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The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a compassionate, big-hearted coming-of-age drama about the experiences of a gay teenager sent to be ‘cured’ at a conversion therapy centre. Fascinating, wryly comic and beautifully made, the film may disappoint those expecting dramatic tension. God’s Promise camp’s attempts to ‘de-gay’ its campers sometimes sucks the life out of the film, as well as its characters.

Director and co-writer Desiree Akhavan would argue that this is intentional, that it shows the need for young people to have the freedom to express their true selves, whatever their sexuality. So when Cameron (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her friends sing along to a pop song on the radio (What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes), it is hugely liberating for both actors and audience. If this was a Hollywood film then the camp’s director, Miss Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) would join in. But here she just turns off the music.

Chloe Grace Moretz (so good in Kickass) has a wide, handsome face, with luxuriant eyebrows, and we spend much of the film looking at it. She sometimes brings to mind James Dean or Zac Efron, but her default expression is blank. Yes, Cameron is supposed to be cool and confident in her sexuality, but Moretz struggles to convey her conflicted feelings as the camp gets under her skin and her self-possession begins to crumble.

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Based on the bestselling novel by Emily N. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is set in 1993 Montana. In a beautifully composed opening sequence Akhavan shows us a montage of events leading up to her teenage heroine’s arrival at God’s Promise. A teacher at Bible class tells his pupils ‘you’re especially vulnerable to evil. What feels like fun is really the enemy’. Cut to Cameron and best friend Coley getting dressed up for Prom night to a doo-wop tune. Then the awkwardness of photos with her spotty date. Dancing with Coley. Smoking hash in the back of a car with Coley, then kissing, until things become more passionate. At that point, Cam’s spotty date opens the door on them.

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Her foster mother drives her to the camp, convinced that she is doing it out of love, that Cameron’s lesbianism, or Same Sex Attraction (SSA) is some kind of disease that can be cured through therapy, which includes holding hands in a circle, chanting ‘I must be the change’ and listening to earnest Christian rock music.

Camp counsellor Reverend Rick (John Gallagher, Jr) has been cured of SSA himself and his decency and goodness balances the pantomime villainy of his sister, Miss Marsh. But the changing weather passing across Rick’s expressive face makes us aware of his own internal battles.

Exposure to all this makes Cameron doubt herself, but she makes friends with two like-minded campers and together they find the strength to resist indoctrination. ‘I’m tired of feeling disgusted with myself,’ she confides to stoner amputee Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane), who replies ‘Maybe you’re supposed to feel disgusted with yourself when you’re a teenager.’

After tragedy strikes at the end of the film Cameron is wise to the truth: ‘You people don’t know what you doing, do you? You’re just making it up as you go along.’ She asks an investigator ‘how is teaching people to hate themselves not emotional abuse?’

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Spike Lee Q&A

After preview screenings of his latest film, BlacKkKlansman this week, a Q&A session with Spike Lee was broadcast live via satellite link-up to 160 cinemas in the UK, from the BFI Southbank theatre in London.

Looking dapper in panama hat and multicoloured trainers, Spike Lee gave entertaining, if somewhat rambling, answers to the questions posed by the chairperson, audience and via Twitter.

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photo by Louise Walker

How did he come to make BlacKkKlansman?

“Jordan Peele (director of Get Out) called me up, said ‘I want to pitch you a film … high concept: black man infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan’. Then he sent me the book – I was blessed with getting the call to direct his film.”

Working with cinematographer Chayse Irvin, who shot Beyonce’s video for Lemonade, and using 35 mm film, Lee wanted to evoke the look of early Seventies films such as Dog Day Afternoon and The French Connection.

“This is a great theatre,” said Lee, taking in his surroundings, before asking someone in the audience to throw him an iPhone. “Call me an old fuddy duddy,” he says, holding up the phone’s small screen, “but for young people to see 2001 or Bridge over the River Kwai like this … and they watch it like this” (he turns the phone around, from landscape to portrait, in mock outrage).

Why does BlacKkKlansman open with Gone With the Wind?

“It’s one of the greatest shots … we have culture – the Blues, jazz, hip-hop, Nike, Coca-cola … but the biggest thing is TV and cinema … when we saw the reissued film with school we hated that movie.”

