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The End is the Beginning

As the dust settles and the end of SOF 2011 is here it’s hard to know where do I even begin with this blog? The weekend itself was an absolute blast. I miss everyone already and it’s only been a few days since I left. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt like uprooting out to Dunderry and living in a commune. There are so many stand out moments that it’s hard for me to even pin point them, but of course I’m going to try and do that anyway. Because if I didn’t this would be a very short and unsatisfying blog, wouldn’t it?

First up I can safely say we had the best punters that any festival I’ve ever been to or heard of could hope to have grace their event. Everyone was just the most laid back and free spirited individuals you could hope to meet. The litter and clean up was practically non existent thanks to you guys. Thanks for attending and we will see you next year!

All the crew and volunteers involved where amazing. I didn’t arrive up until Thursday and the amount of work that had been put in, and continued to be put in all weekend was just unparalleled. The venue was simply stunning thanks to our art crews and build week volunteers. Martin Duffy made the entire event possible by believing in the team and the supporting the vision they had every step of the way. Ed our site manager was absolutely tireless and seemed constantly to be striding from one crisis point to another. Equally so Natasha, Emily, Orla, Nob, Kurt, Caroline, Milly, Yvonne and all our pink and yellow jackets were just unrelenting in their enthusiasm, energy and good natured outlook to the weekend. It’s easy to get ratty or annoyed when sleep deprived/hungover/over worked but this just didn’t seem to phase these guys. And if anyone did start to get a little bit ratty there was always some quality grub to be got courtesy of our kitchen staff (not to mention the excellent food available at the stalls).

The music and events themselves went off with very little problems. I heard especially good reports about the Slí na Croí drumming tipi and the Golden Spears Healing Tent which I know were frequented by many people who’d never heard of or tried them before. The Hall of Heroes was a hive of shindiggery all weekend from Friday night sessions that kickstarted the fest (and kept many of us bed ridden until noon on Saturday). If you missed the “folk aerobics” Saturday morning then you should feel extremely grateful because the image of Christo and Dave tumbling about in luminous spandex clothing while Christo’s dogs bark at them and strain at their tethers (nearly pulling down the Hall of heroes in the process), well let’s just say it’s burned a mental imprint that’s not likely to leave me anytime soon. The Falconry was also a hit where even the fear of violent and sudden castration didn’t stop punters from lining up to have powerful birds of pray swoop through their legs. The quality on the main stage was really top notch from both the well and the less well known groups. Big thanks to Magna Kata tents for putting it up, it served as a stunning venue. And the bands that played it made the weekend a joy to work at with their easy going nature. Hell some of them were still down in Dunderry when I left on Monday, which just goes to show that they must have enjoyed playing as we did watching them.

More than anything the weekend showed us, the organisers (among whom I’m privileged to have had a small role) what The Spirit of Folk really is. It’s getting the best people around you, putting your heart and soul into every aspect of the festival and keeping that spiritual ethos in everything you do. It was something that everybody involved in any way can feel truly proud of and I’m not gonna lie, now that it’s over I feel like it’s left a small gap in my life and am slightly at a loss as to what to do(yes the weekend has made me feel a bit emotional).

Personally I want to thank all the organisers for letting me be involved all the way from the beginning. Without Spirit of Folk I would have spent most of the year working an unfulfilling job in no way related to what I love to do and without any sense of direction or purpose. Spirit of folk gave me that and gave me a group of people who have enriched my life immeasurably. So thanks you guys!

So what do we do now? We’re gonna do the only thing we can do, get back on that saddle and get back to folking work on SoF 2012! Watch this space.