The festival is throughout the village – two marquees on the Green, the Sessions Tent and the church and village hall. The concerts and dance programme in these venues starts at 7pm on Friday evening and ends at 5pm on Sunday afternoon.
Adam Holmes and The Embers
Adam Holmes crafts lyrics that resonate like old folk songs, set to melodies rooted in haunting slow airs. John Martyn’s strum and sting, laced with a slice of Celtic soul and a touch of traditional folk.
The 24-year-old Edinburgh-born singer/songwriter is one of the brightest rising stars on the Scottish music scene, with influences from either side of the Atlantic mixing traditional and contemporary folk with his own brand of Americana.
Starting out on fiddle, Holmes switched to guitar at 14, and began writing songs only a year or so later. A finalist in the 2009 Celtic Connections Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition, he was also nominated as Best Newcomer at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2011 and was further nominated for Best Up and Coming Artist at the 2013 Scots Trad Music Awards.
In 2013 he recorded his debut album Heirs and Graces with legendary producer John Wood (responsible for seminal albums by John Martyn, Nick Drake, Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny amongst many others). It was mastered by Simon Heyworth, co-producer with Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells, and was launched to great critical acclaim in January 2014.
In April 2014 the album was nominated for Scottish Album of the Year and in December was also nominated for Best Album at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards. It reached a high of number 5 in the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and tracks receive national and international airplay from stations throughout the UK, mainland Europe, the US and Canada.
Effra are Alex Bishop (guitar), Tom Newell (fiddle, mandolin) and Aidan Shepherd (accordion). Heralding from Bath, Shrewsbury and Canterbury respectively, they met in London in 2011. Although coming from predominantly rock, classical and jazz backgrounds, a strong connection was quickly formed, and they began meeting regularly to write and develop music that shared a common ground.
Early performances were well received, and the band soon grew an identity of its own, fuelled by innovative ideas brought to the table by all three members. In 2012 after only a year since their first meeting, the band won the Bath Folk Festival ʻNew Shoots Competitionʼ on the strength of their compositions and high- energy performance. In 2013 they embarked on a successful tour of the UK promoting their self-titled EP. In 2014 they released their debut album, ‘Lose An Hour’.
Having already been previewed on Late Junction (BBC Radio 3) and Sam Leeʼs Nest Collective Hour (Resonance FM), Effra will be releasing their hotly-anticipated second album in Autumn 2016 and touring the UK, including appearances at some of the biggest folk festivals.
John Watterson has performed the songs of Jake Thackray at festivals, concerts, clubs, after dinner venues and – most specially – to members of Jake’s family.
Jake’s songs are exquisitely funny, satirical, incisive, irreverent, witty and gloriously un-PC – and sometimes all of these at the same time. Jake was a one off, his poetry broke the rules yet worked beautifully. He was a true craftsman of the English language, and his legacy of scores of songs continues to delight audiences of all ages today.
John’s appreciation and love of Jake Thackray’s music is obvious to his audience. John’s performance is a celebration of the man that was Jake Thackray – his work, his genius and his very essence, an essence that the new age of music lovers are in danger of missing out on.
John is a talented guitarist and vocalist and has that engaging quality that makes you want to listen to his performance. When you wrap these ingredients up in the songs of Jake Thackray the result is a highly entertaining, heartfelt tribute to one of the finest songwriters of the 20th century.
Faustus are three of the leading lights of their generation: Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweazel, War Horse), Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast). They have a plethora of experience between them, brought together in a virtuosic display of musicianship representing the best in the current vibrant English folk scene.
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!
Jay Terrestrial – Vox, Guitar, Whistles. Chezney – Irish Bouzouki, Banjo, Vox. David Garner – Fiddle
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.
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.
Hannah Cumming and Jon Dyer
Hannah began playing Folk Music at the age of 12, when she began the fiddle. Hannah was Classically trained originally to grade 5, and learnt Folk along side. Her Love of Folk Music spiralled as soon as she could play it.
