Music festival raises £8,000 for Welwyn Hatfield charity
PUBLISHED: 17:55 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:44 10 August 2018
Jean S. B-C. Mower-Allard
Generous festival-goers helped raise more than £8,000 for a Welwyn Hatfield charity at this year’s Folk by the Oak.
Headlined by Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald and Billy Bragg, the family-friendly festival took place in the grounds of Hatfield House earlier this month.
FBTO’s charity beneficiary each year is Welwyn Garden City-based Willow.
And thanks to a combination of Folk by the Oak’s 50p per ticket donation and revellers popping pennies and pounds into the collection boxes, buying raffle tickets and pre-loved items at a pop-up shop, another bumper amount was raised for Willow.
With some festival-goers even daring to take on the climbing wall and donating for the privilege, a wonderful £8,007.92 was donated at this year’s FBTO.
This brings the total raised by Willow through their partnership with Folk by the Oak organisers to £71,442.23.
Emma Dexter, marketing manager of JSL Productions, the events team behind both Folk by the Oak and the Battle Proms picnic concert at Hatfield House, said: “We are very proud of how generous our audience are every year, and we are always are delighted to work with such an enthusiastic and energetic team of Willow volunteers.”
Co-founded by former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson and wife Megs as a lasting memorial to their daughter Anna, Willow is the only national charity working with seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds to fulfil uplifting ‘Special Days’.
After hearing the total raised at Hatfield House, Willow tweeted: “Such fantastic news.
“Thank you so much to everyone at @FolkByTheOak for your continued support and a massive thanks to everyone who donated, whether through buying festival tickets, buying raffle tickets, donating to our bucket collection or buying from our shop. You are amazing!”
JSL’s Emma Dexter added: “Folk by the Oak looks forward to welcoming Willow back when we return to Hatfield House on Sunday, July 14, 2019.”
The all-day folk, roots and acoustic festival takes place each year in the leafy Queen Elizabeth Oak Field at Hatfield House near where Elizabeth I heard she had become Queen of England.
This year’s festival witnessed main stage performances from Amy Macdonald, the legendary Billy Bragg and the award-winning The Young’uns and Eliza Carthy.
There was a change of programme earlier in the day with renowned Welsh harpist Catrin Finch unable to perform following her final chemotherapy session as part of her treatment for breast cancer, and kora player Seckou Keita opened the main stage on his own.
Sam Kelly & the Lost Boys then deservedly moved up to the main stage after headlining the smaller Acorn Stage 12 months ago.
The honour of closing the second stage this year went to Bedford-based CC Smugglers, and they grasped the opportunity with a foot-stomping live performance.
While CC Smugglers packed out the Acorn tent, there was hardly enough room on the main stage for the award-winning Eliza Carthy and the 11-piece Wayward Band.
Billy Bragg, who followed Eliza’s set, had just pedal steel guitar player CJ Hillman for company.
Not that it mattered as Bragg has perfected his songwriting craft over three decades and was the highlight of the festival for many.
Kicking off with Sexuality, the veteran left-wing activist mixed Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan covers with his own songs such as Levi Stubbs’ Tears, Between the Wars, and There Is Power in a Union.
The Bard of Barking galvanised the crowd with a combination of humour, politics and common sense before finishing his set with an emotional encore of A New England, dedicating one verse to the late Kirsty MacColl.
While called Folk by the Oak, the festival closed with the more mainstream rock of This is The Life singer Amy Macdonald.
The newlywed Mr Rock & Roll star won over the watching crowd with her biggest hits, and songs from recent fourth album Under Stars.
After playing tracks such as Automatic and Slow it Down, Amy’s encore of Let’s Start a Band was accompanied by the festival’s traditional fireworks finale.
• For more on the festival, visit www.folkbytheoak.com