We (Breabach) made it back to Edinburgh late last night. I have heard many musicians refer to Tønder (actually pronounced ‘too-na’) as being the “best folk festival they ever attended”. I had attended once before with Breabach 11 YEARS AGO and I remember having an excellent time, but I was keen to see what my impressions might be 11 yrs later, with a lot more festival experience under my belt.
We arrived around midnight on Friday, having been picked up by festival transport in Hamburg. We quickly checked in and then walked over to see if there was any craic to be had – Things were cooking. We headed for a beer and bumped into a hoard of pals from Scotland, England, Ireland, Canada, America, Quebec and beyond.
There were people dancing to a live music session in the corner of the hut and everybody in attendance was in tremendous form. So much for ‘playing it safe’ on the first night. We were out until 4.30am. Whoopsy. Worth it.
On the Saturday we gingerly rose from our hotel rooms. We got a real sense of the festival’s energy during the daylight hours and tried to go see as much as possible of their impressive line-up. The site is like a small village, really well designed and every taste and diet catered for. We’re talking barbecued hogs, Danish pastries, rum-and-cigar bars, sit-down restaurant tents, indoor music, outdoor music. Every member of festival staff was friendly, animated and knowledgeable on how to get instruments moved, questions answered, stages changed, problems fixed and most importantly get the atmosphere ‘fired up’. Priorities seem to be; great shows and a great party!
We then grabbed a handful of hours sleep before playing on the Sunday morning at 11am. We were a little glazed at first but the crowds, once again, were just brilliant and the team running the stage were top notch at getting us fueled with coffee and apple juice…and then more beers.
As broken as I am right now, I saw a lot of great music, caught up with a lot of old friends and have come away from Tønder Folk Festival feeling inspired to write more songs, play more tunes take more journeys. Maybe it is the best folk festival in the world??
…Certainly a great final festival of the Summer. Thanks for having us Tønder!