Upton Country Park, Poole

Folkish Festival

The Folkish Festival is project of six students from The Arts University in Bournemouth, headed up by Jamie Lilycrop. It is part of their final major project for the course, BA (Hons) Creative Events Management. The event is situated in the beautiful location of Upton Country Park, just nestled between Creekmoor and Upton in Poole, Dorset. The students to start with had a massive mountain to climb as Upton Country Park has only previously put on a couple of music festivals of this type before and the owners needed many reassurances in place before letting the event go ahead.

The six students and a hefty team of volunteers worked around the clock to make sure things were all in place before the big day arrived. There was even a contingency plan in place in case of heavy rain and Mr Kyps live music venue was put on the reserve list just in case. The morning of the festival arrives and we are thankfully blessed with lots of late spring sunshine.

The gates open just before noon and this festival that last year was just an idea, has suddenly become a reality. The students in their smart personalised hi-vis bibs are busily rushing around making sure everything runs like clockwork. I was kindly invited to host the event; stage managing and introducing the acts, making sure the timings all go to plan. The festival is officially opened in style by the distinguished town Cryer of Wimborne Chris Brown. He introduces the first act of the day, local singer Chiani Riberio to the stage. Chiani; along with her guitarist, starts things in style with a few choice covers to warm up the audience. Her delightful voice works well with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers number “Zephyr Song”, along with a nice version of “Rip Tide”.

Chiani Riberio
Chiani Riberio 

Next up is Ben Cipolla, an artist who is no stranger to festival crowds. His chilled-out style and well controlled performance thrills from the start. With songs like the beautiful “Cocoa Butterfly” and the lovely titled “Felicity Fandango” his angelic voice gently floats over the audience, who take in every note willingly. Ben plays just a six string acoustic guitar and creates some stunning music that is perfect for an event such as this.

Ben Cipolla
Ben Cipolla 

James King; despite a horrendous error in the date of this event, arrived on stage at the correct time! This rated London singer/songwriter brings his own style of acoustic goodness to the Folkish Festival. His well-crafted original songs such as “Driftwood” and “The Riddle” continue the gentle momentum before he ups the pace with a skilful mashup of The Beatles and Johnny Cash.

James King
James King 

The first band of the day are Southampton’s “Threepenny Bit”, who today are a seven-piece folk/instrumental ensemble playing some fantastic traditional danceable tunes. Using a collection of various instruments including Violin, flute accordion, Clarinet, guitars, bass and drums they bring happy uplifting vibes to the day and get people off their picnic blankets and up dancing. In a complete contrast “Casual Attire”; a rock band from Newbury, turn up the volume trying to shake the very foundations of Upton House. The three-piece play some tunes from their new EP “Hidden Depth” including a notable one called “Escalate” which shows some neatly executed guitar skills.

Threepenny Bit
Threepenny Bit 

Bournemouth’s “Harpin’ On” arrive on the stage with the sun still shining and the audience ready for their style of unique harp-led swamp/blues. Frontman “Little Dave”; in his trademark dark sunglasses with his Elvis-style quiffed hair, leads from the front with some supremely executed harp skills. They are a band that cannot really be pigeon-holed as they have a host of influences from many areas of the music world, just perfect for an eclectic event such as this. After a great 30 minutes on stage the band end with an earworm of a song called “Swings & Roundabouts”, which combines an infectious guitar riff with the great sounding Blues Harp. The band leave the stage to much appreciation from the delighted audience.

Harpin' On
Harpin’ On 

Things seem to step up a notch next when the “CC Smugglers” arrive on stage. Lead singer Mr. Richie Prynne vows before going on stage that he would get everyone out of their chairs dancing before the end of their set. As the band started their set with the fiddle-led infectious tune “Lydia”, feet started to tap and hands started to clap. Richie is indeed an amazing frontman and does everything he vowed to do-getting every member in the audience involved with the CC Smugglers experience. You cannot help but enjoy their upbeat tunes in the very positive way that the whole band collectively deliver. The crowd by the end of their set were indeed, all at the front of the stage; dancing energetically to a really special band.

CC Smugglers
CC Smugglers 12

“Tankus The Henge” are a band that much of the audience have come to see here tonight. With their genre-busting unique style they are sure to continue the high momentum. Their footstompin’ rock ‘n’ roll soon has the grounds of this country park rocking with tunes that show the band are indeed on a journey to the top. Lead vocalist and piano player Jaz Delorean has masses of positive energy emitting from his musical soul and cannot stop moving. He leaps on top of his piano, defying all health and safety rules just to create an exciting edge to the show. The audience sing along with the infectious lyrics of the brilliant “Cakewalk” and the band’s great new single “Smiling Makes the Day Go Quicker”. A truly inspirational and unforgettable musical experience that will live long in the hearts and minds of tonight’s audience.

Tankus The Henge
Tankus The Henge 12

The last band of the night are south wales “Roots n’ Roll” sensations “Rusty Shackle”, who have a very difficult job following “Tankus”. The darkness has descended here and the cold has set in, so what the audience need is more up-tempo music to keep them warm. Rusty Shackle deliver on all levels from the first to the last tune; with the combination of electric and acoustic guitars, coupled with Scott McKeon’s notable violin skills. The band have some huge tunes including the radio friendly “When the Morning Comes” and the dazzling “Down to the Valley”, which thoroughly entertain the audience throughout the whole of their set.

Rusty Shackle
Rusty Shackle 123

A truly fantastic day that proves that 6 students can produce a festival that delivers on virtually every level, with a little help from their friends and family. Now Stand up Jamie Lillycrop – Project Manager, Alex Budd – Site, Health and Safety Coordinator, Hattie Ford – Marketing and Trader Coordinator, Steph Ballett – Marketing and Trader Coordinator, Flora Kinch-Waugh – Artist Liaison and Logistics Coordinator, May Nguyen – Technical Support and Logistics Coordinator and Flora Kinch-Waugh – Artist Liaison and Logistics Coordinator-take your applause, you all did an amazing job……….let’s all do it again soon.

Revellers! 12345



Words, Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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