2004 report
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Well here's what happened


This report from Ted Comben

First published in Folk on Tap the magazine of the Southern Counties Folk Federation (SCoFF)

I make no apologies for every year bringing a little bit of my Hampshire roots to Miskin, for it was there where I learnt to love the music I am proud to bring to you during Easter. I was actually part of the committee that formed the first few local clubs into the embryo of SCoFF that has turned into an organisation covering almost the whole of the South of England. ......Andy

What would Easter be without Miskin?
Andy and company had, as always, done a wonderful job in organising the site. I really don’t know how they do it.


Checked in at reception and paid the ridiculously low price for a bunk in the Accommodation Hut and started saying hello to everyone there whom I knew and several new friends too. Then in no time at all, it was off to NeIIy Dean’s for an evening of song, laughter, merriment and, as far as I can remember, the continued renewal of acquaintances.

One of the really good things about Miskin is that it is one of the very early festivals, so those to whom one said goodbye in Sidmouth and haven’t seen since, all seem to be there for Miskin at Easter.
There is always a surprise on that first evening. The standard of singing from everyone is always like being in the best folk club that you have ever visited - and then - someone has their turn and the whole place falls silent

This year, just in front of where I was perched two young people (well everyone is young by my standards) looked at each other, very rapid conference; nod of heads, and off they went. They launched into a really funny song about King Arthur. I deduced from the slightly antipodal tarnish to the vowels that they were to be recognised as Australian brethren. When I asked them about the song, they told me that it had been the theme tune from a kiddies programme in Australia, which they had arranged for two voices. Now, it wasn’t just the song that everyone found so interesting, it was the amazing harmonies and the totally professional delivery.

I later learned that they were known as Cloudstreet. Nicole Murray (flute, tin whistle and guitar) and her singing partner John Thomson (vocals, and what vocals, and guitar). More about them later.
Friday evening for me landed up at the campfire with several others playing almost anything other than folk music, but a great sing around in any event.
There were some changes to the programme this year, such as a full sound stage in the main Scout Hut.


Not noisy but it did mean that one could hear perfectly all of the instruments and voices perfectly. “A good addition Andy!”(Said everyone, including myself). The only consideration was that more sober thought had to be given as to which concert to attend and at what time.
For the most of Saturday afternoon I was in The Cottage, wonderfully hosted by Ned Clamp, and with most of my known favourites performing. KathAnnie, Jilly Hewitt (whom I try never to miss), Dave and Ann, Jeff Henry, Trefor and Vickie Williams and Sue Stevens. Amongst all of these there were the now to be expected polished performances, but, shining high, right up there with them, was a most amazing new voice from a young lady called Tori.

Tori pictured here during a busy night at Llantrisant Folk Club

Tori had the almost unenviable task of performing second after Ned and Pat. Tori specialises in beautiful, almost mediaeval songs. She sings totally unaccompanied and with such bell like clarity. Tori is a member of the local Llantrisant folk club and this was her first time singing at a festival. There wasn’t anything about Tori in the programme so I asked her for some personal and historic details, along with her publicity pictures. I will be happy to provide any details for club organisers who would like to contact her
—just write/email to Folk on Tap. Well worth a Spot is an understatement — believe me.
I just about managed to make the Folk Club in the evening and oscillated between the Camp Fire Circle -

Nelly Dean’s

and the Ceilidh in The Cottage


Easter Sunday is a special treat in the Miskin Scout Village Site. My Sunday starts with a visit to the tent of Colin and Rosie to ensconce myself in the most advantageous position to watch the procession.

Our leader, Andy, looked great in his finery and Jan (with her van) made sure that all of the children had costumes especially for the procession.

Ian Hewitt had is precious dog dressed-up with yellow daffodil collar and all.

Did you know that the first Steam train to actually pull passengers and a load was not The Rocket but a beast called Trevithick’s Train? Neither did I. However, on 21st February 1804 this event did happen between Merthyr Tydfil and Abercynon in South Wales. The first-ever high pressure steam locomotive hauled ten tons of iron and seventy passengers over that distance. It was the brainchild of a Cornish Engineer called Richard Trevithick.

Siwsan George and her company in musical format imparted this amazing knowledge to us during a half hour presentation in Welsh and English in the Cottage on Sunday afternoon. (Festivals are educational and informative as well).
For the remainder of the afternoon I concentrated on diving from place to place to make sure that I saw and heard everyone that I could, at least once. The highlight of my day was seeing Cloudstreet perform their whole act.

Their CD is called “Violet Sarah and Muckle John”. Nicola wrote many of the songs on the CD and Nicola/John arranged the traditional tunes. I discussed their arrangement of ‘Famous Flower of Serving Men’ (they had no idea that it had been recorded by anyone so famous over here) and Nicola said that she had been “reading through a Child Ballad book one evening, and had decided that the mythology of a monarchy, and especially the cross dressing, would suit them for this trip.” I coughed and declined to comment further. If ever you see the name Cloudstreet on a fixture programme, you must go and see them. You will have to be quick though because Nicola and John are considering going back down under for a while.

The evening ended with a concert from Harriet Earis (a professional Harper) and Colman Connelly.

I have never before heard such wonderful harpistry. Celtic music at its absolute best

Monday morning is the sad time, when all of the empty beer barrels have to be taken to the gate so that they can escape back to the breweries from whence they came.

[The fun carried on in The Windsor Arms in nearby Pontyclun where the Llantrisant Folk Club Hosted a day long Survivers session. A.J. ]

And so another, the 10th, Miskin Folk Event, came to an end. Back next year!!

Ted Comben

Thanks for those kind words Ted I really must get around to adding a few of my own before this years starts. For now here are a few random Miskin Moments

from 2004