Mary Epworth – Hop Farm 2012 Review

Characters at Hop Farm Festival 2011 by John Bownas
Characters at Hop Farm Festival 2011 by John Bownas


The words, “It’s not supposed to sound like that” are not the best ones to hear as you stand waiting for a festival to kick into gear.

But Mary Epworth is right. She is supposed to be playing guitar, but not today.

As two riggers frantically race to finish building the stage on her right. Mary’s sound crew work just as hard to try and get her instrument working.

But the seconds tick on, and the battle to breath life into her axe is abandoned. “Hey, we don’t need a guitar” she grins, over the steadily building wind noises being picked up by her microphone.

But that wind just keeps blowing, and as it’s blistering antics throw the sound from the stage all around the slowly filling arena, Mary continues to fight the stage gremlins.

Can I have something in my monitors please,” she implores the sound engineers. “Right now I may be singing in completely the wrong key.

She’s not, but the inability of the band to properly hear themselves severely mars what might otherwise have been a foot-stomping opening to Hop Farm 2012.

‘The Saddle Song’ and ‘Black Doe’ sit strongly in the set as clear band favourites, and the crowd respond well when things do finally drop into gear. But a broken harp string adds yet another glitch to a slightly patchy performance, and that’s a real shame.

Because Mary Epworth has been climbing the ladder for a few years now, and the hope is that her chest-thumping brand of country and soul-tinged progressive rock will eventually lead her places.

What she needs next is a higher placing on the bill so that she doesn’t have to be the one who suffers as the crew shake the wrinkles out of the PA system.

Click here for our full Hop Farm Festival coverage.

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