She recorded her first Folk CD at the age of 13 as a duet with her brother Alex Cumming, which was a mix of playing their instruments and singing.
Hannah then went on to start a band with her brother along with Jon Dyer and Penny Dyer, to form the Dyer:Cumming’s, who are still going strong today.
Jamie Smith’s Mabon
Jamie Smith’s Mabon is led by Jamie Smith on accordion, Oli Wilson-Dickson on fiddle, Paul Rodgers on guitar, Matt Downer on bass guitar and upright bass, and Iolo Whelan on drums and percussion.
These six highly accomplished musicians, draw inspiration directly from the traditional folk music of the Celtic countries. This is not Welsh music, nor Scottish or Irish; this is Interceltic music, a true exploration of forms and styles found in Celtic music forged into something bold and new.
“A top band led by one hell of an accordion player and arranger” Mike Harding
Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith
Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith are a highly acclaimed folk duo who play traditional and original music of the British Isles.
Over the last three years they have built a reputation on the UK folk scene for arresting and moving performances. The songs themselves are always given centre stage but they are brought to life with sensitive musical arrangements and stunning vocals. There is an integrity that shines through their performances and a common thread of political struggle, resistance, and justice.
Jon Dyer and Alfie Gidley
Jon Dyer and Alfie Gidley are a folk duo based in the Southwest of England. They met while studying music at Falmouth University, Cornwall and began performing together in local pubs and sessions. Since these humble beginnings, Jon and Alfie have gone on to perform at major UK folk festivals such as Sidmouth Folk Week and Bromyard Folk Festival. They have supported headlining bands such as the Urban Folk Quartet and were New Roots finalists in 2015. They have recently released their debut album, Level Pegging.
Kadia are an acoustic trio from Bournemouth in Dorset performing a mix of traditional and contemporary folk songs, strongly rooted in the British folk tradition. They combine cello, fingerstyle guitar, 8-string ukulele and mandolin with three part harmony to create rich and uplifting music, interspersed with history and storytelling.
The band are currently working on an EP of five traditional songs, to be released in April 2017.
Kitty Macfarlane is a Somerset-based singer and songwriter. Her lyrics combine honest snapshots of everyday humanity with the bigger questions that have connected minds and voices for centuries, driven by her own fingerpicked guitar. As well as the release of her debut EP Tide & Time – featuring Sam Kelly (co-producer), Jamie Francis, Lukas Drinkwater, Maya McCourt and Ciaran Algar, and gaining her first national airplay on the BBC Radio 2 folk show with Mark Radcliffe, and Tom Robinson’s show on BBC 6Music – 2016 has seen Kitty complete an extensive national support tour with award-winning duo Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman. Other highlights range from support sets for Seth Lakeman, Alasdair Roberts, Rachel Sermanni, Blair Dunlop, and Feast of Fiddles, to appearing as a theme-tune on Radio 4, being a featured artist for a BBC Introducing documentary, and making the semi-final of the BBC Young Folk Award in 2015. Kitty has also recently been awarded a creative bursary from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) for a songwriting project of her own devising.
Lasair are a South West based ceilidh band with a diverse tune-set, backed by a funk-rock driven rhythm section. Having impressed in their debut at Sidmouth Folk Week in 2013 theyn followed up, in 2014, with a blockbuster Late Night Extra set which has catapulted them onto the festival ceilidh scene.
Laura Beth Salter and Jenn Butterworth
Uniting two powerful voices with guitar and mandolin, Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter are both key players in Glasgow’s world-renowned grassroots folk scene, with their new duo partnership channelling that tumultuous creative energy into a mix of Celtic and Americana material.
