UnampliFire Festival 2017

May 27, 2017
Master Shipwrights Palace, Deptford, London

“We don’t feel the need for amplification”
That’s a short but accurate description of UnampliFire Festival. The musicians express themselves simply through voice and unplugged instruments. A listening crowd gets to roam around a  17th century house with two rooms of music and into the garden for more music around a campfire and in a little shed overlooking the river. Each act plays two or three times. Here’s a photo journey through UnampliFire festival in 2017.

Kefaya delivered a cosmopolitan set with delicate Spanish style guitar and Arabic influences. Festival goers queued for the chance to watch them.

 

 

 

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 01 - Kefaya -6643

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 01 - Kefaya -6640

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 01 - Audience -6633

James Riley’s guitar-based set was warm and engaging, easily competing with the nearby church bells that permeated through to the tiny Cranehouse stage.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 02 - James Riley -6661

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 02 - James Riley -6663

 

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 02 - James Riley -6664

 

 

 

 

 

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 02 - James Riley -6688

“Oh my God, all our songs are so pretentious!”
August and After’s name was inspired by a great Counting Crows album and they performed Holocene by another of their favourite artists, Bon Iver.  The band had an easy charm, joking about being featured on an Infinite Indie Folk Spotify playlist but secretly wanting to be classic rock. To be fair, the indie folk moniker was the more accurate, especially as they mixed traditional elements in with their original songs, and encouraged mindfulness when listening to one of their introspective songs: “close your eyes and imagine you’re in your favourite place.”

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 03 - August and After -6714

 

 

 

 

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 03 - August and After -6708

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 03 - August and After -6697

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 03 - August and After -6712

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 03 - Crowd -6718

Marry Waterson’s voice was powerful with a traditional timbre as she sang a capella to a rapt crowd.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 04 - Marry Waterson -6738

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 04 - Marry Waterson -6743

In between sets, there was time to explore and appreciate the shipwright’s house and grounds.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 04 - Audience -6745

The Medlars’ traditional approach struck a chord with the listeners around the campfire.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 05 - The Medlars -6767

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 05 - The Medlars -6779

A relaxed crowd enjoyed the early summer sunshine with the music swirling in the background.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 02 - Audience -6679

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 02 - Audience -6681

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 05 - Audience -6796

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 08 - Audience -6838

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Audience -7130

The beautiful river setting was a great backdrop for good food, drink and company.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Audience -7056

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 14 - Audience -7197

“This  song is inspired by John Keats who I was gonna say is a fan of me but that’s not the right way round. He’s dead”
Nina Harries’ set was considerably more enthralling than a solo singer with a double bass might sound on paper. Her soaring voice combined with the deep instrument and judicious use of eerie silence was undercut by keeping the crowd giggling between songs with idiosyncratic topics and entertaining banter: “The next one is about soil erosion” and “I can’t really whistle outwardly” were two notable examples.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 06 - Nina Harries -6822

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 06 - Nina Harries -6811

On a bill of fragile unaccompanied folk, the compere was particularly laudutory about Mercury nominated pianist, Kit Downes, with good reason.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 07 - Kit Downes -6830

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 07 - Kit Downes -6835

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 07 - Kit Downes -6834

Piers Faccini stepped up for the first of three performances with interesting instrumentation and early Italian inspiration.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 09 - Piers Faccini -6909

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 09 - Piers Faccini -6862

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 09 - View -6874

James Riley gave his all for his campfire performance.

 

 

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 08 - James Riley -6844

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 08 - James Riley -6928

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 08 - James Riley -6932

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 08 - James Riley -6849

One of the highlights of the festival was Bill Berlinghoff’s songs and stories, bringing traditional call and response Tennessean mountain music to the banks of the Thames.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 10 - Bill Berlinghoff -6987

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 10 - Bill Berlinghoff -6958

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 10 - Bill Berlinghoff -6970

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 10 - Bill Berlinghoff -6979

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 10 - Bill Berlinghoff -6981

Piers Faccini’s second performance had the room enthralled.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 11 - Piers Faccini -7004

