Artists: 2014

The Drystones

The Drystones are our very own home grown band who have gone on to great things. Their first ever performance was here at Priddy. They are a young (just started University) lively folk duo from Priddy playing violin, guitar and whistle, who have made a big splash since they formed in July 11. In 2015 they played the Glastonbury extravaganza supporting Ray Davis and The Shires, they won the Larmer Tree Break Through Music Award 2015, and have played festivals all over the West Country (including Sidmouth, Village Pump  and Purbeck). At their 2013 Glastonbury Festival performance they were highlighted by Steve Lamacq on Radio 2 as his “recommendation of the day”. They have just completed their second album. which had a great review from FATEA Magazine and The Living Tradition said “To describe their instrumental style as spirited and animated would be akin to asserting that Bellowhead can be quite an energetic band”

For just two people they make a lot of sound, you will not be bored!


Three Cane Whale

Three Cane Whale

Three Cane Whale

A multi-instrumental acoustic trio based in Bristol, UK, featuring members of Spiro, Get The Blessing and Scottish Dance Theatre. As intricate as a team of watchmakers, as spare as a mountain stream, the music encompasses both a cinematic sweep and an intimate delicacy, in which “the aroma of muddy leaves and old nettles is almost tangible” (The Observer)

Their eponymous debut album was chosen by Cerys Matthews as one of her Top Five Modern Folk Albums; second album Holts And Hovers was fRoots Editor’s Choice Album of 2013, one of The Observer’s “Hidden Gems Of 2013”, and one of Acoustic Guitarist magazine’s 20 Essential Folk Albums.

The band’s third album, Palimpsest, was recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire, & produced by Adrian Utley, with artwork specially designed by Dorset’s Little Toller press, and accompanied by a UK-wide, Arts Council supported, album launch tour earlier this year. Palimpsest was chosen by The Telegraph as one of the ‘Best Folk Music Albums Of 2016″, by fRoots as one of its 5-star Playlist Albums, and by The Guardian for its Folk World Music Playlist.

‘Exquisite, elegant, atmospheric and charmingly quirky. 4 stars’ (The Guardian)

‘Quiet but compellingly emotional music that is richly-textured and containing melodies of real beauty. 5 stars’ (fRoots, Playlist Album Choice)

‘their delicate acoustic constructions combine ancient folk and contemporary classical ideas to weave an entirely original new musical tradition’ (Bristol 24/7)


FLOOK – The flutes of Brian Finnegan and Sarah Allen, the guitar of Ed Boyd and the bodhran of John Joe Kelly weave and spin traditionally rooted tunes into the breathtaking sound of the groundbreaking band Flook. This group possesses a rare blend of fiery technical brilliance, delicate ensemble interaction and a bold, adventurous musical imagination.

Anna Massie & Mairearad Green

Two of Scotland’s most revered multi-instrumentalists, Mairearad Green (accordion and bagpipes) and Anna Massie (guitar, banjo, fiddle) are a truly captivating duo, providing a highly energetic performance with an instantly warm and friendly stage presence.

Having played alongside each other for over ten years, they revel in an intuitive approach to each other’s musical ideas and interpretations, and an “almost telepathic communication” on stage (Hi-Arts), where they create “music more than the sum of just two parts” (The Scotsman), effortlessly showcasing the fruits of duo partnership to the highest level

Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston

In the space of 2 short years, Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston have emerged to become one of the most sought after duos on the English folk & roots scene. With their arresting second album – Sing a Full Song, the pair will be touring intensively throughout 2014. Do not miss them!

Brooks Williams

Brooks has gigged with Taj Mahal, John Hammond, Paul Jones, Billy Bragg, Little Feat, Maria Muldaur, Shawn Colvin, and Leo Kottke, to name but a few. He is also half of State Of The Union with singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine. Thousands of gigs over thousands of miles, Brooks Williams now tours from his home in Cambridge, England where he lives with his wife and three cats.

Brooks is a great favourite at Priddy and we’re delighted to invite him back for another Blues afternoon.

Steve Payne

Variously described as one of the UK’s most unique and versatile guitarists, Steve Payne is also feted as a talented and non-predictable singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist,
wordsmith and story-teller whose compositions cross the musical boundaries from Blues to Folk to Contemporary Roots. Steve P. has shared the stage and collaborated with such modern day musical luminaries asB B King, Dr John and many more from the world of Blues and contemporary folk music legends Loudon Wainwright 3rd Paul Brady, Arlo Guthrie to name but a few.

