a decade in images by rock photographer
of 200 copies worldwide
RUFUS STONE l i m i t e d
e d i t i o n s
a decade in images by rock photographer
nickelliott Produced in a strictly limited edition run of 200 copies worldwide The images in this book are copyright © Nick Elliott 2011. Design copyright © Rufus Stone Limited Editions 2011. Cambridge Folk Festival is a trademark of Cambridge City Council. www.nickelliottpictures.com www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of cover or binding other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition, being imposed upon the subsequent purchaser. All rights reserved. Printed and bound by hand in Great Britain. Design and production: James, Jack and Mark. With some help from Zak. Published in Great Britain by Rufus Stone Limited Editions www.rslimitededitions.com Copyright 2011 © Rufus Stone Limited Editions
Foreward by Eddie Barcan
Introduction by Allison Thomas
Heaton & Rotheray
Backstage part 1
The Saw Doctors
The Divine Comedy
Booker T Jones
Beth Nielsen Chapman
Backstage part 2
The Quebe Sisters Band
Carolina Chocolate Dropes
About Nick Elliott
ong before I ever went to Cambridge Folk Festival, I was aware of it by reputation. For years I’d noticed line-ups which intrigued me for their mix of artists. At the time I didn’t consider myself a “folkie”, whatever that was, though there were always acts on the bill that really appealed to me. My rst Cambridge was both a revelation and a baptism of re. A few months earlier I’d seen a job advert for an Administration Assistant working at Cambridge City Council on the Festival. I later found out this was working largely with the Festival’s founder and Artistic Director Ken Woollard. Ken wanted a secretary. He got me instead. Rather than hold it against me, Ken taught me all he could about the event and not just how, but why it worked. I have Ken and his wife Joan to thank for all the generosity they showed me. That rst year I remember feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlights, overwhelmed by the scale of the event and how much it meant to so many people. Just three years later, Ken passed away and I put my hand up to do the programming, hoping to do him credit and things just developed from there. Over twenty years later I’m still in awe of the event. There are many varied things that make the Festival successful and special. For me, it’s a wide denition of folk, where musicality and substance are more important than mass popularity. Where audiences are willing to embrace a wide variety of styles, as long as the tradition isn’t neglected. It’s a festival that appeals to a whole variety of people who love music. It’s about trying to ensure that everyone, from audience to artist to worker, are treated well and fairly. It’s about creating a great atmosphere in a beautiful setting, providing good services and a safe family environment. It’s a place where the music offstage is as important as the music onstage. A place where people come not for the names they know, but the ones they will discover. Some people come not even for the music, but simply because they love the atmosphere. Over the years the Festival has become widely known through TV and radio coverage, though its actual reputation continues to spread as much by word of mouth. Whilst the capacity has remained the same, demand for tickets has increased and there have been many changes and developments. We’ve embraced new technology, new people and introduced new areas and forms of entertainment. What remains constant is the quality and variety of the artists and the familiarity you feel when you return to Cherry Hinton Hall. These fantastic photos by rock photographer Nick Elliott capture some of the memorable performers on stage over the last ten years. They’ve been selected, not necessarily due to the artist’s status, but because of the quality of the photo. Each person has their own list of things they like about Cambridge and will recall their own personal highlights. I hope that these images will bring happy memories of these to you, as they do to me. Eddie Barcan Cambridge Folk Festival Organiser, Cambridge City Council
ick Elliott is rock ‘n’ roll personied. Not in any predictable, heavy metal kind of way but in his unconventional and, dare I say, sometimes rebellious approach to life. Nick lives no ordinary life and consequently his life is by no means ordinary.
So, it may come as a bit of a surprise that this eminent Rock ‘n’ Roller, famed for his creative live rock photography, has chosen to publish images of folk, not rock artists, in his debut book. Alongside music, Nick’s greatest love is photography, and the emotion he invests into every image is equally intense, irrelevant of the musical genre of the performing artist. So am I surprised that he chose folk and not rock? No, not at all. Nick’s photography is equally as unconventional as his life. You only need to gaze at the images contained within the pages of this book to appreciate that Nick is no ordinary photographer. In the 21 years that I have been privileged to be part of his life, Nick has never failed to delight me with the stunning images that he produces. Of course they are wonderfully creative, beautifully composed, and perfectly embrace a moment in time, but there is a secret ingredient that Nick possesses beyond his counterparts which sets him, and his images, apart. That secret ingredient is passion. Passion for the music, passion for the photography, but above all, passion for the art. With every click of the shutter Nick injects a little bit of passion into each of his images and simultaneously manages to capture a bit of the passion of the artists’ performance. The results are incredible. Each of his images reveal something usually hidden from view, protected and reserved for a privileged few - the actual soul of the artist. Nick exposes the true essence of each performer, like no other photographer can, to convey a completely different perspective on the artist, the music and the show. But don’t take my word for it. Turn the pages of the book, pause and absorb the images and experience the thrill of seeing the art of the true live performance….
