DARLINGTON FOLK CLUB AT SPRING THING 2001
Review by Tom Hughes Courtesy of Folk Roundabout
The sixteenth Spring Thing (March 14th - 18th 2001) carried on where the previous fifteen weekends have built up a solid reputation for presenting a few days of folk music song and dance for all the family. Old ideas that did not work or were becoming rusty were replaced by new innovations but the basic foundation of singarounds, concerts, dance events and family theme remained. Should you like, it is possible to attend 'Spring Thing-' from Friday through to Sunday night and not spend a penny as all singarounds are free, as are many other events.
A new idea for 2001 was the 'Young Person's Acoustic Music' session held on Wednesday. This proved an enormous success, 'House Full'. Emma Wisker and Terrianne Hauxwell (age 14) did a brilliant job presenting the evening and hopefully future young folkies were introduced to a folk festival environment.
The folk club concert on Thursday featured Tony Rose and Synergy. A cracking concert with Synergy in fine form and how nice it is to hear the great Tony Rose back in folk clubs, he is one of the best presenters of folk song still.
The Friday ceilidh with Accordance started dance events in grand style and the Wilsons' singaround in the Garden Bar set a melodious tone to Spring Thing singarounds.
Saturday was a very busy day for all, the dancers took 'Spring Thing' into the town centre in the morning and kept dancing in the afternoon, presenting their party pieces in the theatre. Zena Tubman showed children how to make a Thumb Piano, Liz Robertson showed a roomful of people how to juggle, Tony Wilson led a brilliant musicians session, Paul Lucas, Steve Dawes and Helen Pift, Dave Myers, Liz and Steve all did a sterling job at the singarounds. One of the increasingly popular events is Nebula's live plugged concert in the real ale bar. Roly and Hutch continue to do a great job presenting this concert in a challenging setting. All the performers were well appreciated, Sad Pig, Synergy, Steve and Helen, Rick Huddleston and the excellent Nebula.
The evening sell-out concert had a brilliant line up, the incredibly funny Keith Donnelly, our own brilliant harmony singers The Wilson Family, Sad Pig who are one of the best contemporary folk duos around, the great Tony Rose and newcomer to the festival, Peter Hughes who delighted the audience with his shafts of wit and fine singing. MC Annette Huddleston did a fine job keeping the evening flowing smoothly.
In the theatre on Saturday John Ward and Mario Price's ceilidh band Skip Hire put on a top draw St. Patrick's Night dance, a sell out ceilidh with the band on top form. Sunday saw singarounds led by Dave Walker, Teresa Tooley, workshops led by John Ward, Mario Price, Terry Wisker, Christine Williamson, Black Sheep Morris, Tracy Appfeyard, another great musicians' session led by Tony Wilson. Malcom Wood delighted children with his traditional Punch and Judy shows and Dave Myers won the Brian Whitmee trophy.
An outstanding line-up put on a great Sunday afternoon concert in the Garden Bar, another sell out. The concert was started off with some vintage 70s contemporary folk nostalgia by The Hughes Brothers, a family reunion of a class act. Tony Wilson, home grown talent of the highest order played a great set, as did John Ward and Mario Price representing Southern England. Sad Pig further enforced a growing reputation for top quality harmony singing and Synergy went down well on 'home ground'. The concert was brought to a rousing end by the marvellous Wilson Family; we are lucky to have the Wisons on our doorstep and their contribution to this year's 'Thing' was invaluable; their input and performances of the highest standard. This concert was a joy from start to finish, feedback has been very positive, a true folk festival experience to savour.
Sad Pig began the Sunday evening concert in fine style and Salsa Ce presented an exciting blend of South American rhythms fused with Scottish Celti influences, the audience danced themselves into exhaustion and Salsa Ce were kept on the stage long after the appointed finishing time.
Back in the foyer the survivors' singaround brought the festival to a lively end. As the stalls packed up, people reluctantly wandered off into the night, a warm but sad feeling prevailed. PFFS syndrome ( post folk festival sadness syndrome) can only be cured by the continuance of folk festivals and long may all festivals continue.
and here's to next year's Spring Thing.