The other film is Birth of a Nation …

“That was the first film they showed you. D. W. Griffith, the father of cinema, never discussed how his film rejuvenated the KKK. People got killed because of his film. Directly … we know that people took picnics to lynchings. Those photos [in BlacKkKlansman ] are real, blown-up pictures taken at a lynching”

Can you separate art from the artist?

“One of my favourite films is Last Tango in Paris … and then you read about how Maria Schneider was treated … can you make the separation? It’s hard … cross-cutting – D. W. Griffith invented that shit. We used it in our film” (a Black Power meeting vs. Klan meeting).

He is asked about his use of a double-dolly shots in BlacKkKlansman.

“… Charlottesville happened before we started shooting … I needed a shot to get us from the 70s to the present day … needed something to make that 40-year jump. We wanted to make a contemporary period film, something to make the connection between then and what is happening all over the world – the rise of the Right being led by Agent Orange – I won’t say his name.”

Question on Twitter: What’s your take on those who refuse to be political?

“My opinion as an artist is if you choose not to include politics [in your work], that’s a political action in itself.”

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photo by Louise Walker

In your films, such as Do the Right Thing, you have chronicled the journey of the African-American people.

“I want to tell stories of the African-American experience. It’s the bedrock of what I do.”

A member of the audience asks him again about Birth of a Nation, which can be seen as a racist piece of work, but also as an important picture.

“I think we should talk about it … I never said you shouldn’t read Huck Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird, with their use of the n word … it’s about background, subtext … [The Klan is] red, white and blue homegrown American terrorism. These groups are terrorists. When there’s a school shooting, with the gun lobby, it’s two days of mourning, then back to business. We need sensible gun laws – there’s no reason why you should be able to use a semi-automatic gun.”

Do you ever think, ‘what could my work do to help?’

“I talked to Scorcese about Travis Bickle. Enter the Dragon … 5,000 people coming out of the cinema doing flying kicks, knocking each other out with nunchucks … Man … these people are doing this because of a film. It is not to be played with – you have to be careful and responsible.”

What is the takeaway from this film?

“People need to register to vote. I hope this picture will give somebody a little push.”

An American in the audience, who grew up in Colorado, says that ‘we don’t think of these places as being Klan places.’

“The American West is where the concentration camps are – I don’t call them reservations … that’s why I’ve never loved Westerns. I’m not a fan of John Wayne or John Ford and their portrayal of Native Americans. The foundation of the US is genocide against Native people, and slavery. A lot of people think that the Civil War is not over. They chose Charlottesville because of the statue of [Confederate leader] Robert E. Lee.”

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Spike Lee’s account of African-American detective Ron Stallworth’s efforts to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan during the 1970s is furiously funny and hugely entertaining. Given its serious subject matter, BlacKkKlansman really shouldn’t be so much fun to watch, but as Lee tells us in the film’s title captions, this surreal and farcical story is ‘based upon some fo’ real, fo’ real shit’.

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Lee pokes fun at the film’s ridiculous racists with humour and style, then finally drives his point home using real photographs and video footage, jolting his audience awake to both past and present racist violence.

When Ron (John David Washington, son of Denzel) applies to become a police officer in Colorado Springs he is asked ‘if someone called you nigger, would you turn the other cheek?’ Articulate and resilient, the cool dude with the halo afro proves himself capable of this and more, asking for undercover assignments, even willing to ‘chop down the natural’ (have a haircut) to progress.

When he notices a recruitment ad for the Ku Klux Klan in a local paper Ron decides to give them a ring. So begins an unlikely pairing, as the detective seeks to infiltrate and disrupt the local hate group from within. To get around obvious obstacles, ‘Ron Stallworth’ takes on a dual persona: real Ron on the phone and colleague Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) in face-to-face meetings. ‘With the right white man,’ says Ron, ‘we can do anything.’

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First they have to fool the ‘organisation’, which seems stupidly easy. But among the ramshackle rednecks is weasel-faced Felix (Jasper Pääkkönen), who has a nose for non-Aryans and his own lie-detector machine to winkle them out. His wife Connie (Ashlie Atkinson), with her ‘homely’ hair and big-ribboned dresses, is equally up for the race war. On the eve of a planned bombing, her pillow talk is passionate: ‘we’ve been talking about killing niggers for years. This could be the new Boston Tea Party.’

