Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Folk Forest

It’s no secret that I think Sheffield is the greatest city on earth. I’ve been to Paris, Berlin, London and Amsterdam, loved them all (especially Berlin) but I’d still rather live in Sheffield. It’s just the right size, a bit above 500,000 people at last count, it has a long history of sport and music, it has a ridiculous number of hills and most importantly it is so beautifully green.

You can make it from a point about 20 minutes walk outside the city centre to the countryside solely walking through the many parks and barely having to cross any roads. That’s incredible to me, a busy city with an industrial past, yet absolutely covered in parks and gardens. Within 5 minutes of leaving my house I can either be in the countryside or at the top of a hill from which I am able to look out across half of the city.

This photo isn't one of my own, I googled views of Sheffield from Crookes and this came up, but it's a photo which perfectly summed up my point; I could leave right now and be in the spot where the photographer who took this shot was stood within at most 10 minutes.

This weekend Sheffield has hosted Tramlines festival, one of, if not THE, biggest free music festival in the country, where bands are playing in a range of open spaces, bars and clubs. It’s sad but I haven’t been able to do the festival justice this year, I went for a wander in town yesterday but for various reasons I didn’t get to see Los Campesinos or The Crookes, the two main bands I really wanted to see this weekend.

However there was an hour this evening that almost made up for the disappointment of missing out on the rest of the festival. I went to one of my favourite parks in the city, Endcliffe Park, to experience the final hour of what the festival organisers were calling ‘The Folk Forest’. That hour was a performance by Martin Simpson in a small area enclosed by trees and a almost too picturesque stream. I’m going to try and upload a video I recorded in the next couple of days, but for now you’ll just have to try and picture what a folk legend playing in a woodland glade as the sun begins to set.

It was one of those moments that come all too rarely, where everything possible seems to have come together to create the kind of moments you picture in advance but never actually believe will take place.

So in conclusion I didn’t do justice to Tramlines this year but there was an hour this Sunday evening which almost made up for it. And perhaps one perfect hour is actually better than two days worth of trying too hard to enjoy a festival. No I’d rather have spent the entire weekend at the festival, but I will be grateful for what I did enjoy.

Today's song is one of the ones Simpson played this evening, a song that showcases the kind of music he makes and just how good a guitarist he is.

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