Folk fans flock to Cromer festival

Ed FossThree days of acoustic-roots world music, folk-rock and blues came to a close on Sunday night in Cromer after a mixed bag of weather but a warmly received set of performances.Ed Foss

Three days of acoustic-roots world music, folk-rock and blues came to a close on Sunday night in Cromer after a mixed bag of weather but a warmly received set of performances.

The 12th annual Folk on the Pier event combined a mixture of shows in the pier's Pavilion Theatre with a busy fringe programme happening at local pubs, clubs and hotels.

A wet and gloomy Friday and Saturday gave way to a chilly but blue skied Sunday meaning that throughout people were happier indoors than outdoors.

Busking on Friday and Saturday suffered from the weather, but despite the low temperatures some of the outdoor events still went ahead and were appreciated by the crowds, such as a set of drummers open to the elements on the pier itself on Sunday.


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Headlining was Feast of Fiddles, half a dozen of the UK's finest players with a folk-rock backing.

A number of favourites returned from the English Folk-Rock world including Ashley Hutchings and Ken Nicol, Little Johnny England, Steeleye Span's Peter Knight with his trio Gigspanner and Kevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton.

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Festival favourites ColvinQuarmby came back by popular demand after their popular performance last year.

Festival director Scott Butler said the event, which earlier in the year enjoyed its fastest ever ticket sales, had been successful despite the loss of some of the busking.

'The inclement weather affected particularly the busking, but according to most of the people attending who have talked to me, the indoor shows themselves created one of the best ever Folk on the Pier events.'

Nearly 200 tickets had already been sold for 2011, added Mr Butler.

'I think the most satisfying thing for me is the fact that the operation behind the event, the car parking, the kit moving and the sound checking, is extremely well oiled now and we are well known in the folk world for that fact.'

The main ongoing difficulty was the lack of accommodation in Cromer for musicians, especially since the Anglia Court Hotel closed, said Mr Butler, creating a 'major headache' during the organisation process.

A new double CD set was being launched at the event. It has been created by Mr Butler to help raise funds towards the ever-increasing festival costs. Thirty artists have contributed free tracks to the �10 album entitled The Best Gig on the North Sea, which features over two and half hours of acoustic and electric material.

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