I hope you view the images throughout this book with as much passion as I shot them. Nick Elliott
Heaton & Rotheray
is just the medium I use to create the art that I produce. “ Photography It’s no different from the paints that a painter uses or the tools of a sculptor.
“ Cambridge Folk Festival has such a special place in my heart now. It is not just a festival, it’s a lot more than that. It is a ‘must-book’ event that also brings the US to the UK.” Nick Elliott 28
2005 There is deep romance attached “ to the shooting of performing artists – it is a total love affair. Nick Elliott 46
These warm and evocative photographs perfectly capture the intimacy and authenticity of a warm, evocative, intimate and authentic event. As I look through them I am anticipating going back to Cherry Hinton with even more delight than usual. I was tempted to say that if you wanted to know what Cambridge Folk Festival was like then these pictures say it all but that would be stupid. You have to listen to the music of course. But while we wait for that to happen again in July, these photos whet the appetite splendidly.
Mark Radcliffe - BBC Presenter
A great book of photographs from one of the greatest folk festivals in the world. As a fellow photographer I am more than a little jealous of Nick’s work. His images capture the atmosphere of many, many magic moments.
Mike Harding - BBC Presenter
This image instantly catapults me back to my younger days at Cambridge Folk Festival. Heady days of fun, fear and the pure thrill of playing Cambridge as an artist in my own right. It brings back fond memories and I like the happy vibe that Nick has managed to capture here. It’s an honour to be included. Mo thaing dhut Nick x
Cambridge is without doubt my favourite festival to perform at, but also my favourite festival to attend! It’s the best festival in the world by far! Kate Rusby
Roots are so important, you’ve got to keep the whole thing real. Don’t ever forget where you’ve come from and where it all started. Nick Elliott
I have had the good fortune to perform at Cambridge Festival many times since the early 90s and I have great memories of each one. Nicks book of photographs captures some of these memories and brings them to life once more. I am honoured to be included in such a brilliant line-up. Thanks Nick.
2008 200 220 0 8
Proof that I do set up my own equipment! I like this picture - when all the bullshit’s done with, it’s good to be shown for what I am; a guitarist rst and foremost. It was a real privilege to be asked to appear at Cambridge; it has a great history so it’s lovely to be a small part of that. And the audience were amazing – it was a special day for me.
2009 120 2009
Nick’s photographs capture a festival performance feeling which is so hard to put into words; it’s something primal, a feeling fuelled by adrenaline and fear and the way the crowd spurs you on. It’s an honour to be included in his collection.
Nick’s talent is in capturing a unique moment in every artist’s performance that takes you to the very place their music belongs. I’m very fond of his photo of me at Cambridge, I look pretty relaxed and I was surprised he managed to capture a rare moment when my eyes were open while I was singing. Very few have done the same so well.
leaving a mark, making a difference, changing things “ It’s about and the way people look at the art of photography. Creating is a gift that doesn’t just come in a digital box or computer package, it can’t be bought. Nick Elliott
subject matter is critical, “ The I want to create images that you can fall in love with. ” Nick Elliott
nickelliott For Allison for just being her... Without her there would be no point.
Andy Mason for introducing me to the world of celebrity Steve Bell for my rst commission at Cambridge Folk Festival Neil King for giving me creative freedom to make the most of shooting the festival Karl Greenow, aka Monty…he knows why Waz Watts for his design brilliance at the conception of this project many years ago Neil Jones for his professionalism and being a good guy The Cambridge Folk Festival media team for all their help over the last decade Garry Owen, aka Mystic Gaz, for the inspiration he gave when he saw it all coming Mark Smith for fullling a lifelong ambition My Mum, Coral, who got me here My Dad, Gordon, who started it all My wife, Allison, who has kept me going where I needed to go And, of course, to everyone else who has got me to this place……
“To keep the creative art of music photography alive, the labels, the artists and more importantly the people in the middle, have got to recognise that unity, working together and being more selective to who is granted access to the bands is the only way forward.” Nick Elliott
About Nick Elliott
Rock photographer Nick Elliott has carved out an enviable reputation for producing powerful iconic pieces of photographic art in his own inimitable avant-garde style. Working in the music industry for over 20 years, Nick has photographed some of the most well-known musical artists in the business and his images have frequently been featured on album artwork as well as being published extensively across the media. His genius in the studio is only surpassed by his ability to capture the intensity of the live musical performance and Nick is driven by an incredible passion and the desire to create stunning images of the musical artists who have been his inspiration. Exposing the very essence of the performer’s inner most soul in a way that no other photographer can, Nick continues to produce contemporary collections of photographic art that will outlive time itself.