Cambridge Folk Festival Sunday Highlights: Songs sung from the heart

Blazin Fiddles

Blazin Fiddles - Credit: Archant

For those who still had some energy left on the third day of the festival, Blazin’ Fiddles put on a riotous ceilidh for those in the tent covering the main stage on Sunday afternoon.

Imelda May

Imelda May - Credit: Archant

The Scottish folk violin, guitar and piano was irresistible and had most of the marquee dancing.

Though the band knew that by now a lot of people just wanted to sit in the sun with their Sunday newspapers. “Those at the back, have you done the crossword yet?” came the understanding call from the stage.

It didn’t matter, there were plenty of people on their feet and some circling round each other in a reel.

At the close of the day, contrasting bands sent the crowds off into the night.

This is the Kit

This is the Kit - Credit: Archant


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On Stage One, Imelda May and her firey musicians rocked their hearts out with new songs written by her but resonating the sounds of rock from the 1960s. It was absolutely magnificent.

The powerfully voiced young woman from Dublin has departed from the 1940s look with her hair in victory rolls she had when she sang Johnny Got a Boom Boom.

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Now the music and the look have moved into the sixties. Her dark hair is in a straight shoulder-length style with a fringe and she wore a little black sleeveless shift dress worn with stiletto heeled ankle boots.

She belts out numbers, always singing from the heart. This is modern gospel. It was a stella performance. For one of the slower numbers, she had the thousands of people in the audience as her gentle backing singers, chorusing “you can’t always get what you want”. She was definitely what they wanted. It was a bravura show.

Meanwhile, over in Stage Two, This is The Kit, another young woman who writes her own songs, presented an acoustic set with heart-felt ballads about love and loss and life and overcoming all of it.

Kit is Kate Stables who has been quietly building up a reputation with her band but is not yet a known name outside BBC 6 Music.

A few minutes before her set began, the tent was almost empty. But it was full before it started and the audience loved what they heard.

Her band is a blend of strings and saxophone and her songs are wistful, hopeful and wholesome. This was Kit’s second time at the festival. The first time was in 2011 in the Den, the smaller tent for up and coming artists.

She has earned her place on bigger stages. This festival is not just about legends and stars, it is about promise. The promise that it will go on delighting audiences for another 50 years. Young performers are the festival’s gift to the future.

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