The Strawberry Fair is an annual one-day event held on Midsummer Common in Cambridge. It always reminds me of a scaled-down Glastonbury Festival, with tonnes of exotic foods to try, plenty of bizarre festival shops, and loads of fantastic performances. There really is something for everyone. At yesterday's event, I saw folk bands, performance poets, belly dancers, a blacksmith, three stilt-walkers, and - best of all - Goth morris dancers!
|"With a hey nonny nonny and a Raaaaaaaaaawr!"|
We started our day around twelve noon, in the Hatter's Cafe. First up, music and poetry from members of Cambridge-based charity FLACK. FLACK is an organisation with homeless people at its heart, and the charity produces a monthly magazine written by homeless people, with comprehensive local arts and entertainment listings. FLACK promotes awareness of issues effecting the homeless community and acts as a social hub, giving its members the space and support to help themselves. It really is a fantastic charity, and you can find out more about it here.
Then, it was time for the poets to invade the stage! The spoken word proceedings were led by the very wonderful Fay Roberts of Allographic Press, who had managed to pull together a fantastic line-up of performers in just over twenty four hours!
J.S Watts gave us all a glimpse into the strange and beautiful world of Steelyard Sue, the protagonist from her Sabotage Award nominated poetry pamphlet. Narrative poet Riaz Moola unleashed his epic retelling of Moby Dick, and his witty internet break-up poem went down well with the crowd, while Nikki Marrone was as engaging as ever, musing on the themes of temptation, redemption and mental illness.
Elaine Ewart's nature poetry was wonderfully well-observed, and a marvellous counterpoint to the anarchic performance poetry of Richard Carryngton. Hayley Foster's delicate, articulate words were met with thunderous applause, and poetry polymath Patrick Widdess was consistently fantastic.
Musical duo The Antipoet provided a fast and funny climax, with songs about sex, stockings and Nazi grandmas. All semblance of decorum was forgotten; just the way we like it!
It was wonderful to see so many people in the audience; we had a full tent for the majority of the show! It's great to see so many people enjoying poetry, and I only hope that we can encourage more would-be performers to get down to local open mic nights and give it a go themselves! See you all on stage!
|Good earnest facial expression there, Moden|
Photographs courtesy of JS Watts. Check out more from JS here.