Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and crowd scenes

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Established in 1992, the Leigh Folk Festival takes place annually at Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, and I popped along on Sunday to catch the last day of the four day event – and had a fantastic time.

Claimed to be “the largest free folk festival in the county,” the event puts on hundreds of performers across multiple venues in Leigh Old Town, watched by thousands of spectators.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

The range of entertainment across the stages was impressive, covering traditional and contemporary folk music, through to blues; plus Celtic, English and Scottish dance groups, country dancing, Morris dancers, international folk dance, indie, jive and line-dancing and more.

Getting to the festival is dead easy too: Leigh on Sea station (with direction connections to London) is just a five minute walk away from the heart of the festival.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

As I arrived, Morris dancers from the Hertfordshire Holly were busying themselves, rather incongruously, under a concrete flyover.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

A little further along the waterfront could be seen Morris dancers clattering metal poles together.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

I loved the statement on the festival website:

Rather than drifting towards becoming another commercially driven, ticketed event, the team of volunteer organisers has doggedly held fast to the original grass roots, access-for-all ethos, and so the festival has retained its unique, eclectic and idiosyncratic atmosphere.

Music has the power to make us all feel part of something bigger than ourselves, while nurturing a true sense of community and local pride. The pastoral, village fete atmosphere of the Library Gardens and the bustling, waterfront location of Old Leigh are both fundamental to the spirit of the weekend, and offer a natural, unpretentious welcome to visitors in their thousands.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

I saw too many bands to remember all their names (sorry!), but here’s a selection of sights from the day:

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Many fishing-related businesses still work from Leigh on Sea.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

The main drag is charming, with loads of attractive old buildings.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Along the waterfront.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

A sandy beach.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

A few brave souls take to the water. Behind, a train hurtles past.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Prosecco from a horse box.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Punch & Judy show.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

These guys spent ages trying to hit the triangular ‘hat’ on the breakwater. The chap on the far right proved to be the winner.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Curved footbridge over the railway line. In the distance is Westcliff-on-Sea.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Heading back to Leigh On Sea.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Wooden shelter.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

On the beach.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Merch stall.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

On the other side of the tracks can be seen the popular Ship pub on New Road, which unexpectedly shut its doors in March this year.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Looking down from the footbridge.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

The Strand Tea Rooms.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

One of the reasons I’d come out to Essex was to see my old friends, the Bridport Dagger playing on the Peterboat stage.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

The band were regulars at our Offline Club in Brixton, producing a darkly compelling sound described as “1950’s rock & roll as re-imagined by David Lynch.”

I love ’em!

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Grabbing a shot.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

The DJ scored an unexpected crowd uniting smash when he played ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in full.

I felt rather sorry for the Diamond Family Archive who had to follow the rabble rousing singalong with their mellow experimental sounds.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

The organisers’ website contains this witty comment: “we have even more mud on show than Glastonbury… but only when the tide is out!”

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Rocking R’n’B.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

The sea was nowhere to be seen!

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Heading home.

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Photos from the Leigh On Sea folk festival: bands, beer, banjos, Morris dancers and people, June 2017, Essex

Last view before I caught the train home.

I loved the festival and it’s non-profit ethos. I’ll be back next year!

More info: Leigh Folk Festival website.

Chat about the festival on the forum.