Saturday, 14 September 2013

Acoustica Festival at Exeter Phoenix & other venues 13-15 September

Last night was the first of this year's Acoustica Festival - the Exeter festival of alt-folk and Americana - although as ever this definition seems to have been stretched pretty widely. The event is that odd thing - an indoor festival that extends over a number of venues.

We managed to get along to the Phoenix venues for the start of the Festival from 6 to 9.30 on Friday but had to leave just as the number of visitors was starting to swell. In the early part of the evening there were a number of mainly young performers on at the garden stage and the cafe.

After that, we saw a bit of Ben Goddard (above) in the main auditorium and then Carnivala (below) in the Voodoo Lounge. They were true to their name, playing music with a good time vibe, and attracted quite a crowd.

The stars of the evening (or at least the part that we saw) were Saturday Sun and Aidan Simpson.

Saturday Sun are a duo from Dorset who combine wailing and picked guitar with mesmeric vocals. They transfixed the audience and filled the auditorium with soaring sound.

Aidan Simpson, also from Dorset, is a Dylanesque 'protest singer' but is in a class of his own. His songs are well crafted, his guitar technique perfectly matched and his vocals are uniquely flexible. It was a shame that he was on stage so early and had only a small audience - but his future looks good.

We bought a copy of his 10 inch EP recorded on Blanket Records with John Parish.

The Acoustica Festival continues tonight and tomorrow (14 & 15 September) at the Phoenix and other Exeter venues.

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