The second part of Greenbelt was almost as good as the first, though nothing topped Show of Hands’ fantastic performance on the first night. We got into the performance cafe well before Beth Rowley’s set as we had been introduced to her stunning voice at a previous Greenbelt (on mainstage that time) and knew she would be popular. It proved to be one of the disappointments of this years festival. The first song was just dreadful, and for most of the rest of the set she sang new material. It did improve from the poor start, but all the songs were marred by poor sound. Not quite sure what was going on as the performance cafe sound had been spot on previously. Poor Beth sounded like she was signing in the bathroom. She ended on the beautiful almost persuaded, which fortunately reminded me how good she can be. According to the kids she was good at last orders that night, so while I won’t be rushing out to buy her album just yet I may see if I can have a listen online to some of the new tracks and make a decision not marred by toilet-acoustics.
The combined draw of Jude Simpson and another chance to hear Folk On brought us to the comedy showcase. The early afternoon slot meant no queuing and hence time for a quick game of Cribbage before the comedy started! It was a fun slot, though Jude seemed a bit rusty (young baby might explain that!) but had the audience with her nonetheless through My Spleen Can’t do the Hoovering and My Baby is a Mango. Folk on were folking marvellous once again – mainstage must surely beckon?
Another of our “must listen” artists was Kate Rusby, who was on the main stage, though with a short set in the mid-afternoon. This overlapped slightly with the comedy showcase, so we had to leave in the middle of the last Folk On song and hoof it from the Centaur to mainstage as quickly as possible. Kate did not disappoint in the slightest. We had never heard her live, and she gave a great performance, with a low-key chatty style between songs. A longer set would have been the best improvement that could have been made here!
Later in the evening we returned to mainstage for the Unthanks who proved very listenable but didn’t quite come across as a main stage act for me. I would have preferred a smaller venue and a beer to go with my Unthanks. Still, it made for a pleasantly enjoyable set, and allowed me some time to experiment with camera settings to try and capture night-time crowd shots.