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Washington and Driver are both excellent, fluent and natural in the way they handle Lee’s quickfire dialogue. We get a sense of depth, with each character battling his own issues around race (Flip is Jewish), identity and working within the system. Until its tonal shift at the end, BlacKkKlansman feels like a comic thriller, with Buddy Cop elements, and can be enjoyed as such. It also features a rather sweet romance between Ron and student activist Patrice (Laura Harrier).

But this being Professor of film Spike Lee, there’s much more going on. He uses clips of ‘classic’ films to show cinema’s own collusion in fostering racism. BlacKkKlansman starts with a famous scene from Gone With the Wind (1939), the camera sweeping over the American Civil War’s dead and wounded, tattered Confederate flag at the edge of the frame. Cut to a mocked-up vintage film of a fictional white supremacist Dr Kennebrew Beauregard (Alec Baldwin) spewing racist vitriol and stoking paranoia (‘we are under attack’), accompanied by shots from The Birth of a Nation (1915).

In one of BlacKkKlansman‘s most memorable scenes members of the Klan sit watching D.W. Griffith’s silent cinematic landmark (originally called The Clansman), munching on popcorn and cheering their hooded heroes. This is the film credited with rejuvenating the KKK, who were a spent force at the time, and it lead directly to racist murder.

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At the end of BlacKkKlansman the link between the 1970s and the present is made explicit, with video footage taken at the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in Virginia, in which protester Heather Heyer was murdered. KKK leader David Duke, who appears as a character in Lee’s film, is interviewed at the rally, and we also see President Trump’s revealing response (‘very fine people on both sides’).

Spike Lee might be preaching to the converted but he is also on a mission to get people to register to vote, so that America can be free of the toxic ‘Agent Orange’ (Lee’s nickname for Trump). The fight against institutionalized racism, police brutality and ‘red, white and blue homegrown terrorism’ continues.

Stylistically, BlacKkKlansman is shot in grainy 35 mm to emulate the look of Spike Lee’s favourite Seventies movies such as The French Connection and Dog Day Afternoon. The saturated colours during its disco scene bring to mind Scorcese’s Mean Streets, and BlacKkKlansman features a jukebox soundtrack to match. Always a pleasure to hear Jean Knight’s Mr Big Stuff and The Temptations’ Ball of Confusion, but even better to hear a new (to me) soul gem, 1972’s It’s Too Late to Turn Back Now (Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose).

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Movies on the Meadows 2018

This August Bank Holiday weekend (24th-27th August), the 10th edition of Movies on the Meadows will bring more than 12 films, over 4 nights, to the picturesque setting of Grantchester Meadows, promising ‘magical nights’ and ‘millions of stars’.

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In 2017 over 3,000 people enjoyed the largest outdoor screening event in UK and 2018 promises to be bigger and better than ever. You can bring your own picnic or browse the varied food and drink on offer from local vendors, before snuggling down under the stars to watch the evening feature on giant inflatable airscreens.

Leading the impressive lineup of titles for Friday is hit musical The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman and an impressive ensemble cast. This is supported by Pixar’s vibrant and moving 2018 Oscar winner Coco, as well as Spielberg’s gripping first feature film Duel.

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Saturday sees monster hit of 2018 Avengers: Infinity War, the latest and arguably the greatest Marvel adventure yet, which will be supported by an adventure of a different kind in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in a hilarious sequel to the Robin Williams family classic. Saturday’s line-up is completed with the charming Local Hero from acclaimed director Bill Forsyth.

Headlining on Sunday is the undisputed king of marmalade-eating CGI bears who returns to the big screen for that rarest of things (excepting The Godfather and The Terminator) – a sequel that may just be better than the original. Paddington 2 has been a huge hit with both audiences and critics alike, with a 100% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website, which declared it to be the best reviewed film in the site’s history, receiving 164 consecutive positive reviews from critics.

Sunday also offers the opportunity to see the epic Dunkirk outdoors on a big screen in a setting which can only add to the already special experience of one of Christopher Nolan’s greatest film-making achievements. Spielberg’s 1981 classic Raiders of the Lost Ark will also benefit from being shown in all its widescreen grandeur.

