Returning to the festival Joan Armatrading reconfirms she’s one not to miss. Stepping out unaccompanied, she’s both powerful and sharp, chastising the request for Love and Affection from the crowd with a blunt ‘don’t you know I’ve song Love and Affection in every concert since 1976?’. It’s a fair comment, since she’s proven her ability to span genres over the years, covering blues, rock and folk in various albums. Though those less familiar with her more recent work are later treated to to Love and Affection alongside Drop the Pilot and the timeless Willow, it’s the more recent Stepping Out which highlights her dexterity. Nevertheless it’s Oh Rosie where she really shines, delivering what can only be described as a guitar meltdown in the middle of the set she highlights that she’s not both a formidable songwriter, but also a timeless musician who’s more than earned her accolades.
Elsewhere Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting & Nancy Kerr deliver a selection of songs from Murmurs with Not Even The Ground/Two Ladies featuring Kerr’s sweet vocals, it juxtaposes the songs messages about fracking. Meanwhile Dark Swift and Bright Swallow highlights the trio’s ability to mix and blend vocal leads and harmonies with ease. Though at times in the set Kerr seems to be a bit dwarfed by Simpson and Cutting, the highlight comes in the form of Richmond Cotillion and the meandering harmonies. Elsewhere Angel Hill offers a more distinctive sounds, something the trio term a new genre called ‘Morris Noir’.
In the Club tent it’s mother daughter duo Chris & Kellie While who delight the most. Whether it’s there beautiful cover of Richard Thompson’s Persuasion or Bob Dylan’s Mississippi, they’re able to add new spins on old classic tracks. Meanwhile Wisteria and Angels Share highlight their power to create captivating numbers. The pairs ability to bounce harmonies and vocals off each other highlights the power of their connection filling the tent with beautiful moments, with a soft heartfelt delivery.
Meanwhile another returning band, Keston Cobblers’ Club confirm whey they’ve been rightfully given a place on their years bill. From the Your Mother with it’s pompous beats and rousing vocal harmonies, to the more intricate Lazy Days they’re able to fuse up-tempo beats with more heartfelt harmonies with ease. They pull a massive crowd leaving many unable to access the tent, and proving their rapid growth of followers is highly deserved.