My other half had a big birthday a few days before Samhain. We wanted to do something special, something a bit different, but nothing was speaking to us and we were running out of time. We looked for Samhain events but they were either too far away or taking place midweek. Then, about two days before the big day a friend of ours drew our attention to a Folk Horror Revival event in Wakefield. It sounded right up our street and unbeknownst to my dear husband I already had a Folk Horror Revival t-shirt wrapped up for his birthday so there seemed to be a an element of fate involved too. We immediately bought tickets and our friend picked us up early on Saturday morning because he was MC’ing the event and we had a bit of a drive to do.
And so we found ourselves at Awakening the Fields! It was the first Folk Horror Revival event we’d been to so I was a little unsure what to expect but we were introduced to Andy Paciorek and Darren Charles when we arrived and suddenly we felt like part of the furniture. Clearly it was the sort of event that only attracts people who are genuinely interested in all things Folk Horror and this I think made it feel very much like everyone was a part of a big like minded family.
It was a fascinating event with some really interesting talks and I came away with new knowledge (I’m now an expert on Gef the Talking Mongoose!) and a shopping list of books and films as long as my arm. I kicked myself hard in the shin for not reading Alan Garner’s Thursbitch before we went as there was a whole talk based on it. We only bought a copy from Alan himself in September. I really had no excuse! Next on our to do list (once I’ve read the book) is to seek out and walk the landscape where it was set. According to the talk by Andy Roberts, locals warn folk about being out after dark and generally believe the valley to be haunted so it’s not a trip we’ll take lightly and definitely not in the dark!
All in all it was an inspiring and very informative day but I have to say the highlight for me was the hauntingly beautiful music performed by Sharron Kraus. I’d only recently heard one of her songs played on the radio so her music is still very new to me but I think it’s safe to say I am now a massive fan. So big a fan in fact that I accidentally stole the download code for one of her albums, something I will never live down owing to the fact I was driven by the weight of my guilt to confess to Sharron herself over dinner! Thankfully she is a lovely person and let me off. We promised to buy a CD from her and ended up buying eleven! Yes, her work is that amazing, and we probably would have bought more had they been available. I just hope she doesn’t think we purchased out of guilt and that it is genuine appreciation!
I haven’t mentioned anything Mabinogion related on my blog before but I have to point out that recently there have been a number of serendipitous happenings drawing me to it and the fact that Sharron Kraus has written a song titled Blodeuwedd is just another pull towards it. I will post more about this in the future but for now it’s goodbye so I can go and listen to another CD!