We are so lucky to have the world-class Shrewsbury Folk Festival right on our doorstep. Rachael Dorrell spoke to festival enthusiast and photographer Steve Oliver about taking the family on a Folk Festival mini break this August 26-29. Picture Credit: Steve Oliver (above) James Warman (below)
Photographer Steve Oliver discovered the Shrewsbury Folk Festival six years ago when he was asked to take some pictures. Despite not being a traditional ‘folkie’, he was immediately won over by the atmosphere, the variety and quality of the music on offer and the joy of being part of a world-class festival. Now, he and his family go ‘all-in’ every August at the West Mid Showground, and recommend taking a tent to get the full-on experience.
“It’s a fabulous opportunity to introduce the whole family to festival fun, right on our doorstep, with camping and glamping available on site,” he said. “The atmosphere is amazing – it’s good-natured, family-friendly, with everyone having a really great time.”
He’s not alone in that – lots of local families from Shrewsbury and wider Shropshire are increasingly choosing to camp to have a mini festival break close to home. And the lineup at the festival is simply jaw-dropping – the breadth of the music and international pedigree of the artists puts Shrewsbury Folk Festival in a league with the UK’s biggest festivals, of the likes of Bestival, Glasto and Latitude.
Acts this August 26-29 will include folk legend Judy Collins, Scottish sensations Skerryvore, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Black Umfolosi, the Rodeo Kings and many, many more!
WIN a family day ticket to the Folk Festival
All you have to do is answer: Name three acts that will be at Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2022.
Please email answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Thursday, August 4th, 2022. The winner will be able to choose a day to suit them (Aug 26 - 29).
“If you’re a music lover in general, you would be amazed how much cross-over there is from other genres in the folk scene,” Steve said. “Hand on heart, I can’t say I was into folk music, I wasn’t going as a folk fan, but now I have an appreciation and longing for the event each year. I look forward to every part of it, particularly the dance tent and letting my inhibitions go!”
Steve has taken his children, now aged 17 and 19, since they were quite young and loves the activities on offer for families: “From first thing in the morning until late at night children are out enjoying themselves, there’s no time limit,” he says.
Whether they’re dancing, singing or learning to play an instrument, doing gymnastics, yoga, face painting or lantern making – ready for the lantern parade that happens at dusk – they are kept busy all day, so mum and dad can enjoy the awesome music on offer. Steve recommends camping at the festival, even if you only live 10 minutes away: “It’s the best way to fully indulge in the atmosphere and make the most of what’s on offer. “We love waking up and hearing the bands kicking off on The Village stage!”
His family likes to camp close to the action, to hear the entertainment from their tents, but there’s a quiet zone too. “The festival is so full of colour and fun, with brilliant music everywhere. We love the huge choice of food stalls and the smell of the late night chip van! “As soon as you get your wristband on, your mind changes. The rest of the world stays outside the festival. A highlight for this year’s festival will probably be something I’ve not yet seen – a new performer, a new set or collaboration. “My top tip for attending the festival is to go with an open mind and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.”
For more information on the festival visit www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk