By Megan Levers
Folk train fun or fail?
A Sheffield train, in which folk musicians gather monthly to play music, had a record-breaking turnout after hundreds of spectators piled into its carriages on Tuesday.
The train, which has been running for years, leaves Sheffield at 19.14 every fourth Tuesday of the month, and heads for a pub in the peaks where the music and merriment continues.
Georgie MacLaughlin, retail worker said: “I don’t live in Sheffield but I came up especially for the folk train.
“I think it’s so popular because it’s so different and I’ve never heard about this kind of thing outside London.”
But with the publicity power of social media, the reality of the evening meant that there were many more people than space.
This meant that only one carriage was privileged enough to listen to the tunes whilst they travelled.
David Newton, sales assistant, said: “I was in a totally different carriage to the folk music which was pretty annoying, but I still had fun because the atmosphere was good.”
Despite the overcrowding, there weren’t many miserable faces as the masses crammed like sardines into the esteemed train and set off for the Rambler Country Inn pub in Edale.
Sarah Ingrim, medical student said: “I was excited to come on the train because the combination of a gig and going out to the Peak District was a nice concept.
“It was pretty rammed, but really fun and the music was really charming.”
Dan Bridge, engineering student said: “It was a really great communal and local atmosphere with loads of different people and ages, it was really good vibes.”
But even when in the pub, the vast amount of background noise meant that many people found it impossible to hear or see the small band as they played.
This begs the question of whether the recent popularity of the evening has been to the detriment of the practicality and charm of the event.
Rachel Byrom, English student said: “I think that because it had been promoted so much it was a lot busier than it usually is; I had a lovely evening, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be.”
“There was no music on our train and everyone was very loud and a bit ‘beery’ in the pub so I couldn’t really hear,” she added.
In traditional folk sessions, spectators and participants quieten when the music begins, but this practice seemed unattainable with so many chattering newcomers.
Danielle Chadderton, Customer Service adviser, said: “I thought it was fun even though I couldn’t really hear the music; its’ kind of an experience thing isn’t it.”
“It seems obvious to me that as its popularity grows, there should be more musicians to counter it – and maybe some microphones!”
To try the next folk train for yourself, head down to Sheffield train station to catch the 19.14 to Manchester Piccadilly on Tuesday 24th May.