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 11 - Piers Faccini -7024

Gamelan Lila Cita brought the sound and colour performing mesmerising Balinese music.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Gamelan Lita Cita -7050

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Gamelan Lita Cita -7053

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Gamelan Lita Cita -7080

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Gamelan Lita Cita -7073

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Gamelan Lita Cita -7147

Nina Harries’ set at the Cranehouse definitely had more than three people watching! She stayed around at the end to talk music.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Nina Harries -7212

Nadine Khouri’s softly spoken dreamy music fit right in at this unamplified extravaganza.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 12 - Nadine Khouri -7029

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 12 - Nadine Khouri -7046

It was time for one of the highlights of the festival every year: the campfire singalong. Marry Waterson started it off.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 14 - Marry Waterson -7180

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 14 - Audience -7185

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Audience -7150

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 14 - Marry Waterson -7167

Owl Parliament’s choirmaster stepped up for the next set of singalongs.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 15 - Owl Parliament -7218

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 15 - Owl Parliament -7217

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 15 - Owl Parliament -7230

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 15 - Owl Parliament -7219

August & After had the coveted sunset slot at the Cranehouse.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 16 - August and After -7262

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 16 - August and After -7382

Speaking of which, one of the unadvertised stars of the show is the riverside setting of the festival. Such a beautiful place to watch the sunset.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 16 - View -7214

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 16 - View -7254

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 16 - View -7207

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 16 - View -7395

As darkness fell, Kit Downes performed for the second time.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 18 - Kit Downes -7308

Kefaya had the first nighttime campfire set, impressing with a rich sound rounded out with a guest vocalist.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 17 - Kefaya -7269

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 17 - Kefaya -7361

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 17 - Kefaya -7287

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 17 - Kefaya -7314

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 17 - Kefaya -7371

As people started heading home, The Owl Parliament choir were in danger of outnumbering their crowd, but they did not let this affect their joyful performance.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 19 - Owl Parliament -7412

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 19 - Owl Parliament -7429

Gamelan Lila Cita also rapidly outnumbered the remaining crowd but those that were able to stay experienced a sonic treat in close quarters.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 22 - Gamelan Lita Cita -7606

Piers Faccini’s third set was his most atmospheric with his voice soaring into the dark.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 21 - Piers Faccini -7564

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 21 - Piers Faccini -7504

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 21 - Piers Faccini -7590

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 21 - Piers Faccini -7503

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 21 - Piers Faccini -7566

Bill Berlinghoff’s impromptu intimate set of stories and songs was the perfect way to end an incredible day of great acoustic music.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 20 - Bill Berlinghoff -7447

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 20 - Bill Berlinghoff -7545

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 20 - Bill Berlinghoff -7457

With sea shanties in the air and the crowds largely dispersed, it was a perfect time to appreciate the beauty of the city.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 20 - View -7519

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 20 - View -7451

There was just time to warm up at the campfire one last time.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Fire -7155

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 13 - Fire -7158

Remarkably, even after witnessing 23 performance, the music wasn’t finished yet. However, the last train didn’t know that! In the immortal words of Brian Fallon, the only thing know is it’s getting dark and we’d better go.

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 21 - Crowd -7562

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 16 - View -7307

UnampliFire Festival 2018 will be held on Saturday June 9 featuring Sam Amidon, Sam Lee & Friends and several people that aren’t called Sam, including Thom Ashworth and many more.

All-day tickets are a reasonable £35 on the door but cheaper still if you buy online in advance. See thenestcollective.co.uk/shows/unamplifire-2018 for details. 

For another trip down UnampliFire memory lane, check out my review of UnampliFire 2016 featuring Redrospective favourites Emily Barker and Stick In the Wheel.

Like what you see? There are more photos of the show over on Flickr. Please follow me there, and here:

WordPress: redrospective.com
Twitter: @redrospective
Instagram: redrospective
Facebook: redrospective

Want more photos? Try my travel, nature and street photography website, Out To The Streets!

 

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 01 - House -6650

Unamplifire Festival 2017 - 04 - Audience -180159

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.