How we started Kimpton Folk Festival - by Annie New
Kimpton is a very special village. It’s extraordinary just how much talent there is, whether it’s gardening, water colour...or music! The regular folk sessions at local pubs, particularly The Boot, attract folkies from across the county but the core group are all Kimptonites (or those whom we have adopted like June, John and Richard).
I am not a musician at all, but have faithfully supported, foot stamped and thoroughly enjoyed the music in Kimpton for years. Every session has a different feel, and each offers something special and surprising. After a particularly fabulous evening the words ‘why don’t we have our own folk festival’ slipped off the lips so easily. Crikey, who knew what would be the result?
Anyone who attended our inaugural festival in 2016 found out!
With heroic dedication and commitment a team of enthusiasts for this first festival stepped up and met on an almost weekly basis for the next 12 months. What started out as an idea based on a gazebo, hog roast and a few local artists leapt to a vision of a 4 stage Glastonbury-like extravaganza and then in reality was a quite spectacular village-based festival in 2016. Only if you have organised an event like this from scratch can you truly appreciate what an enormous learning curve we all tumbled along. Oh, we were so naive in those early days.
Realising the dream seemed, on first appearance, to be a hop skip and a jump away. The reality was naturally very different with a plethora of policies and procedures to write and adopt, permissions and support to seek. Each committee member undertook a specific role and slowly we began to sow the seeds, nurture the dream and finally came to realise that we could actually pull it all off.
A festival isn’t a concert, so there are a myriad other things to consider from parking to food to adding the ‘loveliness’ to make our festival unique to our village. For me, it was all about letting the wider world know just what a bloomin’ fantastic genre folk is and the fact that it’s not all bearded men in sandals. Well, there are quite a few of them, but that’s not all; folk embraces young and old, tall and short, beards and bald! A key thing was to celebrate our local talent and also introduce new acts too.
The amazing performances by young folk musicians last year was simply wonderful and absolutely demonstrated that folk music has a huge amount of talent to grow the folk scene for years to come.
Realising the dream has been about great tenacity, great team work, great patience and persistence and above all about the awesome music that we want to share. It is testament to our first success that we are now quickly approaching our second on July 1st with the most fantastic line up and festival on offer.