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  • Miles Hedley

PARKSFEST at Mycenae House


Traditional folk music, American blues and organ-driven jazz all on the same bill in the lovely surroundings of Mycenae House gardens - what’s not to love?


The annual Greenwich Parksfest celebration, which also featured stalls, crafts, dance, kids’ entertainers and top-class refreshments, drew a large crowd of all ages on a sultry but dry afternoon after days of torrential downpours. And they were not disappointed.


Four acts in particular made the event a musical joy. Folk duo The Kimberleys played a faultless set of traditional songs, including fabulous versions of Elsie Marley and, best of all, The False Bride.


They were followed by gravel-voiced blues guitarist Mississippi MacDonald whose gloriously eclectic playlist included such gems as Taj Mahal’s She Caught The Katy, Robert Johnson’s Kindhearted Woman Blues and Keb’ Mo’s Hand It Over.


The Grizzly Mutts, made up of guitarist Geepee Cousins, bassist Nick Bidgood and Stephen Braine on guitar and blues harmonica, continued the American theme with four immaculate songs written by Cousins – Bitter And Twisted, Cry Wolf, 99 Per Cent Sure and I Don’t Need To Be Rich Just As Long As I’m Not Poor – and finished off with the 100-year-old gospel standard Will The Circle Be Unbroken.


Parksfest was rounded off by the Green Chain Quartet of Hammond organ maestro John Gittos, drummer Mel Wright, guitarist Dave Bold and tenor saxophonist David Morris with a dazzling set that included jazz standards The Cat by Jimmy Smith, Blue Train by John Coltrane and The Joker by Wes Montgomery. I’ve always thought one of the most wonderful noises created in human history is the sound of Smith on the Hammond and I’m happy to report Mr Gittos did him proud.


Other highlights at the festival were Greenwich Morris, Blackheath Centre for Singing, Sparkx Dance School, Roslyn Lloyd, Matt Day, Sam Winston, Emergency Exit Arts, Bo Peeps PreSchool, JK Performing Arts, diddi dance and ukulele kids Ruby and Maeve whose set included fearless covers of The Beatles’ Hey Jude and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising. Stars of the future, without a doubt.