The Southburgh World Music Festival, 1 August 2015
This was the 7th Southburgh Festival, a truly beautiful small family-friendly festival set in deepest Norfolk which is a celebration of world music, arts and crafts, spoken word, magic, circus, food and much more. Of course its aim is to serve as a fundraiser for the Mudeka Foundation founded by Anna Mudeka who also created and hosts this festival.
Our aim is to provide HIV orphans and disadvantaged children in Zimbabwe with an opportunity for an education. Many of these children are cared for by grandparents or other family members who struggle to find the money for the school fees.
The site features a main stage and a small Fringe Stage, several workshop tents, lots of stalls selling African and Asian crafts as well as food stalls with Caribbean, African, and English food. There’s also a bar, a camping area, and ample, clean toilets.
The festival really does have a lovely, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, children playing happily and safely, adults chatting or enjoying the music, and a host of workshops which include drumming, kora and singing, Morris dance, Salsa dance and circus, mosaics, face painting etc.
I am always struck by how sociable the event is, everyone chats freely, whether previously acquainted or not, and all of the stalls are reasonably priced, including the food stalls and bar which alongside the bargain entrance fee to the festival makes for a very affordable weekend.
There was a lot of good music too, first on the Fringe stage was Zeta Smith whose clear and strong voice impressed me as it carried over the site. Later in the day Anna Mudeka‘s band played a typically energetic and vibrant set on this stage which had everyone dancing barefoot in the grass. The new album “Dendende” is well worth a purchase from Tontena Records.
On the main stage some of my highlights were Girl in a Thunderbolt (playing their last gig in this incarnation) and Sefo Kanuteh and Meriya who performed a beautifully hypnotic set despite having two deputy members in the line up with only one rehearsal together. It would never have shown. Sefo was joined by Holly for a sort of kora duet which was delightful.
The Watchsnatchers, Jose Ferrera and Cubanda, and headliners Headspace also provided lively and well received sets, with Twisted Piglet getting all the kids dancing with an incredibly varied set.
I love this festival, Anna has created something very special here and with the purest of motives. Her positive energy has infused every single aspect … such a classic example of setting something good in motion and the positivity helps it gather a lovely momentum with so much goodwill and openness which also brings people together and shows what can be done. Well done Anna and everyone involved.
All in all a successful and lovely event and even the weather was kind.
Many thanks to Anna Mudeka, all the artists, organisers, volunteers and stallholders.
words and photos (c) richard shashamane 2015