Article by Les Ray

My colleague at Cambridge 105 Radio Julian Clover and I were chatting to Neil King of Fatea at Cambridge Folk Festival back in the summer. Neil was Marina Florancesaying that Fatea aims to promote up-and-coming folk artists, particularly those who are not at the young end of the scale but are now at the age when they have the time and opportunity to pursue their music, plus they have a wealth of experience to bring to the songs they write; he mentioned Marina Florance in particular.

The truth is, Marina is just one very fine example of older performers from our region making headway on the local and national folk scene. Marina is slightly different in that she didn’t start performing in public until she was in her late forties. A more common phenomenon is that of musicians who played in bands in their youth but gave it all up to focus on family and career. Now that the children have flown the nest and they are close to retirement age, if indeed that exists, they have the time and maybe a bit more disposable income to devote to that passion that has never left them - music. I’m thinking perhaps of the Boxwood Chessmen, Thursday’s Band, Kelly & Woolley, Cambridge Walker, Two Coats Colder, or even my own band, Red Velvet. And that’s just the start of a very long list of performers that I’m calling the “New Youth” movement, since these are musicians enjoying a new youth in music.

My friend Tony Phillips, who is touring all the acoustic music sessions and venues in the UK over the next few years for his Rolling On project, a book and a film celebrating the movement we are all part of, agrees that members of the “New Youth” movement may have more disposable income, but, as he puts it, “they also have something much more valuable - experience and the ability to organise. So whether it’s mentoring, providing recording spaces, marketing, festival organising,  club and session running, sound or in my particular case, the provision of community 'Greenstages', grey power is in evidence wherever you look”.

So there you have it, age is the new youth and, as Tony sings, “the music keeps rolling on!”