Nowt queer about folk festival in Wessex

Veteran drummer Dougie Cooper performing with the Tommy Sampson Orchestra in 1947

Veteran drummer Dougie Cooper performing with the Tommy Sampson Orchestra in 1947

First published in What's On by

THERE will be dancing in the street and elsewhere next week when the Wessex Folk Festival returns to Weymouth quayside next weekend.

This free weekend of music and dance, ranging from the traditional to the contemporary is happening alongside the Old Harbour in Weymouth, over the weekend of June 3 to 5.

There will be two stages providing a non-stop range of music between 11am and 6pm and en energetic community ceilidh in Hope Square after the Main Stage programme.

There are two ticketed concerts in Hope reformed Church – Seize the Day will play on June 3, followed by Jackie Oates and her band the following night.

Tickets for these concerts, and festival programmes, are available at Imagine Books in St Alban Street, Weymouth, or from Hey Baby shop in Pummery Square, Poundbury, Dorchester. Tickets and programmes are also available at the weekly music session held in the Sailors Return every Wednesday Other free events taking place on the Saturday and Sunday include Morris dancing displays along Trinity Road, the festival Folk Club and Who’s A’feard in the Old Town Hall, plus lunchtime and evening sessions in The Kings Arms and The Sailors Return.

There are also several workshops, including bodhran, spoons, a guitar and a songwriters forum where the craft of song writing will be explored in an interactive environment.

Concert tickets, programmes, festival souvenirs, artistes merchandising and any programme changes will be available from the festival information desk which will be operating in Hope Square from Friday, June 3.

For more information check out wessexfolkfestival.co.uk.

Now, talking of things folkie, you can’t have failed to notice that one-time folk enfant terrible Bob Dylan turned 70 this week.

BBC Four devoted a huge slice of their airtime last weekend to his Bobness, with a rerun of Martin Scorcese’s rockumentary, if you will, No Direction Home, covering Dylan’s evolution from folk singer in 1961 to electric rock star in 1966.

The highlight of the film, well, for me anyway, came at the 1965 Newport Folk festival, where Dylan was booed off stage for going electric.

Watching this at home, I joined in and threw things at my telly.

However, there will be no such nonsense tonight at The Star in Gloucester Street, Weymouth, where a number of Dylan afficionados will celebrating the great man’s 70th birthday.

Roye Membury, Tom Caulfield, Kipper and Chris Lonergan, with special guest Si ‘Jubb’ Carruthers sitting in on drums, will be trawling through Dylan’s extensive back catalogue. And, as a special treat they will be including several songs from The Band, to mark Levon Helm’s 71st birthday this week.

Staying at The Star, if your taste is more jazz than folk, Sunday afternoon is the time to pop in, even if it’s just to witness the incredible drumming of Dougie Cooper.

The remarkable Dougie is 82 this September and has been a pro player all his life, with his first paid gig in the orchestra pit at the London Palladium when he was just 16.

Since then, he’s toured the world and played with some of the top names in the world of jazz, from Ronnie Scott to Count Basie.

Dougie tells me that this is the shortest journey he’s had to make for a gig, as he only lives across the road.

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