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Folk star Steve explains his songwriting magic

SINGER-songwriter legend Steve Tilston gave an insight into his creative ability as folk music took over Bognor Regis.


The well-known musician held a masterclass for a handful of fans during the Southdowns Folk Festival last weekend.


He followed the Sunday morning session at the Regis Centre with a concert in the entertainment venue’s studio. He said: “Writing songs often comes about by making good mistakes on the guitar. Other times, I will get ideas for lyrics and they come first when I am driving around.”


Steve has been involved in the British folk music scene since the Sixties.


“It was everyone’s patriotric duty to pick up a guitar and join a band in those days,” he said.


“I was then given a ticket to a Bob Dylan concert when a friend was ill. And that was it. I realised folk music was for me.”


A succession of popular albums and an ever-lasting round of gigs has seen Steve keep his place among folk music’s foremost songwriters and performers as the genre maintains its popularity as other trends come and go.


“The British folk scene is tenacious. “It’s homemade music. So, that means it can be as good as it can be or amateurish.


“It’s also about everyday life and every conceivable subject because it’s the music of the people and that means it will always carry on,” Steve said.


It was his second appearance at the festival. He welcomed the chance to meet fellow musicians and folk fans, especially after completing his recent album. He said: “It’s a very intense process.


“It absorbs you and you need to get away from the humdrum of life for it.”


His songwriting workshop was one of 12 events going on around midday on Sunday after eight the previous day as the folk festival dominated the town centre. Indoors and outdoors, a range of activities occurred to please every taste.


The Taylor’s Men morris dancers performed in the London Road precinct. Their squire, David Thompson, led them through a routine based on the rarely performed Longborough tradition, which originated from the Cotswolds.


The 13 dancers and two musicians come from a wide-ranging area from Brighton to Nuneaton.


David said: “It’s a beautiful tradition. We noticed few teams were using the Longborough tradition and so we decided to revive it and focus on it.


“It’s exhilarating dancing it and energetic. It’s very bouncy. We had a good reaction to it. Most people had never seen it before.


“This is our first festival and we’ve had a good time. It’s been great.”


Other activities around the same time included Ticklish Allsorts children’s entertainment, Knickerbocker Glory Appalachian dancers and guitar and fiddle workshop as well as music sessions at The Claremont pub.

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