Monday completes a Spielberg hat-trick with his latest ‘sweetly nostalgic’ sci-fi thrill ride, Ready Player One, as well as bringing Movies on the Meadows favourite Wes Anderson back to Grantchester with the funny, fresh and inventive Isle of Dogs. The weekend’s final offering is enchanting Japanese animation Mary and the Witch’s Flower.

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Each night all three films will show simultaneously on three separate screens. This enables attendees to choose any of the three films, without their whole party having to choose the same film. Movies on the Meadows is a ‘silent disco’ screening so each customer will be provided with a 3 channel pre tuned radio (you will need a returnable £5 cash deposit per radio).

The organisers suggest that the audience bring their own headphones (3.5mm jack), camping chairs or blankets and warm clothes. The venue is accessible for disabled patrons, despite being on slightly bumpy ground, and disabled patrons can park close to the event entrance. Dogs will be allowed so long as they do not cause disruption to the event. The events will go ahead, come rain or shine, and will only be cancelled in case of severe inclement weather i.e. if it is not safe for the event to go ahead. Refunds will only be given if the event is cancelled.

Movies on the Meadows is presented by non-profit organisation (registered charity) the Cambridge Film Trust, which re-invests all profits from the event into delivering the annual Cambridge Film Festival, which will run from 25th October to 1st November 2018.

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Cambridge Folk Festival review 2018

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This was my first Cambridge Folk Festival and it was love at first sight. Wandering into the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall on Thursday evening was like entering a friendly Twilight Zone, an alternative reality full of good vibes, where the normal rules don’t apply. CFF is a like a holiday camp for 14,000 folk fans, with its beer tents, deckchairs, Morris dancers, smorgasbord of food vans and bazaar of stalls selling everything from holidays in North Carolina to Hobbit hats made of hemp.

And then there’s the music – at any one time you can choose between acts on two main stages, as well as the Club Tent, the Den and the Hub. Or you can just wander around and stumble upon impromptu jams or beery harmonising.

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My own musical highlights of the weekend were many and varied: Patti Smith, Songhoy Blues, National Youth Folk Ensemble, Rhiannon Giddens, Peter Buckley Hill and Pünk Flöyd. But each Festival-goer will have their own hitlist. You can’t see everything, and I found myself sampling a couple of songs in one tent, then moving on. In this way I got the flavour of Rosanne Cash (polished), First Aid Kit (anaemic) and Eliza Carthy & Dave Delarre (earthy).

Thursday evening is traditionally when folkies ease themselves back into the Festival spirit, catching up with old friends and perhaps taking in a bit of circus entertainment: a fat man in a black waistcoat and a wiry man in an Edwardian swimsuit draw a large crowd on the grass with their ambitious juggling and escapology act.

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After performing a comic striptease, the fat man asks, “Who thinks I can drink this pint of beer while juggling these machetes, while my friend escapes from his straitjacket and chains?” (cheers).

“Who doesn’t?” (louder cheers).

“And who doesn’t really care?” (cheers and laughter).

To their bemusement a little girl wanders over, casually picks up one of their juggling batons then carries it off as though it’s her lost teddy.

More English eccentricity was on show in the Club Tent. Festival veteran Peter Buckley Hill has appeared here since 1980, but his surreal wordplay and smutty ditties were new to me.  He strums his guitar and sings daft, tongue-twisting songs about birds (Torn Between Two Plovers), sheds (‘Edward Woodward’s got good wood in his shed / But the shed itself is shite’) and Hitler’s sex life (see Adolf and Eva: ‘when he was blasting London with his Blitz / His V1 would be exploding on her tits’).

Buckley Hill hinted that this might be his last performance, that he would be going back to his ‘pipe and slippers’. The audience protested. ‘Smoking crack and spanking rent boys,’ he added, for clarification.

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Photo by James Hadley

I bump into old friend Myke Clifford, who has been compere at CFF for many years.  He is most looking forward to seeing Patti Smith, whom he guesses will want no introduction from him. Myke and photographer Claire Borley share anecdotes about ‘difficult’ previous performers, such as Van Morrison and Mike Scott of the Waterboys, who, newly teetotal, refused to go on stage with the Festival’s Greene King sponsorship banner displaying.

