'I'm quite sentimental' - Joy as folk festival finally returns to Cromer

Performers, Lady Hamilton's Party, in action at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier event. From left,

Performers, Lady Hamilton's Party, in action at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier event. From left, Nicky Stockman, Georgia Philip, and Sarah O'Neill. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The sea breeze is mingling with the sound of music this weekend as the Folk on the Pier festival returns to Cromer. 

Scott Butler, who founded the event in 1999 and still organises it today, said he was "choked up" about the festival being back for the first time since 2019. 

Mr Butler, from Overstrand, said: "I'm delighted and quite sentimental about being back after the lockdown because there were moments when I thought we might lose it, and could have easily have gone that way.

Scott Butler, producer and creator of the Folk on the Pier show at the Cromer Pavillion Theatre.

Scott Butler, producer and creator of the Folk on the Pier show at the Cromer Pavillion Theatre. - Credit: Denise Bradley

"But the faithful kept their ticket money in the box office, and everybody is really enthusiastic about being back after what has been three years of hiatus. 

"The artists have been playing their socks off because a lot of them haven't played much in the past few years."

The festival is centred around Cromer Pier's Pavilion Theatre - dubbed 'the best gig on the North Sea' - but there are other free performances happening around the town. 

People packed out the Garden Street community centre to hear shanty groups sing as part of the Folk off the Pier fringe programme. 

Performers, Lady Hamilton's Party, in action at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier event. From left,

Performers, Lady Hamilton's Party, in action at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier event. From left, Nicky Stockman, Georgia Philip, and Sarah O'Neill. - Credit: Denise Bradley

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Being run for the first time this year as a separate, not-for-profit event, Folk off the Pier gigs have taken place at the Henry Blogg Museum, Cromer Social Club, the Albion and White Horse pubs and many other venues. 

Fiona Davies, from the Folk off the Pier committee, said: "This is all about bringing some wellbeing into the town for everyone, and for the musicians as well, who have had it harder than most." 

Shantymen, Pot of Gold, from Swaffham, sing at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the P

Shantymen, Pot of Gold, from Swaffham, sing at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Morris dancers jangled through traditional dance numbers in front of the parish church, and buskers young and old played on the seafront and streets. 

Brian Antuar, squire of the Holt Ridge Morris side, said their audience had been welcoming. Mr Antaur, from High Kelling, said: "We do what's called Cotswold Morris, it's a particular style of dancing. We use hankies and sticks, but we don't colour our faces or wear tattercoats."

Events continue around the town today (Sunday), and this evening's highlight will be a sold-out gig at the pier, headlined by folk rock legends Fairport Convention. 

Performers, Lady Hamilton's Party, in action at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier event. From left,

Performers, Lady Hamilton's Party, in action at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier event. From left, Nicky Stockman, Georgia Philip, and Sarah O'Neill. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The Holt Ridge Morris dancers perform at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier ev

The Holt Ridge Morris dancers perform at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The Holt Ridge Morris dancers perform at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier ev

The Holt Ridge Morris dancers perform at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Holt Ridge Morris dancers perform at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event.

Holt Ridge Morris dancers perform at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Scarlett Galdo, 14, plays with her uncle, Chris Moorhouse at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and

Scarlett Galdo, 14, plays with her uncle, Chris Moorhouse at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The Browns, Vernon and Annie Brown, play in the Pavillion bar at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier

The Browns, Vernon and Annie Brown, play in the Pavillion bar at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The Shackleton Trio sing at Cromer Pavillion Theatre in the Folk on the Pier event.

The Shackleton Trio sing at Cromer Pavillion Theatre in the Folk on the Pier event. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Bertie Anderson Haggart plays at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event.

Bertie Anderson Haggart plays at Cromer during the Folk on the Pier and Folk off the Pier event. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Fiona Davies, from Folk off the Pier. 

Fiona Davies, from Folk off the Pier. - Credit: Stuart Anderson