Last day today and the weather is beautiful- blue skies and fluffy clouds and so warm! Just time to swim at the Leisure Centre before catching the bus to the site for a Fisherman's Friends workshop in the club tent at 10.00am. When I arrived there was already a queue to go in, with a few disgruntled people grumbling that more than so many people had turned up. Strange- it wouldn't be a workshop if only a couple of people turned up, would it?
Anyway, we all had a lovely time singing along to sea shanties in the down to earth humorous way I've come to expect from the Fisherman's Friends. No frills or fancies, just good old fashioned community singing- just the thing for a Sunday morning!
After they'd ended with a 'stripped back' version of Bellowhead's New York Girls it was off to the Folknet Cafe for breakfast and a bit of blogging before going over to the Mojo signing tent for Peatbog Faeries to sign my copy of their new album 'Dust'. I'd happily have paid the £12 just for the one track I'd heard -the Naughty Step- but more of that later. I could the Spooky Men singing again and wandered over to the back of Stage Two where they were running a children's workshop- very entertaining watching the children watching the Spooky Men doing the actions for their beard song!
Port Isaac's Fishermen's Friends put in another great performance on Stage One, their second of the day. I loved the applause for the Port Isaac World Heritage status, before the audience realised it was joke. The whole show was like that. Relaxed banter, loads of songs and the ability to get grown men in their fifties (the audience, not the band themselves!) pretending to be sailors and doing action songs!
A quick exit- well, quick in Cambridge terms- as I nipped over picnic blankets and chairs to see Damien O' Kane in Stage Two; this was a real treat, with the master of the bodhran JohnJoe Kelly, Ed Boyd (guitar) and
Duncan Lyall (double bass) all in his band. Kate Rusby was watching from the side and applauding as he played a tune he wrote when their daughter was only a couple of days old.
Then it was back to the Den to see Passenger, who , I think, may well be my favourite performer at this festival. He sings sad sensitive songs like 'Words' with lyrics like 'sometimes no words are the right words to say' that could potentially be maudlin and miserable but in his hands become something different. It's impossible not to emotionally engage , not to feel sad, even tearful, but that's the sign of a truly great performer. He is charming and eloquent- able to get the audience on their feet and joining in with 'Holes' but also singing 'The Sound of Silence' with such intensity and passion that there was stillness in the air. Passenger gigs loads and generally busks in the town he is performing in during the day. Go and see him, and spread the word. You won't regret it.
As I went into Stage One for the last time, it was hard to believe that Cambridge was nearly over for another year. It seems to have gone really quickly, yet at the same time been the most relaxed ever, with people milling around for Mary Chapin Carpenter, some even sitting down in the marquee instead of squashing to the front to hear her. Maybe the weather was responsible for the sparse crowd inside, with many preferring to make the most of the last of the sunshine outside. Mary had just flown in, presumably from America, and blamed her jet lag for appearing confused. I didn't notice it, her time on stage flying by and soon her audience left, to make away for the generally much younger Laura Marling fans.
Fortunately, there was a happy ending. The band, having been forced to stop while the crew sorted things out, returned to the stage to play their hearts out, trying to cram as much as possible into what remained of their little stage time, with Peter Tickell removing his tshirt only adding to the excitement!
What a way to end Cambridge 2011!