Tucked away in the delightful Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green, the second ever annual A Folky Christmas was a day long festival organised by Before the Gold Rush, who showcase folk artists at regular nights in north London. For the occasion, they brought sixteen of their best acts together for a sparkling Christmas gathering of folk musicians and friends across two stages.
The chapel stage was exactly what it sounds: a tiny chapel round the back of the café with a small stage adorned with a cross, tinsel, and twinkling candles. Cushions were provided for the audience to sit cross-legged, heads tilted to one side, to listen to an array of guitars, fiddles and singers, some of whom, whilst cheerful and chatty between songs, filled the room with beautifully haunting vocals which had a bubbly crowd perfectly hushed.
The café stage was host to the larger bands (who wouldn’t have fit in the chapel at all, let alone on the stage), and the night culminated with a performance from Patch and the Giant, who not only collaborated with Before the Gold Rush to organise the night, but were also a fantastic end to a night of amazing music. The crowd consisted of old fans, singing raucously along to favourite songs at the front of the stage and flirting with the band members, along with new fans who filled up the room almost to its full capacity.
The intimate space combined with the genuine fun and festivities made the event seem more like a Christmas party in someone’s living room, but with a much higher quality of performers. It was a perfect way to say a musical goodbye to 2013, with one-off Christmas songs from a number of the acts. Before the Gold Rush have just relocated their regular night to The Fiddler’s Elbow in Chalk Farm, and if A Folky Christmas was anything to go by, it’s worth getting yourself down there for the relaunch party on the 31st January to welcome in the new year.
The sixteen acts who performed were:
Patch & The Giant, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, Worry Dolls, Laish (solo), Sophie Jamieson, The Lost Cavalry, Lucy Cait, Joe Innes & The Cavalcade, Andrew Butler, Nick Edward Harris, Inti Rowland, Abbey Bowden, Stephen Hallam, Slow Wolf, Daniel & The Lion and Green Diesel.