Devon’s Postman Poet to be celebrated at Dartmoor Folk Festival

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Monday 29th July 2019 8:49 am
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From left, Liz Shakespeare, Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll, will present ‘The Postman Poet Show’ concert at the Dartmoor Folk Festival on Saturday, August 10. ()

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A NOVELIST and two musicians will bring Devon’s 19th century Postman Poet vividly back to life with a vibrant entertainment of words and music at this year’s Dartmoor Folk Festival at South Zeal, near Okehampton on Saturday, August 10.

It was 200 years ago, on January 21, 1819, that Edward Capern, Devon’s Postman Poet, was born into a poor, working-class family in Tiverton.

His father, a baker, could not afford to educate his son and would never have dreamt that he would become nationally renowned as a poet, winning plaudits from the Prime Minister and support from the biggest literary names of the day.

The bicentenary of his birth would, perhaps, have gone unnoticed if his extraordinary story had not been brought back to public attention by Devon author Liz Shakespeare.

She has written “The Postman Poet”, a novel based on the life of Capern, and has published 34 of his 600 poems in “The Poems of Edward Capern”.

While writing the novel, Liz drew on historical research and details in the poems to tell the astonishing story through Edward’s eyes as he struggles to support his family, capturing the opportunities and inequalities of Victorian North Devon.

During her research, Liz discovered that some of his poems were intended to be sung, so collaborated with Devon musicians Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll who set them to music for their CD, “The Songs of Edward Capern”.

Liz, Nick and Becki will present “The Postman Poet Show” concert at the Dartmoor Folk Festival from 6pm to 7.30pm on Saturday, August 10, in the festival’s main marquee.

The cost is just £10 per person.

Tickets can be purchased at the door on the evening or via the website: www.dartmoorfolkfestival.org.uk .

Copies of the books by Liz Shakespeare will be available to purchase as well as the CD “The Songs of Edward Capern”.

“Bright Young Folk” said of it: "This album is a delight from start to finish”.

Historic Novel Review said of the book: “The Postman Poet is an engaging and entertaining read that both brings a lump to one’s throat and joy to the heart. Highly recommended."

Other artists appearing at the festival will include Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys (Friday), Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, Sara Grey and Kieron Means, Moirai, The Jellyman’s Daughter, Kirkophany (Saturday) and Luke Daniels (Sunday).

Also appearing will be The Stowes (Sunday), The Dartmoor Pixie Band, the Ramsley Minors, Jim Causley, Entertainingly Different and The Pocketwatch Theatre Company, plus more to be confirmed.

Hotly-contested competitions are the Dartmoor Broom Dance championships and Dartmoor Stepdance Championships.

“Britain’s Got Talent” star Roger Butler, aka Chucklefoot, will perform the official opening of the festival.

A hugely-successful dedicated children’s festival will again run alongside the main event.

There will be concerts, a ceilidh, craft displays, dances, music hall, pub sessions and music, song and dance workshops and competitions.

Free events include Starter’s Song Sessions, Shanty Group singing, Festival Folk Club sessions, a ramble on Dartmoor, Folk church service and Youth Music Session.

Alan Quick, press officer for the Dartmoor Folk Festival Association, explained: "The festival is deeply rooted in the heart of the Dartmoor community and is keeping customs and traditions alive."

Enquiries can be made by telephoning 01837 840102 or email: [email protected] .

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