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Monday, 30 June 2014

Glasto heroes - When the going gets tough, the fishermen get going


It was a classic case of the show must go on when a huge rain storm hit Glastonbury just as the Fisherman’s Friends launched into their third song in the festival’s acoustic tent.

While torrents of rain thundered down the roof of the massive big top, cracks of thunder echoed through Worthy Farm and flashes of lightning lit up the black sky outside, the nine-man shanty group from Port Isaac stepped down into the 2,000-strong crowd and simply carried on singing.

There can’t be many other acts who could have achieved such a feat, but for the old pals who raise their hearty voices each summer Friday evening on the harbour beach of the North Cornwall fishing port they call home, it was something that just came naturally.

“We just did what we’ve always do – we’re well used to singing in the middle of everyone like that,” said real life fisherman and baritone Jeremy Brown, over a well-earned beer in the bar later.

“Just as well we sing that ‘acapulco’,” he joked.

All power was switched off and the audience were warned to stand away from the metal barriers in front of the stage as well as the tent’s giant metal support scaffolding to avoid electrocution as the storm hit around 5.30pm on Friday.

A stage manager beckoned MC and bass man Jon Cleave to the side of the stage to warn him that it was too dangerous for the band to use microphones. He apologised to the crowd and said they hoped to be back on stage as soon as possible.





A disappointed audience, many of whom had been waiting for hours to see the Cornish group perform, huddled together waiting for the storm to pass.

Close to the front of the crowd was BBC Radio 2 DJ Mark Radcliffe, who had come up to watch the group he has championed since they signed a major record deal with Universal four years ago, and invited them to appear live at this year’s televised Folk Awards at the Royal Albert Hall.

“In 32 years coming to Glastonbury, I’ve never seen anything like this happen before,” he said.

But, within minutes the Fisherman’s Friends strode out into the packed 2,000-capacity big top, to carry on with their rousing repertoire of salty and saucy sea song, albeit a little more quietly.

With no amplification to carry their rich harmonies, they walked through the tent, stopping at intervals to make sure everyone had a chance to hear and join in a couple of hearty, sometimes bawdy, songs, including Drunken Sailor and Sloop John B.

After about an hour of power cut, the gang of old pals got the nod that it was safe to go back on stage. Sadly there was only time for them to do one more song… which they eked out into a big, powerful medley of Cousin Jack and South Australia.

As they sang, the group’s huge black and white St Piran’s flag – usually used as their backdrop – was unfurled and carried aloft in a unique crowd surfing gesture from the stage to the back of the tent.

“It was supposed to end up at the sound desk, but somewhere along the line it got spirited away,” said John Lethbridge. “We’d like it back, please… it’s worth about 300 quid.”

“It was a shame we couldn’t have finished our set,” said Jon Cleave. But with schedules running seriously late, they had to make way for vintage rockers Dr Feelgood.

But no one who was there will ever forget their very special 2014 Glastonbury audience with the Fishies. This was their third appearance at the festival; they played the Acoustic stage in 2010 and the Pyramid Stage in 2011.

Read more: http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Fishermen-s-Friends-make-sure-Glasto-goes/story-21303374-detail/story.html#ixzz368LuNEFu