Small World Festival 2004

Oxbows, Tattershall ~ Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd Aug 2004

The corner of a field in deepest Lincolnshire was the unlikely setting for the aptly named Small World Festival. This year the festival brought some new names to Lincolnshire, as well as artists who will be familiar to those who have attended Small World's sister event The Eco Festival. As we arrived Lancashire group Streetworthy, today performing as a duo rather than a full band were finishing of their set with some Cajan style music. Prior to the next act taking to the stage we wandered round the craft stalls selling a variety of items from gaily coloured clothing to candleholders, ornate cards and relaxation CD's.

In spite of the recent heavy rainfall, the grounds were reasonably firm underfoot, one of the great assets of Lincolnshire's quick draining soils. Though some work was being done on ensuring the traffic routes remained passable, with some children enjoying the task of spreading straw from a trailer on the tracks used by vehicles entering and leaving the festival.

Small World is an apt name, like its sister event The Eco Fest, its a relatively small event yet the organisers are attracting acts from around the world, not just local acts or bands from the UK.

Though the weather forecast was good, soon after we arrived a large dark cloud rolled over the festival site bringing a sharp shower that had festival goers sheltering under brollys, brightly coloured blankets and in marquees. By the time Dawson & The Dissenters took the stage the rain had thankfully stopped and the sun was once again hot, though the wind refreshingly cool. The Dissenters are fronted by Dawson Smith who originally hails from South Wales, they played original roots rock songs, many from their current CD as well as new material which will feature on their next album due for release later in the year. With his roots in Wales, a number of Smith's songs, such as 'Rebecca's Daughters' are about the history of his native land. Alongside Smith, Paddy's mandolin playing gives the band a distinctive sound. This accomplished musician also plays electric guitar, augmenting the band's other young guitarist's work. Paddy had recently purchased a lap steel guitar, on which he performed a country blues number which will feature on the band's next CD.

During a two hour break before the evening's music commenced there was opportunity to take part in some drum and dance workshops or have tea at the popular Big T Pot which was selling a variety of vegetarian food, as well as home-made cakes and soft drinks.

Originally from San Paulo, Brazil the delightful Liliana Chachian and her talented band brought the red hot rhythms of Brazilian samba to a Tattershall field that was rapidly cooling as the sun went down.

Liliana is widely recognised as one of the finest samba singers on the European scene, she has worked with a wide spectrum of musicians including Airto Moreira, Da Lata and even pop band The Pet Shop Boys. She sung her lively songs in her native tongue, giving her band members an opportunity to add some fine solos. Johnny Crawford who is well known on the British Latin jazz scene especially stood out with some great keyboard work.

Though time was pressing the rousing reception given by the audience encouraged Liliana and her band to return for a short encore.

Next up were Bretton band Skilda, for a time it looked uncertain if they would actually be able to play! Problems with the electrical supply due to additional computerised equipment used by the band meant that even before the band's performance the stage had been plunged in darkness on a number of occasions. Unfortunately this occurred too during their set, though with some adjustments whilst Irish born singer Naia Wolf sung a beautiful song 'The Flower Of Finae' unaccompanied, power was restored to enable Skilda to complete their stunning live set.

The highly inventive band have combined traditional instruments such as fiddle, whistles and pipes with electronic programming of Koran Erwan who takes samples of natural sounds and interweaves them with the group's music, giving Skilda a striking sound that draws on Breton, Irish and Scottish influences. Most of the music played by the band including songs such as 'And Its Gone' and 'Airfailarin' which showcase Naia's haunting vocals can be found on their debut CD '13 Dreams'. By the final number many in the audience were on their feet dancing to the impelling rhythms running through Skilda's music. The group have a great empathy with natural and ecological groups, and left the stage with a powerful message regarding the misuse of the Earth.

For us it was time to take our leave of this exciting little festival, but we're sure the night's finale featuring Cuban style band Asere will have been as memorable as those acts preceding.

The second Small World Festival which is supported by both East Lindsey District Council and the Arts Council Of England provided local music fans a great opportunity to see some amazing acts close to home. Like the Eco Fest, if you didn't fancy the rigors of camping for the weekend, day tickets were available and certainly given the quality of the bands at this year's event, were excellent value. Hopefully the Small World Festival, inspired by Suzi Mulligan and Lincoln Arts Development Officer Maurice Mulligan will continue to attract great acts to the county in future years.