Frank Turner headlines a highly enjoyable folk flavoured Eden Session

Eden Sessions 2012 review

published: Tue 3rd Jul 2012

Frank Turner

Saturday 23rd June to Wednesday 11th July 2012
Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG, England MAP
special offer £20
daily capacity: 6000
last updated: Fri 29th Jun 2012

This year saw Cornwall's Eden Sessions offer a day of folk flavoured acts, alongside the other day's where it hosted the likes of Plan B, Blink 182, Example, Chase & Status, Noah & The Whale, and The Vaccines.

around the festival site
We arrive at the overcast biodome site too late to see Dodgy play an acoustic set on the Biotek stage in the Mediterranean Biome, as well as main stage openers the sibling harmony trio The Staves, and miss most of Mull Historical Society's set as Cornish act Kola are playing the Busk Stop Stage on the way in. As they were just being played on the radio as we arrive we stay to listen to the duo's summery sounding acoustic folk. The five piece are stripped down to just singer Ryan Jones joined by Annie Gray on violin.

Mull Historical Society (not to be confused with Mull Historical and Archeological Society) are still on as we make our way down the zig zagging verdent paths after a quick search by security, and take in the vistas afforded us as we descend into the fluttering flag lined amphitheatre.

First stop one of the bars, there are three, and depressingly it's a token system with prices for Atlantic IPA, or Orchard Cider rather more than you'd pay in local pubs, and food also has to be ordered with tokens, or so we thought.

Seth Lakeman
Seth Lakeman, has as it turns out picked the best slot of the day to perform. Seth is joined by Cormac Byrne on percussion, big Ben Nichols on double bass and banjo, and a new face on guitar. He opens with 'The Hurlers' and a sizeable crowd rapidly swells to bob along as the sun manages to break out briefly. A few tracks from new album 'Tales From the Barrel House' sit well amongst the set, and as Bellowhead are on site, Seth is joined by Benji Kirkpatrick for 'The Colliers'. It's classic tracks and crowd favourites 'Race to Be King' and a stompin' solo performance of 'Kitty Jay'.

Bellowhead
The now almost full main arena is host to Bellowhead next, and it takes a while for the band to completely gel, for the first few songs they appear to make a cocophany. As it starts to rain the band suggest that someone should put a roof on the wonderful outdoor setting, fortunately the crowd have some prepared and a sea of waterproofs are unfurled as the crowd start to dance about in the drizzle, and by the concluding triumvirate tracks 'New York Girls', 'London Town', and Frogs Legs & Dragons Teeth' they're literally jumping up and down in the rain.

The crowd thins dramatically after Bellowhead, the weather appears to put off the older crowd, who appear to have their folk thirst slaked with Seth and Bellowhead, although the Biomes are still open and perhaps it's the last chance to enjoy the lush tropical and Mediterranean climates, and perhaps many go for a stroll in there.

Kernocopia
Beside the stage there's a Cornish Crabber called Kernocopia, and it's crew of theatrical story tellers spark into life during one of my visits to the bar. Theirs is a humorous tale of famous Cornishmen - a giant wrestler, a rower, a rugby player 'hurler' and an ice cream man who becomes the first European to surf. It's highly entertaining stuff.

There's still a sizeable crowd gathered on the tarmac and grass slopes in front of the stage for Stornoway, who embarrassingly reveals they're from the south and not from Scotland like the Mull Historical Society, fortunately Trading Standards are not around.

Stornoway
I'm vaguely familiar with their 2010 album 'Beachcomber's Windowsill' however the band avoid the familiar 'We Are The Battery Human' but do conclude with 'Zorbing' with the rest of the set also showcasing a few newer tracks, and it keeps my interest. I'm looking forward to getting the chance to listen to this new material and there must be a new album on the horizon.

With stomachs rumbling we go in search of something to mop up the cider, and check out the catering, the concession stalls have queues and little of appeal, and as we head into the site's own cafe the smell of delicious home cooked fare is too much. It turns out you buy food here with cash and for £6 a giant 'help yourself' portion of delicious food seems incredibly reasonable.

around the festival site
It's also here that many opt to linger as tonight's Euro final football game is being played, and we rest from the inclement weather to join them for a while before Frank Turner's delayed set starts.

whilst the numbers of people are not as high as earlier in the day for Seth and Bellowhead there's a still a good crowd, happy to sing along and dance in the rain, which slowly becomes more persistent. Frank Turner and his backing band The Sleeping Souls sustain us.

Stornoway
Frank may not fit the traditional mould of a folk act but he's singing songs about the human condition, with an acoustic guitar, and even has a few traditional standards in his repertoire, and it may be delivered with a punk DIY twist, but it would be unfair to say he does not deserve to top the bill tonight.

His headlining set includes set standards 'Reasons Not To Be An Idiot', 'I Am Disappeared', 'The Road', 'Try This At Home' and 'Wessex Boy', a terrific version of 'Long Live The Queen' alongside Frank's attempts at starting a Eurovision styled dance competition, the German crowds are winning apparently with 'Four Simple Words', and we continue to dance in the rain until the lights come up and we realise we have a long walk up the winding paths back to our car.

Frank Turner
A highly enjoyable headlining set with a memorable rain soaked acappella version of just Frank on stage belting out 'English Curse' proving the highlight of a well polished set. Frank clearly deserved the headline slot, it's just a shame that much of the older audience left before they got a chance to enjoy it, and it was Bellowhead who probably got the largest response of the day.

Eden Sessions is blessed with a great location to hold outdoor events, you'd be hard pushed to find a more beautiful location, and with the chance to get there early and enjoy the biomes before they close it's always an appealing event. With the hard standing in front of the main stage, the covered biomes and the solid trackways it also proved tonight to be a decent wet weather venue, and with no queues leaving the event either it's a location that proves to be a winner.

around the festival site
review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams

Saturday 23rd June to Wednesday 11th July 2012
Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG, England MAP
special offer £20
daily capacity: 6000
last updated: Fri 29th Jun 2012


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