With a long list of festival and club appearances not only in the UK, but also regularly in
mainland Europe and North America, a musical life’s worth of troubadour globe-trotting has resulted in Mr Payne perfecting his particular succinct, and at times very tongue-in-cheek, live ‘in concert’ experience’.

Steve will be playing at Priddy with Paul ( Lefty ) Hobday


Ben Badoo, Simwinji Zeko, Royston Gage, Mark Bradley, Brendan Whitmore, Mamadou Cissoko are Baraka – a unique combination of musicians from Senegal, Ghana, Zambia, Dominica and Northern and Southern Ireland. Each musician contributes his individual sound and style – reggae featuring a Kora and Djembe, township with a Calypso bass line, Soca with Balafon and flute.


Kan is a union of four of the finest, most influential, award-winning, in demand artists of the 21st century traditional music world.

Kan is one member of Lau, one member of Flook and two members of more bands than even they can remember.

Aidan O’Rourke Fiddles/Loops
Brian Finnegan Flutes/Whistles
Ian Stephenson Guitar/Bass
Jim Goodwin Drums/Percussion/ Wavedrum

The Young ‘Uns

Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes sing traditional a cappella music with astonishing verve and energy. They’ve worked with Eliza & Martin Carthy, Jon Boden, Jim Moray and been involved in projects with Aardmans Animation and The Sage Gateshead. They combine wonderful singing with irreverent patter, all that you’d want in a great live act.

On Sunday morning we have a very special huge singing workshop in the main marquee – Swildons. The Young ‘Uns are leading this workshop starting at 10:30 – this promises to be a really special event.

Dartmoor Pixies

The Dartmoor Pixie Band come from the heart of Devon and are steeped in the musical and dance tradition of their native Dartmoor.

The band’s mix of Melodeon, Piano Accordion, Banjo, Drums and Bass produces a unique sound that’ll make you want to get up and jig! They have played together for more years than they care to remember with their style and repertoire being distinctly their own. The band has their own resident caller Sarah Bazeley to help you through the night, she’ll throw you a challenge but also let you enjoy your favourites!

The Buffalo Gals & Stampede

The Buffalo Gals are fast becoming the country’s favourite old-time country string band. Firmly rooted in traditional American music, with an authentic sound driven by fiddle, banjo, percussive step dance, and soaring harmonies, they produce an irresistible show packed with all the excitement, passion and fun of Appalachian, Bluegrass, Blues and Cajun tunes and songs.

Buffalo Gals ‘Stampede’ is a 9 piece act comprising the Buffalo Gals old time country string band plus four of the country’s hottest Appalachian, flat-footing dancers. Inspired by world-famous step-dancers Ira Bernstein and Eileen Carson our Stampede troupe is an awe-inspiring show of fast, furious, rubber-jointed, high-kicking percussive dance at its most dynamic.

Yvette Staelens

Cecil Sharp’s folk song collecting began in Somerset. His first encounter with singer John England of Hambridge, was the beginning of an astonishing folk song collecting journey that would take him to the villages, towns, roadsides and moorlands of the west and ultimately to the Appalachian mountains of the USA.

Academic researcher and singer Yvette Staelens tells the story of Sharp’s adventures through songs, family stories, Sharp’s research notes and, most importantly, the amazing photographs that he took of his singers and their world. This presentation includes plenty of songs for sharing and is a celebration of the remarkable people who gave Sharp so many of the songs we that cherish and sing today! Suitable for all ages. Come and discover if you have a singing ancestor from Somerset!

Somerset Folk Maps will be available FREE


Gadarene blends obscure traditional English tunes, virtuoso acoustic musicians, combined with funky beats and loads of energy. Gadarene creates a sophisticated and exciting performance, drawing on many diverse musical influences, yet making a sound that is all their own.

The band’s repertoire focuses on unusual and compelling tunes, carefully researched from Eighteenth and Nineteenth century manuscripts. Gadarene attacks these glorious tunes with the raw energy and verve often associated with the cream of traditional dance musicians.

John Langan Band

High energy, unhinged, and musically extravagant, taking traditional acoustic idioms and delivering with punk abandonment and virtuosic flare. A dynamic three piece offering a unique sound emerging from Celtic, Gypsy Swing, Roma and Flamenco and tuned in savvy.

Wrapping pan European traditional acoustic music with infectious grooves, epic, pounding, sing along, punch the air anthems to intricately arranged instrumentals.

Challenging the limitations of what people might expect acoustic instruments to sound like, the use of bowed harmonics between fiddle and bass can be as menacing and eerie as it can be psychedelic and mesmerising.

Maz O’Connor

Nominated for the Horizon Award in the BBC Folk Awards 2013, Maz O’Connor is a gifted singer of traditional and self-penned songs. She accompanies her uniquely pure voice with guitar, shruti box, piano and harmonium.

