By Matthew Salisbury 01/08 Updated: 01/08 07:36
THOSE watching Danny Boyle's Olympic opening pageant will have seen a sweeping representation in music and movement of Britain's rich cultural history and the diversity of the young people carrying our hopes for the future.
A hundred miles north east of that – and at a considerably smaller cost – you could see just as clear a demonstration of who we are are, where we come from and where we're going. This year's folk festival line-up featured music from every corner of these islands, songs from all eras of our history, and emerging talent in droves.
Picking highlights is never fair, but Sunday's closing line-up on the main stage of Breabach, Faustus and the trio of McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle, demonstrates the point; experienced, traditional playing and youthful energy perfectly combined.
The packed streets of Warwick on Saturday showed that not only can the festival's wandering Morris sides, mummers, foodstalls and craft market, bring the townspeople out in droves, but can also drag a lot of those on the main festival sight into the town.
Great news for the traders in the town but a very empty-feeling festival site left more than the odd trader wondering if they'd missed a trick.
Hidden deep in the programme this year was a debate on where the festival goes from here and it will be interesting to see what is borne of this. The successful elements need building on, to be sure, but perhaps the time has come to move on from some of the things which have become immovable fixtures down the years. Paul McCartney may have learned the same lesson himself, perhaps.
All in all another very successful festival. Top acts and a great atmosphere, and – as far as I could see – decent attendances. With wall to wall Olympics as a backdrop, this is a festival still bringing home the medals. Well done Team WFF.
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