How does a village of less than three hundred pull in musicians of international pedigree to play in a big tent on the village green ? That’s what many of the hundreds of visitors to Castle Carrock’s third Music on the Marr were left shaking their heads about as Peggy Seeger, Larkin Poe, Braebach and so many more besides put on a truly stunning weekend to remember.
Blessed with dry weather and with bunting, the whiff of a hog roast and locally brewed beer, the weekend had something for everyone.
Thursday evening was an experiment. The Music in the Hat concert simply asked people to pay what they wanted. We were treated to Ethan Thomas, the gentle melodeon of Ray Langton, the enigmatic and profoundly gifted Jon Brindley and the best performance by local favourites Hadrian’s Union I’ve ever seen. The notes – both financial and musical – rolled in. And that was just the start of it.
Delightful acoustic sessions in the church on Friday warmed up the gathering crowd for the main marquee in the evening. The music simply built and built. Winners of the 2012 Radio 2 Folk Best Duo award Brendan Power and Tim Edey’s astonishing virtuosity on harmonica, guitar and melodeon sticks in the memory, as does the beautiful Scottish melodies of Braebach. But it was Swiss trio Mama Rosin that brought the dancers to their feet as their frenetic, infectious, blend of Cajun music meshed rock with punk with the traditional. An astonishing performance.
Saturday began with musical workshops and as the sun blazed down, the gentle murmurings of gamelan gongs filtered across the village green, welcoming home competitors from the two mile Round the Reservoir Race as well as the Geltsdale walk. All part of making this festival very intimate, very local and very family friendly. Giving access to young peopleis an enduring strength of this festival. The village school choir and the quality of the Young Musicians Showcase demonstrated just how much young talent there is in these parts.
Finally the evening variety in the heaving main tent showed the pulling power that this festival now has. Too many to mention individually. But from legendary folk royalty Roy Bailey and Peggy Seeger to the sea shanties of Kimber’s Men to Georgian Newgrass sensations Larkin Poe and their fabulous band, the talk was of the best Music on the Marr yet.
Music on the Marr mixes local with international, traditional with modern, young with old. That’s how this village does it. The festival t shirts simply said “Castle Carrock – please dance”. Believe you me, there wasn’t much need to ask.
See here for pictures and films from the weekend.