Jenn Butterworth is one of Scotland’s foremost female guitarists, and has toured extensively with the award winning Anna Massie Band. As an accompanist she is in high demand, her most recent collaborations have involved artists such as Phil Cunningham and Nuala Kennedy. Laura-Beth Salter takes influence from the Oldtime and Bluegrass music that her parents played whilst she was growing up in Lincolnshire. After spending time studying a Traditional Music Degree in Newcastle she became heavily involved in the folk scene. She is a founding member of The Shee and her most recent collaborations involve Shooglenifty and The MacLean Project led by the world renowned Perthshire singer Dougie MacLean.
Leon Hunt Trio (with Jason Titley & Gina Griffin)
As one reviewer once observed ‘being the best 5-string banjo player in the UK must be rather like being the fastest ‘fast-bowler’ in Virginia’. Leon Hunt has, for more than a decade, continued to confound that notion (and the many stereotypes that attempt to confine the 5-string banjo to Bluegrass music) by making his living playing alongside some of the world’s top musicians from a number of musical styles, backgrounds and disciplines.
Since graduating from his ‘Music and Music Technology’ degree in 2000 Leon has taken part in several notable ‘transatlantic’ recordings; Miles Apart (2004) Shuttle Diplomacy (2008) and Fishing Music (2009). These projects have included some of the biggest names in American traditional music; Viktor Krauss, Tim O’Brien, Stuart Duncan, David Grier and Matt Flinner to name a few.
Beyond proving his Bluegrass credentials, Leon has found himself in a diverse array of other musical settings; occasional live and/or recorded collaborations with Irish traditional music’s Michael McGoldrick and Flook, African Kora virtuoso, Sekou Kieta, and English Folk singer, Kate Rusby.
Leon has also enjoyed being part of several major theatre productions for The Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Rep, and The New Vic (search the web hard enough and you’ll find a very funny picture of him in a powdered wig and tights!!!)
If all of the above name dropping means nothing to you then we’ll have to resort to Anchor Butter’s major 2008 TV advertising campaign (the series of commercials with the fuzzy felt cows), that was Leon too!
In 2015 Mawkin delivered their self-produced and critically acclaimed album ‘The Ties That Bind’. Their ‘unapologetically energetic’ approach and DIY ethic surprised critics, fans and welcomed new audience members describing them as a ‘modern day Fairport’. With a host of rebel rousing folk songs and instrumentals the band modernise traditional folk material with their own touch and have since excited audiences with their artillery of loud, boisterous, foot stomping live sets. Critics of the album suggested that Mawkin might fill the ‘Bellowhead shaped hole’ so it seemed only natural to support them on their farewell tour of 2016 amongst a flurry of key festivals and UK tour dates.
The band members have a wealth of other musical experience between them with brothers David and James’s involvement with Eliza Carthy and Norma Waterson, Jim Moray, Topette!, and the two providing stand-in support for members of Bellowhead. Nick Cooke is Kate Rusby and False Lights’ melodeon player, is a professional mastering engineer and has worked with some of the most iconic producers in our lifetime. Lee Richardson, who’s former background was in dance music, is an award winning producer of TV, advertising and trailer music.
Medicine Creek have been plying their whisky-soaked brand of bluegrass and americana since getting together in Bristol in 2010.
They have gained a cult following for their adrenaline-fuelled live act and gospel-flavoured harmonies, and have been invited to play at several major UK festivals, including Glastonbury, Beach Break and Shambala.
Medicine Creek released a 5 Track EP in 2011, and are currently working on new songs for a full length album.
Mr Tea and the Minions
Originally a dictatorship formed by the cunning Mr Tea, the Minions have since overthrown him and their chaos has brought forth a musical democracy where cheekiness, fun and love bind the band together into one massive colourful explosion!
The Minions play their own unique take on high energy Balkan party music – combining Gypsy flavoured Ska, Dub and Swing with an infusion of soulful melodies, cheeky Eastern riffs and booming beats and bass to put a smile on your face and your knees up past your ears!
