It's folk singer and fiddler Seth Lakeman's Granddad's ninetieth and he's agreed to talk to eFestivals, having sneaked out from his party in Tavistock. The Dartmoor-based festival circuit regular has released six albums, included 2004's Mercury-nominated 'Kitty Jay' and his latest offering 'Tales from the Barrel House'.'
Well it's slightly different to the festival show that we've been putting on, which is a bit more immediate. Hopefully with this show we're trying to project a bit more of a journey, a bit more dynamics are in it. We've got an established voice in a young teen, called Lisbee Stainton, who is playing banjo and singing. So, we'll be playing a few more ballads from the other records as well as 'Tales From The Barrel House'. We'll be offering a few different flavours, and a few different colours to the show.
You're playing a lot of shows in October, and you play a lot of festivals, you always have a busy schedule, would it be fair to say you enjoy playing live?
Yes, it's definitely a big part of what I do, and a big part of music nowadays is the actual presentation of the music and the entertainment. So obviously whilst I enjoy recording and writing I think there's nothing better than being there and the privilege of being able to play in front of people, I really enjoy it.
I think I'm right in saying a few years ago you were the top on eFestivals for the number of festivals you were doing that year, with doing so many do you get a chance to look around them?
(laughs) Probably I was. One of the best things about going to a festival is that you get to check out other acts and wander around and see the sights. You get to see a lovely estate, or a city centre, to all sorts of unusual infrastructures around them. It's a big part of exploring festivals.
When you're at festivals what's your favourite festival food?
I like Manic Organic, at WOMAD, Larmer Tree places like that.
Do you ever do the camping experience at any of them?
Yeah, or course, quite a few, I grew up going to Glastonbury in the early days from 17 onwards and I used to quite enjoy that. I've got a campervan now, so I've gone up in the world (laughs). I'm going to one this weekend actually, just by choice because my mates the Levellers arte there, Looe festival in Cornwall.
How do you find playing festivals?
I think it's more challenging, I think you've got to try and turn an audience to what you do. Obviously when you play your own show people have come to see you, well you hope they have. At a festival it's a bit more challenging but I find that a bit more of a mission really in itself, and you can find a new audience that way, definitely.
Which festivals have you most enjoyed playing at?
Well, I love Beautiful Days obviously, it's one of my favourites. But also WOMAD is just unbelievable is well, it's just so cool. I quite enjoyed SolFest this year, right up in Cumbria, and Belladrum is a pretty good one too, it's like the Beautiful Days of Scotland. There's all sorts I like really, some are different but I enjoy all of them really.
How do you see the current folk scene at the moment?
I see it as gradually rising, I think it's in a really good place for folk and acoustic music, young people are getting involved and whether they're performing or just enjoying it all, it's definitely growing.
You're at your Granddad's 90th, presumably the rest of the family are there who takes charge of the tunes?
My dad he always takes charge. Cara's here, Kathryn, Sean, Sam, and all the crew. They're scowling at me because I'm on the phone.
Have you got any festivals booked for next summer yet?
Yes, we have quite a few things like Wickham, and Ireby and we've got an Australian tour with about eight festivals in March, so we're going over there for around a month, including Bluesfest which is kind of like their Glastonbury. It's a little bit early for the bookings for June, July, and August yet.
Have you been to Bluesfest before?
Yes it was our first chance last year, and we loved it, and it was a big show for us, so they welcomed us back which is brilliant, it's very, very cool in Byron Bay.
What was the first festival you played, can you remember it?
I can actually, yes. It was Wadebridge Folk Festival down in Cornwall.
You've played festivals from tiny little ones to big corporate events, is there any difference in playing them?
I guess the biggest difference is the type of people who come along, it does differ but I think the weather has just as much impact as the size of it, and it just all depends. There are many different ingredients that could make or break a festival.
Everyone has been saying the weather has been terrible every weekend, but I've been lucky going to festivals where the weather hasn't been that bad. How has your summer been?
I've found it okay as well, we had one weekend which was horrendous but apart from that, we've had wellies with us, but it's not been essential.
If you were to run a stall at a festival what would you sell?
You always say umbrellas, but do you know what I would sell? Shooting sticks, you know the sticks you put down that you can sit on, them.
Thanks I'll let you get back to your party.
That's all right mate, no probs.
Seth Lakeman's October UK tour dates start at Derby Folk Festival on Sunday 7th October before appearing in Basingstoke, Warwick, Salisbury, London, Canterbury, Shrewsbury, Guildford, Gateshead, Manchester, Scunthorpe, Ipswich, Buxton, Barnstaple, Birmingham, Truro, and Plymouth with Seth performing two sets at each show.
To buy tickets where available, click here.
interview by: Scott Williams
latest on this festival
Beautiful Days 2018
last updated: Fri 2nd Feb 2018
tickets for Beautiful Days go on sale Friday at 9am - get 'em quick
last updated: Thu 1st Feb 2018
festival home page
festival home page
last updated: Mon 18th Sep 2017
Beautiful Days 2018
line-ups & rumours
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Mon 4th Sep 2017
Beautiful Days 2017
last updated: Tue 29th Aug 2017