Folk Spot at Tønder Fest

Denmark’s annual Tønder Fest delivered a spirited fusion of sounds and genre that included Nordic folk, Americana, celtic and world music. Held on the country’s southwestern border in late August the event is a unique experience of musical discovery.

The Folk Spot stage, which showcased eight of the best rising acts of the Nordic folk scene, portrayed a diverse and engaging experience to the delight of an audience of fans and industry. Cross-Scandinavian trio Huldrelokkk’s delivery of acoustic folk incorporated a sound that is both organic and earthy, clearly seasoned in their craft the with instrumentation evoking that of a cinematic forest setting. They were followed by Danish husband and wife duo LSMR (Støjberg-Rauff). Their complementary vocal styles delivered a set that is both sonically current and lyrically mature.

Medieval folk quartet Pøbel added an element of nostalgia to the Friday lineup with a series of troubadour jams and lyrical lore accompanied by vintage instrumentation. Embracing the sounds of 13th-16th century Europe the set climaxed with a vibrant audience taking to the dance floor. The evening concluded with Aarhusian artist Mary Jean delivering a pop-inspired set with powerful vocals and instrumentation calling on tribal influences.

Headliners throughout the weekend included a who’s who of international talent, including The Lone Bellow and JD McPherson.

The damp weather did not take from the jubilant atmosphere of Saturday’s Folk Spot sets at the Klubscenen as the artists took the stage. Norwegian trio Raabygg’s charming delivery of folk balanced a unique oceanic score that is both sweet and haunting. Vingefang brought a culturally diverse sound that included influences from Brazil to southern Africa. A multi-lingual setlist defined the acts’ world music style.

Third on the lineup, Hudna’s mix of vocal and instrumental tracks celebrated cultural differentiation and ethnical diversity with innovative interpretations of Turkish folk melodies and Scandinavian roots. The Folk Spot events closed with the award-winning Elmøe and Hoffman, whose melancholic set elicited natural imagery through song.

Americana artists such as Darlingside, Tyler Childers and David Ramirez added a transatlantic flavour to the festival. Other highlights included a fantastic pop-up set by multinational quartet Northern Assembly and legendary Irish musician Sharon Shannon.

A truly international experience with it’s heart centred in Nordic influences, Tønder Festival delivered a unique experience to all in attendance and the AMAUK are once again thankful for the opportunity to share in this community’s mutual passion of music.

Brendan McCarthy
Folk Spot Delegate as AMA-UK Board member