Castlefest review: Saturday

For introduction post and Thursday round-up click here, for Friday click here.


My plan for the morning was to go and catch the very start of Finvarra’s set and then go to see Asynje
while my mother stayed at the former. I’d heard bits of Finvarra’s music and wanted to listen to them live but as they clashed with Asynje I knew I was going to have to leave. Well, that didn’t quite work out. In the end, I ended up so wrapped up in Finvarra that I ended up staying for the whole thing.
Finvarra, apparently play celtic folk with oriental aspects. However we catagorise their music it’s really, really good! Gwen, their normal vocalist, was away on maternity leave and hence lead vocals were provided by Monique of Cesair but it didn’t impact on the general performance at all.
The general performance was wonderful. The audience were up and dancing despite the heat – and it was boiling – and the combination of music and dance was the perfect way to start the day. Of course, I bought Finvarra’s CD after this set and am currently listening to it. I would certainly go and see them in their own right at some point.
After Finvarra, and conveniently on the same stage, it was time for Zirp. Zirp are one of my favourite live bands because they are simply such good fun. Every time I see them I wish that I could get up and join in with the dance. Seriously, their music will drive me to dance again and that will be dangerous for anyone in the area! Anyway, I digress!
Their hurdy gurdy led folk music makes it impossible to stay still or, indeed, to be unhappy. Intricate melodies, driving tempos, there’s something infectious about their music. Before their set, my mother commented on how empty the area in front of the stage was, questioning if Zirp weren’t popular… her question was soon answered when they started playing and that space became the dance floor!
It’s the only photo I have of all the band, okay! 😉
My favourite piece that they play would probably be Bourrée Inkarnation and it’s probably easy to just listen to them playing than me blathering on about them!
After their set I, once again, decided to try and get one of my scrapbook paintings signed and I was so so pleased that I did. The band were so appreciative of the drawing and it really gave me a chance to chat to them and I can certainly vouch that they are lovely guys! It was weird though as my little scrapbook sketch garnered more attention than I could have imagined with the band asking to have a photo with it. There’s something strange about something that you created for yourself to show your respect for the artistry of another receiving so much attention in its own right but I was so pleased too, of course!!

The next band that I was lucky enough to catch was Cesair. Cesair are probably one of my complete

favourite bands. Their music has this magical quality to it and I love both their CD and the shows I have been lucky enough to catch. Although I only managed to see the one show this festival (there were too many clashes between good bands!), it certainly lived up to expectations. I won’t go on too much about their show as previous posts have already said it all but once again, I can only say that I would highly recommend catching them live, if possible, and purchasing their CD.

Once again, after the set I went to get my scrapbook painting signed and had another rather large shock with how nice everyone was about the image, based on their CD cover. Fieke, in particular, was so sweet and that did mean so much to me. I also spent a bit of time, while hanging around the Cesair merchandise area, talking to a lovely lady from Amsterdam who was, similarly, lurking. Although I have no continuing contact with her, these little meetings, comings together of strangers, are what make Castlefest such a special festival.
Mother and I then planned to sit down at the back during Corvus Corax‘s set as there was a real shortfall of seats. I didn’t know Corvus Corax particularly well but, having heard a few tracks and a lot of good things about their live show, had decided to attempt to see them but I wasn’t that fussed about sitting and not prancing around (etc etc). However, a few tracks in it became clear that there was no way you could sit still, or stand still, during one of their sets. While the music wouldn’t be my choice on my iPod, the live show was so loud, energetic, and engaging that it was thoroughly enjoyable. There is no doubt that they are skilled musicians, even if the style isn’t quite to my taste, and, moreover, great performers. I may not go out of my way to see them again but I hope that our paths may cross, nevertheless!
Following their set came the burning of the Wicker Owl. Each year, there is some kind of wicker creature/figure with some symbolism that is, on the Saturday, burned with messages etc within it. I won’t attempt to describe the whole process as you can see for yourself in the video below. However, what I will say is that it’s a profound moment of unity. At that moment, everyone is joined and it is something quite special. 
Video from Castlefest’s youtube channel
Following this was Faun. Now, Faun have been one of my favourite bands for many, many years now and I would say that every show of theirs is special. Okay, I’m a bit biased. However, there was something really special about this show. I don’t know if it was because it followed the Wickerman ritual, if it was because it was the 10th anniversary of Castlefest, or if it was just an amazing crowd. The atmosphere, the energy of this show was much greater than I have seen before. Wonderful!
I was also lucky enough to meet Faun after the show, something that I have not managed to do before (although I’ve met Oliver when I’ve seen Folk Noir, previously, and Stephan with Zirp, obviously!). Pleased that I managed to meet them but even more pleased I was at that show. Looking forward to seeing them again soon!

I have a lot more photos on my facebook page, and Sunday’s review will be up soon!


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