The 52nd Cambridge Folk Festival opened like a splendid celebration on Thursday night with musicians who got people on their feet.

Darren EedensDarren Eedens

Thursday, as people arrive and explore the site, usually has an air of anticipation for the weekend to come. There is more mooching about, enjoying the general atmosphere in Cherry Hinton Park than devotion to bands.

Only two of the three large tents are open. The main stage doesn’t function until Friday. But this year, the Club Tent and Stage Two were packed to overflowing and those inside were having a hooley.

In the Club Tent, Darren Eedens and The Slim Pickins gave us a good old American hoedown. It was fast and furious and no one could keep their feet still. Eedens, known for being equally adept on banjo, mandolin and guitar and able to get more note per bar out on an instrument than most people, sang a song while repairing a broken banjo string.

Why stop performing for a small detail like that? Most artists at his level would just hold out the broken instrument at arm’s length and wait for another to be handed to them. Eedens turned it into part of the act and the crowd he had already completely won over, loved him even more.

At the end of the set, they cried: “We want more” and despite the management’s usual strictures on time-keeping, there was more and everyone was delighted.

Over in Stage Two, an even bigger tent was bopping to the Scottish trio Talisk. Again, we were treated to irresistable musicianship.

This was a big, powerful sound from Hayley Keenan on fiddle, concertina player Mohsen Amini and guitarist Craig Irving. It was uplifting and wonderful.