The Cambridge City Roots Festival took place in February 2017. Over a week (or so) there were lots of different events on at a range of venues around the city. I went to some of them, picking the ones I was most interested in – not necessarily the biggest name events.
A bitterly cold Saturday saw some local bands out busking around town, many of whom also played in the Cambridge Union building during the day, affording them the chance to thaw out with a warming cup of tea. The Cambridge Folk Club who ran this event, proved to be friendly and welcoming.
Now, it might be my memory playing tricks, but I thought I’d remembered seeing some of these gigs (Mad Dog McRea, Luke Jackson/Amy Wadge) scheduled quite some time before I became aware of the City Roots Festival label being stuck onto them. I had pencilled them in as gigs I’d like to attend, even before I was asked to review the festival for folking.com. Also, there were other folk artists playing locally at around that same period, who weren’t included in the festival itinerary, so I’m not sure what the selection criteria might have been.
So, what’s the point of yet another festival? Why go so off-season? Well, there’s a wealth of talent out there and it provides another focal point for collecting some of these artists together under an umbrella (though hat, scarf and gloves might have been better!) of a festival. Aiming to promote folk music in the local community, it’s a welcome wintry counterpoint to the main Cambridge Folk Festival in the summertime.
Was it worth it? Well, some of the signage was a bit inconsistent and scheduling updates were made online only, making the posters around town rather out-of-date when one headliner had to pull out at the last minute. Still these are teething troubles and this was only the first of these festivals. It will be interesting to see whether they manage to iron out these issues if they decide to repeat the festival next year.
Read my overview in folking.com (who kindly asked me to review the festival for them) here. Thanks also to Jay at Prescription PR for sorting out access to the various venues.