Exmouth Festival 2017 is go!

PUBLISHED: 15:25 28 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:10 05 June 2017

Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Archant

This year's Exmouth Festival is now well into its stride.

Noble Jacks at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Noble Jacks at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Now celebrating its 21st year, the festival has emerged as one of the South West’s most important – and impressive – free community events.

Crowds on the Friday evening at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Crowds on the Friday evening at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

A freewheeling fiesta of fabulous fun for all the family, it offers homegrown talent a brilliant opportunity to shine brightly in the spotlight.

Noble Jacks at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Noble Jacks at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

It also allows the town to thoroughly immerse itself in all that’s best in local arts.

Dancing to the Noble Jacks at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Dancing to the Noble Jacks at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Good weather brought the crowds out on Friday afternoon and evening.

Sadie Horler performing at the Festival Edge at Exmouth's Bicton Inn. Picture: Paul Strange.Sadie Horler performing at the Festival Edge at Exmouth's Bicton Inn. Picture: Paul Strange.

The good weather continued on the Saturday, with crowds particularly enjoying sets by Mr Tea and the Minions and Talisman.

Tash Fardell and Jas Walker performing at the Festival Edge at Exmouth's Bicton Inn. Picture: Paul Strange.Tash Fardell and Jas Walker performing at the Festival Edge at Exmouth's Bicton Inn. Picture: Paul Strange.

Here’s a selection of pictures taken from the first festival’s first few days.

Roger Bourgein, Exmouth's town crier, officially opens the Exmouth Ceramic Group exhibition at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Roger Bourgein, Exmouth's town crier, officially opens the Exmouth Ceramic Group exhibition at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

They were taken at a variety of venues.

Mr Tea and the Minions at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Mr Tea and the Minions at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

These included the Imperial Recreation Ground, the Bicton Inn and Exmouth Ceramic Group’s exhibition at Meeting Street.

Talisman at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Talisman at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

On Sunday evening, the big headliners came into town. A huge crowd - perhaps as large as 6,000 people - filled the Imperial Rec’ Ground and enjoyed sets by Joey the Lips and 1980s punk princess Toyah Willcox.

Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Joey the Lips put on a solid show of singalong dancefloor fillers.

Joey the Lips at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Joey the Lips at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

More poppy than their soul roots of some years back, the switch to more accessible material - with songs by Queen and Lulu - has done them no harm. The crowd - particularly the youngsters up the front - loved it.

Joey the Lips at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Joey the Lips at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Toyah Willcox bounded on stage an hour later.

Joey the Lips at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Joey the Lips at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Her band sounded very tight as she blasted through a solid set of her hits - such as Thunder In the Mountains and Obselete - and 1980s covers, such as Martha and the Muffins’ Echo Beach.

Toyah Willcox at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Toyah Willcox at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Toyah was clearly delighted by the warm reception she got from the huge crowd, declaring that ‘Exmouth was cool’.

Toyah Willcox at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Toyah Willcox at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

It was a memorable night indeed.

Toyah Willcox at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Toyah Willcox at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Monday afternoon felt a little muted after the bigger bands and large crowds of the night before.

The Exmouth Shanty Men at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.The Exmouth Shanty Men at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

A number of the afternoon’s eclectic folk acts - many of which require a more intimate setting - seemed a little lost on the huge stage and found it difficult to engage with the audience.

Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Nevertheless it was good to hear The Exmouth Shanty Men in fine voice, celebrating their tenth anniversary.

Belshazzar's Feast at the Exmouth Festival 207. Picture: Paul Strange.Belshazzar's Feast at the Exmouth Festival 207. Picture: Paul Strange.

Belshazzar’s Feast may have been a little mournful for some, but had a fine line in dry humour and offered some superb musicianship.

Crowds at Exmouth Festival 207. Picture: Paul StrangeCrowds at Exmouth Festival 207. Picture: Paul Strange

Meanwhile Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman delivered some beautiful original numbers that pulled at the heartstrings.

Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman at the Exmouth Festival 2017. Picture: Paul Strange.

Folk-rockers Mad Dog Mcrea livened up the proceedings later in the evening and went down well with the crowd.

And thus ended the four days on the Imperial Rec’ Ground.

The Exmouth Festival is now entering its second phase, shifting to the Manor Gardens for a number of more intimate concerts. Bring it on...

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