Celtic-Medieval Speed Folk…
Maybe it’s good to point out this band plays fast. Insanely fast! Great fun on stage and dropping jaws of the audience everywhere they appear. Over 700 performances throughout the Europe;
with the unleashed energy of unbelievably quick whistles, recorders, tribal drums, guitar-fuelled engine and haunting vocals; welcome to the World of PerKelt!
Hold on to your antlers…
Solana are an instrumental gypsy-folk band. Hailing from all corners of Europe, their style reflects the diversity of their backgrounds and interests: their sound encompasses folk, swing, klezmer, flamenco, latin, reggae and trip-hop. Their live shows combine intricate arrangements with energetic performances and healthy doses of improvisation, and have been getting crowds dancing across the UK, France and Spain since their formation in late 2012.
Winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, Talisk are one of the fastest rising bands on the British folk scene.
Mohsen Amini (concertina), Hayley Keenan (fiddle) and Craig Irving (guitar) create a captivating, energetic and dynamic sound that, in little more than a year, has earned them multiple award wins and nationwide media and audience attention, as well as a nomination for Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the 2015 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards. Most recently, Amini was crowned the 2016 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, adding to their collective trophy cabinet that far belies their years.
So too does their performance history, though – with appearances at world-leading festivals including the Cambridge Folk Festival, Fairport’s Cropredy Convention and Celtic Connections, as well as live sessions on both BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship folk programmes, theirs is a star firmly, and rapidly, on the ascent.
In January 2016, in order to mark their ten year anniversary, The Shee took to the stage in front of a sell-out audience to launch Continuum, – an exciting new project in which they asked six of their favourite folk musicians to compose pieces for the band. The pieces were written by Karine Polwart, Brian Finnegan, Chris Wood, Kathryn Tickell, Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting and performed by The Shee.
Continuum has now been recorded and is due for release in September 2016. Watch this space for more information! In the meantime, you can see blogs from the band members as well as photos and vidoes of the project by visiting theshee.com
Described as ‘flirtatiously funky’ by The Scotsman, their music features original compositions alongside a wealth of traditional material. Their adventurous brew of Scottish folk, Gaelic song, and Bluegrass has earned them fast growing recognition. As well as successful performances at
festivals including Cambridge and Celtic Connections, The Shee demonstrate an impressive array of individual musical achievements including BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician 2006, as well as members performing
with acclaimed traditional music groups such as Scottish folk orchestra ‘The Unusual Suspects’, ‘Kathryn Tickell Band’ and ‘Shooglenifty.’
Tom was born on Tyneside and brought up in a pub on the famous Scotswood Road with clientele drawn from the Irish and Scottish communities. This is where he first experienced traditional singing and fiddle music; the Hornpipes of James Hill amongst his first influences. 50 years on Tom McConville is widely acknowledged as THE authority on the music of James Hill and produced the first CD devoted entirely to Hill’s compositions.
The new Anglo-French acoustic dance band Topette!! are a collective of uninhibited musical adventurers playing self-penned and traditional music from anywhere with a winning mix of bonhomie and grit.
Of course it helps that those musicians are some of the finest on the Anglo-French dance scene…
Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion)
James Delarre (violin)
Julien Cartonnet (bagpipes, banjo)
Tania Buisse (bodhrán)
Barnaby Stradling (acoustic bass guitar)
Born out of friendship, the five-piece play naturally social music – for filling dancefloors, for listening, for drinking with friends – but don’t expect it to merge into the background. This is raunchy, up-all-night, joyously jugular-grabbing dance music.
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.
Will Kaufman’s Woody Guthrie: Hard times and hard travellin’ is a captivating “live documentary” that sets the songs of Woody Guthrie in the context of the American 1930s – the Dust Bowl, the Depression, the New Deal and the state of popular music itself. The show highlights the blending of music and radical politics that marks Guthrie’s most powerful work.
Will Kaufman is a professor of American literature and culture at the University of Central Lancashire, England.
According to MOJO his latest book – Woody Guthrie, American Radical is “A fascinating look at Woody Guthrie’s politics.”