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Monday, 14 May 2012

The Delarre brothers' audience survives Folk on the Pier this time

As well as hovering over several hundred feet of choppy water, Cromer's Folk on the Pier festival had a marquee this year that was not on the pier. This was *a good thing* because sitting in a darkened auditorium when the weather was as fine as it was on Saturday would have been against nature's order.

One of the best things about it all was that as you sat inside, sunlight streaming through the tent flaps and a gentle breeze playing on the side of your face, listening perhaps to Katriona Gilmour and Jamie Roberts, or Harvey Andrews (who sings a song about driving in the middle lane that didn't seem to be a metaphor for anything), you would occasionally see the silhouettes of birds - swifts and the like - flying lengthways along the tent towards the cliff, like a particularly summery lantern show. I like Cromer.

One of the many reasons for this is that at the moment a friend of mine is its mayor (though only for two more weeks). His name is Greg Hayman and he recently "came out" in a radio interview as a Marxist. I assumed at first that he was messing around - I was in a Marxist politics department at Leeds University a long time ago and take everything to do with Marxism with a fistful of salt - but it turns out no... And this in turn endeared him to John Tams on Sunday evening when he greeted the People's Republic of Cromer from the stage during the Home Service set, asked whether its Marxist mayor was in the audience - he was - and then approved of the fact that he refuses to wear a chain of office, unless you include the one that Greg has fashioned from plastic crabs for special occasions. As I say, I like Cromer.

The Delarre Brothers, David and James, appeared in the marquee on Saturday, without a set list and slightly frayed after a long drive from Liverpool, where they'd played with Mawkin the night before.

They said that they're always pleasantly surprised when they get invited back to Cromer. "The first time we played here, about seven years ago, we killed one of the audience," said David.


"Someone unfortunately had a heart attack while we were playing and, um, they didn't survive," he elucidated.

"The paramedics cracked open his chest as I was packing away my fiddle," added James. "And a few weeks later we got a letter from his widow, saying that she'd been enjoying the gig until her husband died. It was good that she didn't blame us."

Why on earth would she have blamed you?

"We were playing a fast one."

Btw I know for a fact that the box office at Cromer's Pavilion Theatre, at the end of the pier, has been trying quite hard to get through to Bellowhead's booking agent recently without much success. If anyone knows them perhaps they could give them a nudge? The venue sold £14,000 worth of tickets for next year's folk festival on Sunday alone, so there's evidently an appetite for this kind of thing in North Norfolk.

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