Described by Froots magazine as ‘an enchanting debut album’, her ‘Upon a Stranger Shore’ was released in the summer of 2012, just after Maz left university.

2013 brought a creative fellowship with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, funded by the BBC Performing Arts Fund, and a summer spent as the singer for the RSC’s production of ‘As You Like It’ with music written by Laura Marling.

After a busy year of gigging and gathering new material, Maz’s new album, ‘This Willowed Light’ has been produced by multi-folk-award-winning Jim Moray and will be released in June 2014.

“a vocal performance that stops you dead in your tracks” (Fatea magazine)

Old Somerset Russets

Formed in 2012, The Old Somerset Russets have been running workshops at Priddy since 2013, as well as playing for the festival church service in true Thomas Hardy style. A group of West Country musicians (strings, woodwind, squeezeboxes and a touch of brass), the Russets combine words and music to recreate the sound and spirit of the village bands of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Playing in three or four part harmony, they draw on the old tunes as well as a few modern ones, punctuated with readings – sometimes moving, sometimes hilarious – to tell the story of the players whose music provided the soundtrack to the life of English villages.


Play English dance tunes in glorious 3 or 4 part harmony with The Old Somerset Russets and help recreate that village band sound so loved by Thomas Hardy. The ability to read music is recommended but non-readers are welcome to pick up the tunes by ear. Suitable for all melody instruments.

New Rope String Band

Once seen, never forgotten: an indefinable confusion of superb musicianship and side-splitting comic genius, the New Rope String Band are truly unique entertainers. Elements of circus, clowning, vaudeville, slapstick and sheer inspired silliness are spliced with beautiful acoustic music from various world traditions, in precision-honed yet uproarious performances that have delighted audiences from Borneo’s Sarawak rainforest to the Shetland Folk Festival. Equally at home in tiny village halls or on major festival stages, these three maniac minstrels mix up long-time favourite routines with ever-evolving new material. From musical gyrations to deconstructed nursery rhymes, Python-esque absurdism to pyrotechnics, dream sequences and live, interactive film, expect the hilariously unexpected.

The Cleaves

Danny and Becky Cleave are a brother, sister duo of 15 and 17 years old based in South Devon. Despite having an interest in many different genres of music, folk has always been a passion of theirs. With fiddle, guitar and vocals they play a wide range of different styles, from traditional folk songs with lots of harmonies, to modern, foot tapping fiddle tunes. They often go busking in Totnes and perform at a number of local events. This includes recently supporting singer Jackie Oates in concert at Dartington Great Hall.



Emerging out of the lively traditional music scene of Melbourne, Tolka encapsulates a sense of what it means to be playing traditional music in a contemporary context. While acknowledging the roots of Irish music, original compositions and innovative arrangements are central to Tolka’s live performances and studio recording.

The band’s debut album, Tunes from the External Hard Drive was released in June 2013 in Fitzroy, Melbourne to a packed home audience. In 2014, the band was awarded an Australian Arts Council grant which has allowed them to live and work in Belfast for four months to write and record their second studio album. The project is being mentored and produced the renowned musician and composer, Brian Finnegan (Flook, Kan).

Hilary Glaisher- Fiddle and Vocals

Allan Evans- Flute, Whistles and Vocals

Robert Hillman- Guitar and Vocals

Cameron Hibbs- Tenor banjo



Bella Hardy

It’s been five years since Bella Hardy found herself nominated in the Best Original Song category at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Three Black Feathers – the first song she ever wrote. In 2012 she won that same award for her powerful and moving account of life as a 19th century Stornoway Herring Girl – taken from her third album, Songs Lost & Stolen, which earned rave reviews, including four stars from The Guardian, while The Independent called the entirely self-composed collection: “beautifully crafted and conceived with poetic flair.” In those few short years, Bella has become one of the most creative, prolific and original voices on the flourishing UK folk scene.

Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin

Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin are two folk musicians who are “fast becoming hot property on the folk scene” (froots July 2011). The duo have been touring with Show Of Hands and have received great reviews of their debut album, “Singing The Bones”

Phillip is fast becoming recognised as one of the finest slide guitarists in the UK and is also a virtuoso on the harmonica. He brings together folk melodies of the British isles, blues, gospel and Indian music in his moving and original compositions and arrangements. His incredible harmonica technique is legendary on the festival circuit, and never fails to get the crowd on their feet and jumping.