No such diva-like behaviour was evident from Friday’s opening act on the main stage. The National Youth Folk Ensemble were a joy, a hugely talented bunch of musicians between the ages of 14 and 18. When they warmed to the occasion, these kids really shone and their happiness at being there was infectious. ‘This is a hornpipe called Grannies,’ says a young fiddler, ‘going out to all the grannies.’ When the young players meshed together, speeding up to a crescendo, it was intoxicating stuff. After the loud applause at the end of their slot compere Myke declared that ‘the future’s safe’.

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Further evidence of this was provided over on Stage 2 by the young women in Kinnaris Quintet, whose soaring (and sawing) Scottish fiddle music was full of passion, tinged with yearning and sadness.

In the Flower Garden folk elder Peggy Seeger shared stories with Festival curator and headliner Rhiannon Giddens about overcoming prejudice through music, and the importance of humour in breaking down barriers. After performing an ‘impeach’ song aimed at George Bush, Seeger confronted a ‘John Cleese lookalike’ Republican in the audience who had been scowling at her. ‘No, I didn’t like the song’, he told her, ‘but it has a damn fine chorus.’

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From Mali came Songhoy Blues, purveyors of a hypnotic jitterbug hybrid of musical styles, including rock, blues and reggae. Frontman Aliou Toure defied the stupor-inducing heat with his onstage energy and got us clapping and waving our arms. ‘Music is the best religion’, he said, because it brings everyone together, no matter what beliefs they might have. Songhoy Blues’ exuberance, rhythmic tightness and ‘Summer Breeze’ fuzz guitar went down a storm.

Another crowd favourite was Patti Smith, headlining on Saturday evening, who gave a frequently astonishing, glorious and bonkers performance. At the start she seemed a bit out of sorts, complaining of a hand injury, and telling the organisers to turn off the onstage dry ice machines because ‘we’re not fucking Metallica’.

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photograph by Jim Hayton

Keen for her rock and roll band to cross over to folk fans in the audience, Patti talked about growing up in the ‘50s listening to jazz and folk. She thanked Britain for its old ballads and broadsides that ended up in the Appalachian Mountains, then donned her reading glasses for a rousing rendition of Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall. It was Barack Obama’s birthday, she noted wistfully, looking back from our dark political present to a ‘golden age’. The ‘T’ word was left unspoken over the weekend, but there was a lot of quiet anger around, with  performers such as Rhiannon Giddens speaking up for oppressed immigrants.

Always keen to soak up the culture of whichever city she finds herself in, Patti Smith told us that she had visited King’s College Chapel in the morning. Inspired by a painting of the Magi, she performed a newly-improvised poem backed by her band. This led to a surreal version of the Christmas carol We Three Kings, which sounded strangely wonderful in the summer heat.

But Patti left the best until last, with a spellbinding and cathartic Gloria. At her best Smith transcends ‘performance’ and becomes a shaman, like fellow American singer/poet Jim Morrison before her, channelling primal energies with gathering intensity. She takes her band and audience with her on a musical and poetic journey into an altered state. The best music can do this, no matter what we call it, folk, rock ‘n’ roll or classical.

Sunday’s highlight, and a fitting way to end a festival staged near Syd Barrett’s old home, were Sweden’s Pünk Flöyd, who are not punk at all. Rather, they winningly translate the songs of Cambridge’s finest, Pink Floyd, into 3/4 time. The Wall becomes The Waltz. They signed off with a moving version of Wish You Were Here, which had the crowd bellowing along, and demanding an encore.

Though perhaps the song they did about growing up in Cambridge (High Hopes) best sums up a sun-kissed Folk Festival weekend – so long as you don’t take the first line too literally …

The grass was greener

The light was brighter

When friends surrounded

The nights of wonder

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Yellow Submarine – 50th anniversary

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To celebrate its 50th anniversary of its original release The Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine returned to the big screen in a newly-restored format on Sunday 8th July. Everyone who attended received a bright blue envelope which contained four collector’s cards and a Peppertastic sticker set.

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Never one  of my favourites when growing up, Yellow Submarine has aged rather well. With the exception of George, who looks and sounds strangely cross, the individual Beatles’ character, charm and wit survive their cartoon incarnations. Ringo (voiced by Paul Angelis) is as loveable and funny as ever. I had forgotten that the real Beatles appear fleetingly at the end of the film – always a joy to see them together, though by 1968’s White Album they were effectively writing songs solo.

