Friday, July 1, 2022

Folk festival artists grateful for chance to play live again

Folk artists appearing at Saturday’s Welcome Back Folk Festival in Grantham have expressed their appreciation for the chance to perform live again after the Covid lockdown.

The festival, organised by South Kesteven District Council with funding from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund, starts in the Market Square at 11am with traders and food stalls on site.

Entertainment continues into the evening in Eden’s Wine Bar, The Angel & Royal Hotel, Edwards Bar and Lounge and St Wulfram’s Church.

Singer Rebecca MacDougall, appearing at 5pm, said: “I am delighted the council is providing the platform for musicians to be heard again, as well as giving the community an opportunity to get together and listen to live music.

“It’s been a hard couple of years for us all and I love the motivation behind the Welcome Back Festival. It really is what music and folk is all about, coming together and community. It’s a breath of fresh air to see music and the arts getting the support it deserves.”

Cllr Rosemary Trollope-Bellew, Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, said: “It’s really rewarding to hear how much our folk festival is appreciated by the performers we are looking forward to hearing. It’s easy to forget that they have had a very hard time during the pandemic and it’s great to be able to, quite literally, offer them a stage to get performing again.”

Penny Stevens spoke for Lincolnshire folk group Pennyless, on stage at 3.40pm, saying: “We are dependent on organisations putting on events like The Welcome Back Festival to give us a platform to reach a broad audience. Artists need to be able to perform live to audiences, to try out new material and to get new experiences.”

Scottish singer-songwriter Sandy McLelland, who closes the Market Place section of the festival at 7pm, added his own appreciation, saying: “The last couple of years have taken a huge toll on everyone, musicians included. Venues have been forced to close, temporarily or permanently, and gigs have been postponed or cancelled. It’s a huge boost for everyone involved that the council and the Welcome Back Fund is investing in ways to reinvigorate local communities in all ways, including the arts.

“It’s a huge honour for me personally to be able to close such a great event and hopefully I can bring something special to the party. It deserves to be a special and successful day for everyone, particularly those who are working so hard to bring it to life.”

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