Hannah Martin is a singer, songwriter, fiddle-and-banjo player from Devon. Her songs weave folklore and legend old and new with beautiful melodies, while retaining a strong sense of the living tradition. Together they create a sound that is original, traditional and totally absorbing

Steve Tilston Trio

Ask anyone on the English acoustic scene who their favourite guitarist, singer, songwriter and entertainer is and nine times out of ten the same name will crop up in the top three of every department. Steve Tilston is one of our most celebrated song-smiths; widely recognised within the world of folk and contemporary music: the words, arrangements and subtle, quite superb guitar playing could be no one else.

Ushti Baba

Accordion, cello and beatbox join the violin, guitar and darabouka of erstwhile Priddy performers ‘Tatterdemalion’ to create a unique and explosive act. Ushti, or ‘Wake Up!’ in Roma, sums up this Bristol band’s infectious spirit and vitality which has been getting crowds up and dancing at festivals and venues across the UK.

Songs inspired by Celtic, Gypsy, Balkan and European folk traditions forge stories told with stirring melodies and harmonies, driving strings, exotic rhythms and stomping contemporary beats. Ushti Baba will take you on a musical journey across continents which will leave you energised and uplifted.

Firepit collective

Firepit Collective are a trio playing traditional and contemporary folk music from the British Isles and further afield. With a background in the travelling life, their music grew from sessions with friends around firepits on site. The music’s subject is often that of protest – against capitalism, fascism, the state, the monarchy and environmental harm. It is music of the grass-roots, the working class, the ‘feral underclass’. Jay Terrestrial and Chezney met living on the road and met David at sessions. All have a long history of gigging in bands such as Inner Terrestrials, Tofu Love Frogs, Choonz, Suicide Bid, 7 Kevins, and numerous collaborations, solo gigs and guest appearances with Pronghorn, Blood Or Whiskey, Liberty, Six Eight, Radio Gee, Fil Planet, and more… After years of firepit jams and sessions on site they decided to put together a set of acoustic material and start gigging it in venues and festivals. Sometimes joined on stage by friends and family from the travelling community and sometimes just solo, Firepit play protest songs, traditional songs and fierce tunes. This is raw and heartfelt music from the grass roots!

Chesney Newman, Jay Terrestrial, Maxine Venton, Mel Rogers and Magnus Martin

Jez Hellard & the Djukella Orchestra

A singer of potent songs, stunning harmonica player, guitarist and producer, Jez Hellard thrives on music of all stripes. His band, The Djukella Orchestra, play traditional and contemporary folk music, from jigs and reels to tango, rhumba, funk and reggae. From original and traditional songs to rare gems from some of the world`s greatest, if lesser known song-writers; often fellow troubadors who Jez has met in many years on the road.

Issy & David Emeney

Issy’s reputation as a top class melodeon player, and composer of some of the finest songs and tunes you’ll hear is well established, marrying stunning melodies and captivating stories that draw the listener right in.  With David’s warm, clear vocals and beautiful guitar style, they accompany themselves with a rare lyrical skill that makes this duo one of the most engaging bands on the folk scene today.

A first rate tunesmith, a fine melodeon player and a songwriter deserving of our complete admiration Andy Kershaw

“Truly astonishing musicians & singers. Quite brilliant – you’ll rarely hear better”  Tom & Barbara Brown

A must-see main event for all folk clubs” Mick Tems, Folkwales

“Make sure you go to see them – you won’t be disappointed” EDS Mag


Blue School Folk Ensemble

The Blue School Folk Ensemble does exactly what it says on the tin! The group was formed after 2012’s Blue School workshop with professional musician Will Lang, which culminated in a live performance on Priddy festival’s main stage, and a placement on his Halsway Manor folk workshop awarded to the students who had progressed the furthest. After these students returned to humble Wells, having amassed new and exciting folk knowledge, an idea formed in the mind of teacher Brigitte Cox, who noted the unprecedented interest in traditional music now occurring at her school. Calling in her 6th Form musical students as guiding hands, themselves no strangers to folk (including local Somerset band The Drystones) she put together an independent, student run folk group comprised of Halsway Manor Alumni Alice Lintern, Arthur Cullen and Tim Salvidge, and other Blue School students with a passion for the diddly. They play lively folk music of a traditional bent, with a few tunes here or there you might recognise. They call themselves “Thirsty Jenny”. Check out their YouTube Channel

Will Lang’s Silent Ceilidh

On Friday night in the village hall, Will Lang and Phil Bassendale will be getting revellers dancing away to Priddy’s very first silent ceilidh and after you can dance the night away with our silent disco. Watch this space as we announce guest artist DJs!

We’re really excited to have our first Silent Ceilidh and Disco… It’s going to be great. Do not miss it.