Thousands attend Folk by the Oak's 15th music festival in Hatfield Park
- Credit: Tammy Marlar
An estimated 8,000 folk music lovers, families and friends turned out on Sunday to enjoy the 15th annual Folk by the Oak festival in Hatfield Park.
Highlights included a sublime opening set on the Main Stage from the Sam Sweeney Band, led by the renowned Bellowhead fiddler.
FBTO 2022 also saw the long-awaited return of guitar legend Richard Thompson, whose late afternoon solo set enthralled the audience in the Queen Elizabeth Oak Field in the grounds of Hatfield House.
The all-day festival also featured the welcome return of Spell Songs, the musical companion piece to The Lost Words and The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, which was commissioned by Folk by the Oak.
The Spell Songs musicians weaved their magic over the audience during the penultimate set, ending with the standout track The Lost Words Blessing.
Legendary Scottish folk duo The Proclaimers closed the Main Stage in Hatfield this year.
Twins Charlie and Craig Reid played some intriguing new tracks and old favourites such as I’m On My Way and I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), with Folk by the Oak’s trademark finale fireworks.
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The festival’s smaller second stage, the Acorn Stage, was opened by Hertfordshire talent Eirra.
The up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Hitchin is a beneficiary of the festival’s charity partner Willow, which provides uplifting and unforgettable special days to seriously ill young adults.
Eirra’s accomplished and moving performance left everyone in no doubt that she is one to watch for the future.
Meanwhile, children frolicked in the extensive family area, where numerous activities were provided for youngsters within sight and sound of the Main Stage, so that the grown-ups didn’t miss out!
Families were able to enjoy everything from circus skills to fairy dancing and didgeridoo to henna painting.
The craft tent was also alive with people practising new skills from leather crafting to fan making – perfect for a hot summer’s day!
And to ensure everyone was comfortable during the heat on Sunday, July 17, the organisers issued comprehensive guidelines in advance.
They also set up a number of additional shade structures, including a ‘mist tent’ that people were invited to cool off in while being sprayed with a fine mist of cold water.
Super early bird tickets for next year's festival are on sale now and can be purchased at www.folkbytheoak.com, where you can also sign up for the festival newsletter and be the first to hear as the 2023 line-up announcements are made.