over the course of thirty hours. A festival with a difference, reaching out across a broad range of clientele. It attracts the dedicated, the casual, the young and the seasoned, but most all it provides a fitting festival finale for the folks of Birmingham and beyond on the first weekend of September.
The 2016 offering retained the blueprint precedent ensuring a spritely mix of the popular, the frivolous, the moving and the influential. It would be a tough ask to buy into the whole package, but that is likely not the organiser’s ideal. It is often wondered whether the high profile headliners are essential for festival viability and perhaps that notion will remain eternally unanswered. Anyhow the true spirit of Moseley Folk Festival from a personal perspective lies within a band of bookings threaded by an intense bout of devoted observation. Artists that reward a listener digging a little deeper.
Before we continue to reflect on the music that matters, a quick mention for the three headliners. Preceding The Proclaimers by a day was The Coral with their slightly more youthful attraction and fairly newbie status as a retro act. A band at their peak when my mind was musically diverted elsewhere, they were given an open intriguing listen and probably peaked with the more indulgent new material. If The Proclaimers are the eighties, The Coral are the noughties, then the early nineties saw The Levellers at their commercial peak. Their brand of high octane folk/indie/punk rolled back the years on Friday night, mosh pit et al.
There will always be a local flavour to the Moseley Folk Festival and 2016 was no different. Prominent Birmingham singer-songwriter Dan Whitehouse was awarded a main stage slot on Friday afternoon and used the set to share some songs from his freshly released album. Sunday afternoon saw a tribute to the late and extremely popular Birmingham musician Paul Murphy with some of the artists who had worked with him curating a tribute on the Lunar Stage. These included singer-songwriter Katie Bennett and architect of an excellent new album this year, Abi Budgen who played a solo set on the same stage last year and Amit Dattani, a regular on the Birmingham music scene with his band Mellow Peaches.
As we head towards the final detailed festival mentions, it’s full respect to every artist, musician, songwriter and performer who appeared across the weekend. Each playing the part of keeping the spirit of live music alive and having the creative intent to share their work with an audience, of which many will find their niche.
|Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop|
|This is the Kit|
The time as arrived to draw the curtain on the 2016 Moseley Folk Festival and close the artist reflection book. On the surface, this late summer/early autumn gathering looks set to progress and continue to provide a contrasting rural-urban musical feast. Maybe it will always gamble the weather, logistics restricting the marquee route, and balance the line up with a steady mix of the familiar and those artists that will be by the end of the Sunday evening. The festival will continue to reach out and maintain its inclusive remit. Music fans of Birmingham,and its hinterlands, should treasure its existence.