The end of Umefolk 2012

· 298 Words

Play the MP3 and imagine this. I recorded it walking through the musicians.

A weekend festival, with a 25 year heritage and massive following, is drawing to a close. Hundreds and hundreds of people must have passed through its doors. Headliners such as Garmana and Hoven Droven have drawn in crowds, impromptu sessions have brought out nyckelharpa players, and a large variety of players from all over north-east Europe have entertained and captivated. The event is winding up, and on the dance floor Anton and about 30 young people are playing for the final dance…

As 2am approaches a policeman saunters up to the stage to say that time is up, they have to stop playing. Anton bargains one more tune, and they play a polka. One by one they step down onto the dance floor and process out of the door. They can still be heard, and the crowd is drawn through the exit. The last instrument to leave is a foot-powered harmonium, which is lifted off the stage and wheeled into a lift.

Lining the spiral stairwell the musicians continue to play and pick up the pace. The audience files past them, up the staircase and into the lobby. As I reach the top of the staircase, I notice the harmonium stands at the top of the stairs.

After a few minutes, Anton leads the musicians through the lobby, into the revolving doors and into the icy night air outside. It must be around —5°C, and to keep warm they play faster and faster. This is the last tune of Umefolk 2012 and they make it a good one.

They accelerate to a flourish and finish in a round of cheers. That’s it. The end to a very special festival which I was privileged to attend.

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