Levellers, and Peatbog Faeries close opening day of Big Session in style

Big Session 2009 review

published: Tue 30th Jun 2009

Levellers

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June 2009
De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester LE1 7RU, England MAP
£70 for the whole weekend, child 5-15 £25
last updated: Wed 10th Jun 2009

Now in it's fifth year, the Big Session is the folkie younger sister of Leicester's Summer Sundae Weekender. It's the signature festival of veteran folk rockers the Oysterband, who pop up in various forms across the weekend, which they also co-curate.

around the festival site (Friday)
Big Session takes place in De Montfort Hall and Gardens across three stages - the Orange Tree (for new acts, and which doubles as a real ale bar), the Big Top and the main DMH stage itself. The programme is an eclectic mix of every type of folk you've ever heard of, and a few you haven't (kill-billy banjo punk, anyone?).

The music gets off to a slightly shaky start with a late and wobbly set from the winner of the Sunflower Song Competition whose name she should be pleased I have missed, on the Orange Tree stage. Luckily, order is restored by the The Heartland Roots Band, who take us on a trip through local culture in contemporary folk style, with a bit of Americana thrown in for good measure.

There's barely time to look in on the Oysters' John Jones with his new band The Reluctant Ramblers who are playing in the Big Top, but the dedicated Oyster following are lapping it up, unsurprisingly.

Peatbog Faeries

Into the main hall for the Peatbog Faeries, who arguably don't work on CD and I hadn't seen them live before so had no expectations. They were absolutely electrifying, a riot of techno folk, mixing up traditional and new forms, instruments and dancing. Judging by the ecstatic reaction will be many people's surprise hit set of the festival.

Levellers
The Levellers do what they do and they do it very well, as they belt through a 'Best of' set leaving many hoarse from singing along.

The DMH campsite, across the road in the playing fields of a local college, beckons and its a very civilised affair with immaculate loos, hot showers (!) and plentiful helpful stewards. The campers return the hospitality and its a peaceful night, apart from the rain at about 4am.
review by: Katharine Owen

photos by: Phil Bull

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June 2009
De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester LE1 7RU, England MAP
£70 for the whole weekend, child 5-15 £25
last updated: Wed 10th Jun 2009


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