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Folk Club, Funnybone, and Farmer

“One day when I had forgotten about maybe organizing folk festivals, Phil Watkins offered to show me a farm in the Purbecks…

Phil? He is one of the directors of Funnybone Ltd – (owners of the Pig and Whistle pub which includes Centre Stage where we run the folk club) and is by profession an events manager. To be honest I thought we were wasting our time but it would be a nice trip so why not?

Phil and the farmer (Julian) are on the parish council down in the hamlet of Steeple and they had been thinking about a festival to raise some money for the church. Apparently, a folk festival appealed to them.

Five minutes at Steeple Leaze Farm and I was well up for it. Beautiful landscape, remote location. Great land for camping. Barns which could be adapted for concert stages and a bar. Phil seemed to know the ropes re license applications and was very confident we would get one.

After having started the process of planning festivals more than once and finding no end of obstacles, everything seemed so straightforward: Phil could do the difficult bits and I could sort the music!

Mick Callagahan, Phil’s business partner, and Catherine Burke from the folk club committee came on board and suddenly this festival – a collaboration between Bournemouth Folk Club, Funnybone and the farmer – was being planned. This was late April and they wanted the festival for the first weekend in September. No time to bid for public funding.

Maria Wills, whom Cath knows through work, sorted the artwork for national ads, and our pal Paul Savine came aboard to build the website and refine some designs for posters and flyers

We have a commitment to making the festival eco-friendly and we hope to involve groups like PEAT (Purbeck Environmental Action) and Transition groups.

Here’s to the success of the festival!"

Paul Burke