In glorious surround sound their music sounds wonderful. Lesser known songs such as Only a Northern Song, Hey Bulldog and It’s All Too Much showcase Harrison’s crunchy psychedelic sparkle and McCartney’s magnificent swooping bass lines.

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As the commemorative notes inside the blue envelope have it:

In every age, there are  individuals who capture the spirit of their  time  and speak with the unique voices of their generation. The Beatles  were  four such individuals. And when this spectacular film  debuted in 1968 it was instantly recognisable as a cinematic landmark. It was designed by the brilliant art director Heinz Edelmann and directed by George Dunning, and you will now experience a stunning, newly  restored version of this groundbreaking animation.

Join John, Paul, George  and Ringo on the technicolour  adventure of a lifetime. Illustrated with mind-bending moving images this will be your chance to watch The Beatles battle the music-hating Blue Meanies once again, armed only with the power of love. Filled with messages of peace, love  and hope, the film captured the essence of the ’60s. And integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques, it helped revolutionise a genre.

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Cambridge Folk Festival 2018 preview

The Cambridge Folk Festival returns to the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall in August (2nd – 5th), one of the longest running and most celebrated folk festivals in the world. Held each year since 1965, the Festival is renowned for its unique atmosphere and its eclectic mix of music: the best traditional folk artists from the UK and Ireland rub shoulders with cutting edge contemporary acts, the finest American country, blues and roots artists, acclaimed singer songwriters, famous names and world music stars.

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2018 headline acts include iconic singer-songwriter, poet and force of nature, Patti Smith (Saturday), acclaimed Swedish indie-folk sisters, First Aid Kit, exuberant Malian desert blues group Songhoy Blues (both Friday) and veteran American singer-songwriters Janis Ian and John Prine (Sunday).

Other highlights include folk royalty Peggy Seeger, Nashville Hall-of-Famer Rosanne Cash, and, at the other end of the musical spectrum, Pünk Flöyd will ‘folk up’ the back catalogue of Cambridge’s finest, Pink Floyd.

Also on the bill is Rhiannon Giddens, founding member of the Grammy award-winning folk band Carolina Chocolate Drops, who acts as 2018’s Guest Curator. Interviewed recently in Mojo magazine, Rhiannon Giddens praises the ‘beautiful vibe’ of Cambridge Folk Festival: ‘some festivals, people go to hang out and drink beer, maybe see a band or two. At Cambridge they really want to hear what’s going on.’

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At Giddens’ invitation, folk-elder Peggy Seeger, Canadian mountain-banjo player Kaia Kater, harmonising married couple Birds of Chicago, ‘Southern Gothic’ guitarist Amythyst Kiah and Bristol country-soul voice Yola Carter will share the bill with the headliners.

Giddens is connected to the idea of creating communities and making opportunities happen. Part of this involves addressing the ‘very narrow, white idea of folk musicians as ‘a guy with a guitar, or a banjo.’ As an African-American, she is interested in giving a platform to ‘people of colour’ and broadening the folk narrative, while honouring the longer continuum of the people’s music.

‘Peggy Seeger, every generation of music maker can learn from just watching her stage craft for 10 minutes. She always tells the stories that need to be told.’ Giddens cites Seeger’s song The Ballad of Jimmy Massey, ‘about a man who came back from Iraq’, which ‘does that thing that ballads have done for hundreds of years. The singer gets out of the way and the story comes through.’

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A big part of the Festival’s ethos is to celebrate and nurture emerging talent and in 2011 the Festival created a dedicated stage, The Den, to provide a platform for artists under 30 years old to progress their music careers. The Hub is another special area for young musicians to take part in workshops, sessions and perform. These performances spaces have opened the Festival to a new generation of musicians. The Festival still maintains strong links to the local Folk Club scene through The Club Tent which sees local Clubs from around the county performing throughout the weekend.

As well as a jam-packed music programme there is plenty to occupy you away from the main stages. There will be a variety of workshops and talks for festival-goers to take part in, T’ai Chi and all things therapeutic will be on offer and plenty of family-friendly entertainment for children, with a mouth-watering array of food and drink stalls to enjoy.

The Festival has won several awards over the last 50 years, including in 2014 the BBC Radio 2 Good Tradition Award and in 2016 the A Greener Festival Award, awarded to the Festival because of an on-going commitment to reducing its Carbon Footprint.