Gadarene, The Day of the Rabblement: The Anchor, Sidmouth, August 6 2012

It seems as if the stage behind The Anchor gets bigger every year, and there’s always a happy mob enjoying the bands. On a whim and a recommendation I popped in on Monday night to catch two excellent bands. First up was The Day of the Rabblement, who played a high-energy set to much dancing and good cheer.

The Day of the Rabblement

Singer Khaleda Brophy-Harmer has a bright, powerful and distinctly girly voice, and songs like In The Bullrushes suited the happy atmosphere perfectly.

Khaleda from The Day of the Rabblement

Next up were Gadarene, who picked up the high-energy baton and ran with it. Featuring two brilliant Dartmoor step dancers in Matt Norman and Laurel Swift (who also plays fiddle with The Gloworms), they played a brilliant set, to an increasingly full crowd.


Mandolinist Matt, a rather modest fellow, seemed faintly bemused by the huge reception the band got. When he wasn’t tapping away, he sat down, cheerfully and almost impassively picking out tunes with great skill and dexterity.

Gadarene’s Matt Norman

The group played a great set of dance tunes, ranging from upbeat ‘bangers’ (some enthusiastic kids even formed a friendly moshpit at one point) and some more elegant tunes, including the joyful Charles’ Hornpipe, which the group played in the “mixolydian mode”, whatever that might be.

Laurel Swift of Gadarene

A great night, and evidence of Sidmouth’s ability to entertain outside its main venues. One of the delights of Sidmouth (unless you live there and hate folk music, I suppose) is that during Folk Week you can’t escape the music. The town really takes the festival to heart, and vice versa.

Huge Folk Witness thanks to super guitarist, beard owner, photographer and all-round good chap Ren Cisneros-Foster for all the brilliant photos in this blog. I took a few photos myself, but they were rubbish. Thanks Ren!

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