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FolkEast 2018

Festivals like Glastonbury bring to mind ridiculous teenagers covered in mud, piles of rubbish and disgusting toilets, but they’re not all bad!  We’ve just had a wonderful weekend at a folk festival in Suffolk called ‘FolkEast’.  It was a long way for us to travel (it took 9 hours with breaks) but we had been told by a fellow guitar-maker that it had its own marquee dedicated to instrument makers which would be ideally suited for Steve to exhibit.


Stephen John Guitars at FolkEast2018

Stephen John Guitars at FolkEast 2018


If I’m absolutely honest with myself I can say that I thought I was going to be pretty bored for the weekend.  I love to support Steve and indeed I spent a lot of time talking to potential customers, but I was really unsure about the rest of the festival.  In the end I needn’t have worried because I thoroughly enjoyed all of it.  The atmosphere was so relaxed and happy and there was no trouble whatsoever; people weren’t fighting for drinks at the bar – they were fighting to let each other go first!

The instrument marquee was well set out and we met a lot of fellow makers who I hope will become friends in the future.  We ended up talking to customers not just about guitars, but about motorbikes, cats and the benefits of homeschooling among other things!  The people were interesting and interested.  Every day we had groups of folk players gather in the centre of our marquees and jam together with fiddles, guitars, trombones, squeeze boxes, trumpets, flutes, recorders, clarinets and bodhrans (below).


FolkEast 2018

FolkEast 2018


When I wasn’t manning the stall with Steve I was enjoying the ambiance and all the other things the festival had to offer.  My mad festival purchase on the Sunday night was a hula hoop.  I was still hooping at midnight!

Of course we were there to spread the word about Steve’s guitars and I am pleased to say that he sold one of his favourites, ‘Narnia’, which was made from an Edwardian mahogany wardrobe.  The modern CITES convention protects old-growth forests, as it should do, so why not recycle wood from other sources?  The fact is that wood from an old wardrobe has not only been aged for over 100 years, but when the tree was chopped down it was old and dense already.  Wood from modern ‘managed’ forests is just not the same.



After the festival we traveled to the north Norfolk coast where we stopped in a little village called Cley-next-the-Sea.  It’s a gorgeous little place, and the village called Blakeney next door to it is even more beautiful.  Unfortunately we were pretty well done-in at this point so I didn’t get any photos.  I will next year though!  We did manage, however, to squeeze in a trip to Redwings Horse Sanctuary at Aylsham.  I have been supporting Redwings since I was a child and I can’t resist showing you a couple of the ponies below.




So I would like to take this opportunity to thoroughly recommend FolkEast to anyone who’s looking for an excellent, chilled out 3-day festival of music, food and art.  Why not come and see us next year?!



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