Gather Round the Campfire Club

Gather Round the Campfire Club

by jessicajolly / Jul 11, 2016 / 0 comments
Friday, 8 July 2016

If you are a fan of folk or world music, the Nest Collective is a group you need to know about. If you are seeking a bit of outdoor wilderness in the middle of London or an idea for a second date that is unique, affordable, and will gauge the maintenance level of your potential partner, the Nest Collective's Campfire Club is a great night out.

Each time in a secret location, the Campfire Club is a series of outdoor gigs featuring some of the best folk acts on the circuit. This past Friday took place behind an inconspicuous row of cottages in Tower Hamlets. It was so well hidden, we almost walked into someone's front room by mistake. Soon we found ourselves in what felt like a garden party in The Shire... a row of miniature decorative houses, a wooden stage for the performers, and a hand-built bar serving wine and mead. The audience sat on beanbag chairs and wooden steps to watch the following three acts:

Odetta Hartman – This lovely young woman with a very old soul hails from New York City, but sings like saloon crooner from the old west. She treated the crowd to a mix of original folk tunes and vintage sing-a-longs. With a mini-tambourine on her light-up shoe and a banjo in hand, she invokes a sort of internet age Bob Dylan. Her throaty yet bright voice is mostly used in a soft, low register, but when she belts, it's heart-stopping. The Campfire Club was her first stop in a series of London performances this month, check her out before she heads to Iceland on July 31st.

Ewan McLennon – The Campfire Club travelled from NYC to the hills of Scotland, where troubadour McLennon gave us an hour long glimpse into the history of Scottish music, with plenty of traditional tunes and lots of new numbers. The BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Horizon Winner 2011 has released two records to critical acclaim. While his original numbers are engaging, even if they might feel a bit too faithful to the historic genre that inspires them, it was a cover of a Scottish folk song about war that spellbound the audience and brought real tears to my eyes. See him for this moment if for nothing else.

C4 Trio – The next stop on the world music journey was Venzuela. The latin jazz outfit offered an acoustic set of incredible musicianship that got the folky-wolky British fans shaking their hips and screaming “Uno Mas!” to demand an encore. The trio is actually a quartet based on my maths, but the next day, after recovering from the mead, I realized their logo spells “catro”, or “four”. It's four guys on stringed instruments. Anyhow, the group gave us everything from South American jazz numbers to Beatles covers. They were fantastic, and there's video below to prove it.

Don't let your image of a hipsterific folk crowd consisting of well-groomed beards and unbrushed hair steer you away from this hidden little gem of London nightlife. While being a die-hard fan of world or folk music could certainly enhance the evening, this event is for anyone who enjoys music and experiences that are off the beaten track. The last Campfire Club sold out, so if this is something you've even got an inkling to check out, book tickets soon. Besides the Campfire Club, the Nest Collective also has a rooftop series starting next week.

Rating out of 11: