Fairport’s Cropredy Convention announces Brian Wilson as headliner

Brian Wilson at Fairport's Cropredy Convention
Photograph courtesy of CNN

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention music festival have announced that Brian Wilson will perform the legendary Beach Boys album Pet Sounds at Cropredy on Thursday 9 August 2018.

Acclaimed for its ambition and sophistication, Pet Sounds is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential albums of all time. Released in 1966, Wilson’s masterpiece is number 2 in the Rolling Stone ‘500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’ list, only beaten to the top spot by The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper.

The festival will be held over three days (Thursday 9, Friday 10 and Saturday 11 August 2018) at Cropredy near Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Thursday opens with host band Fairport Convention who will play a short welcome set. Fairport are followed by Smith & Brewer, a talented Americana guitar duo featuring close harmony vocals. Police Dog Hogan deliver their own brand of exhilarating Country-tinged rock. Ever-popular folkrockers Oysterband will make their first appearance at Cropredy since 2004 and they will be followed by Thursday’s headliner, Brian Wilson.

On Friday,Cropredy will open with a set by the BBC Young Folk Award winner followed by newcomers Midnight Skyracer who describe their music as ‘Anglo-Irish girl-power Bluegrass’. Favourites of the Cropredy crowd The Travelling Band make a welcome return with their blend of Mancunian Americana and indie folkrock. Cregan & Co features Jim Cregan, best known for his associations with Family, Cockney Rebel and Rod Stewart. Le Vent du Nord will perform traditional Québécois music with infectious enthusiasm before former frontman of Marillion, Fish makes his second appearance at Cropredy. Mercury-nominee Kate Rusby (Folk Singer of the Year and Best Live Act winner at the BBC Folk Awards) makes her Cropredy debut before Friday’s headline act Levellers celebrate their thirtieth anniversary with a welcome return to Cropredy.

Saturday sees BAFTA nominee Richard Digance getting the day off to a flying start. Sets from Eric Sedge and The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican precede singer-songwriter Will Varley who makes his first appearance at Cropredy with his band.  Folk Award winner Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys are newcomers to the festival and so are Afro Celt Sound System who fuse traditional Irish and West African music in a thrilling mix. They will be followed by a solo set from Scottish singer-songwriter Al Stewart before Fairport Convention and guests take the stage for their traditional two-hour-plus Saturday headline show.

Festival website: http://www.fairportconvention.com/

‘God Only Knows’ – live:

Maverick Festival 2018

Bonnie Bishop – photograph courtesy of Rolling Stone

Following a milestone 10th anniversary last year, the UK’s first and finest Americana festival is thrilled to announce further additions to its 2018 line up.  This year Maverick Festival will take place from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th July, showcasing the most authentic and talented musicians from both sides of the Atlantic.  Over the past decade Maverick Festival organisers have stuck to what they believe in, presenting exciting and inspiring line-ups year after year.

New additions include the most talked about  band in  Memphis, Southern Avenue, whose style embodies their home city’s soul, blues and gospel traditions, while adding a youthful spirit and dynamic energy all of their own.

After working on new album Ain’t Who I Was with the hottest producer in the business Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson); Texas-raised Bonnie Bishop heads to the Suffolk countryside to make her UK festival debut.  Returning to us from Australia, we welcome back Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, who bring with them rising Aussie star Imogen Clark.

Not forgetting the UK talent, Maverick welcomes Brighton based band The Mountain Firework Company to the festival this year. The acoustic five piece have been described as” A bitter sweet country cocktail… on the rocks ”

Maverick Festival is excited to announce a special feature in this years programme celebrating music from Hawaii and its contribution to Americana. The programme includes Maverick favourite Hank Wangford, who will be sharing tales from his days on the trail with the paniolos, Hawaii’s very own cowboys, and BJ Cole and his band who will debut tracks from their new album, showcasing the slack key guitar and featuring the Hawaiian singer and dancer, Kehau Kahananui.

Set amongst the picturesque Victorian farm buildings of Easton Farm Park, the site is nestled deep in the Suffolk countryside, yet only two hours from London. The festival presents music performances, film & workshops and features over forty different artists, across five stages indoors and out.

2018 LINE UP



Ranger £100.00

Weekend ticket with admission to all stages and includes up to TWO nights camping FRIDAY and SATURDAY

Wrangler £80.00

Weekend ticket with admission to all stages No Camping

Rustler £50.00
Day ticket, Saturday only

Nighthawk £30.00
Friday night only

Holy Roller £25.00
Sunday only

Tenderfoot £25.00
Children 10-15 yrs, under 10’s go free

Festival website: www.maverickfestival.co.uk

The Shires added to Towersey line-up

The UK’s biggest country/ Americana act completes Towersey Festival’s massive 2018 line-up


Acclaimed British country duo The Shires are the final headline act to be announced for the 54th Towersey Festival (24-27 August 2018, Thame, Oxfordshire).

Hailing from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes, aka The Shires, are the biggest selling UK country act of all time, and the first UK act to be honoured with a Country Music Association (CMA) Award. Winning over US audiences with their lauded take on the revered genre, they’ve even performed in Nashville’s hallowed Grand Ole Opry, the very heart of country music.

With two record-setting Top 10 albums behind them (Brave and My Universe), their much-anticipated third collection, Accidentally On Purpose, is released on 20 April 2018. Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, the album combines massive country-pop choruses with emotive lyrics inspired by their whirlwind journey, relationships, and their time in the States.

The duo close Towersey Festival on Monday 27 August 2018, and join previously announced headliners Richard Thompson Electric Trio (Fri), The Proclaimers and Big Country (Sat), and Beth Orton (Sunday). The line-up also features the Americana-tinged Wildwood Kin, songwriter/ guitarist Blair Dunlop, William The Conqueror, and the bluegrass influenced Bella Gaffney and Polly Bolton.

Towersey Festival Director Joe Heap said: “We’re so pleased to finally announce The Shires as the last of our headline acts this year. They’re quite simply the biggest UK country/ Americana act there is, and they’ll be making the August Bank Holiday Monday a day to remember!”

Situated in easy reach of London and Birmingham, on the Oxfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border, and established in 1965, Towersey is one of the UK’s longest continuously running independent music festivals. Boasting 11 venues, alongside an extensive music programme the festival also features 24hrs of ceilidh, daily workshops, a well-stocked real ale bar, street food, spoken word, film screenings, events and activities for children and younger festival-goers, and more.

Tickets for Towersey Festival, which runs from Friday 24 to Monday 27 August 2018 at Thame Showground in Oxfordshire, are available now (Tier 3) from £129 (adult), £115 (conc), £91 (youth), £59 (child) for the full four days. Day tickets are also available (adult £40; youth £28; child £18). Under 5s are free.

For further information, and to book, see: www.towerseyfestival.com

First news of this year’s Tønder Festival

Tønder FestivalFor 44 years now the European folk, country and Americana scene has been meeting in Tønder – a tranquil Danish city just a few kilometres behind the German border. In these 44 years, the originally small folk festival has become one of the biggest genre events in Europe. Year after year, about 70 acts mainly from America, Canada, Ireland, England and Scandinavia define the status quo of the folk, Americana country and traditional music scene. An average of 10,000 visitors attend the festival every year.

“70 percent of our guests are regulars. They come back every year,” says Maria Theessink, responsible for press relations and the programme at the Tønder Festival. Besides the quality of the musical contributions, it’s the fantastic ambience of the festival which keeps the crowds returning year on year. We do everything we can to make our visitors feel at home with us,” she says,” we don’t let stress and hectic pace arise. We want to celebrate a relaxed festival feeling with beautiful music and idyllic surroundings. We seem to be succeeding.”

This mix of high-quality acts, relaxed atmosphere and good sea air – the North Sea is only a few kilometres away – makes Tønder unique in the annual festival calendar. No wonder that the FlightNetwork website ranked the traditional event among the 34 best music festivals in Europe (one of two folk festivals in the cross-genre list).

On the four festival days from 23 to 26 August, Tønder visitors can look forward to a programme that is as varied as it is top-class. Among the most sonorous names that have already been confirmed are the following:

David Ramirez (the upcoming Americana star from Austin, Texas)

The Secret Sisters (Grammy-nominated Folk-Duo from Alabama)

Tyler Childers (the country musician/singer-songwriter from Kentucky is about to make a big breakthrough)

Oysterband (legendary folk band from GB)

Sharon Shannon (Ireland’s folk queen)

Guests with a special interest for British festival-goers include Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys, Skipinnish and Allan Taylor.

More details at the festival website: www.tf.dk

TOWERSEY FESTIVAL reveal line-up for 2018

Photo by Murdo Macleod

The Proclaimers, Richard Thompson, Beth Orton and Big Country are among the acts headlining the 54th Towersey Festival (24-27 August 2018, Thame, Oxfordshire).

Joining them at one of the UK’s longest running festivals are Fishermen’s Friends, the Sharon Shannon Band and Daphne’s Flight.

It’s been 31 years since Scottish twins Charlie and Craig Reid, aka The Proclaimers, came to widespread public attention. Calling on folk, country, rock’n’roll and punk, the brothers have built up an impressive back catalogue, with such hits as I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Letter From America, King Of The Road, and more. They’ve even inspired a musical, the play and film Sunshine On Leith.

Richard Thompson is no stranger to Towersey, having last appeared at the festival solo/ acoustic back in 2015. For his latest appearance, the Fairport Convention co-founder brings his acclaimed Electric Trio.

Singer-songwriter Beth Orton‘s enticing mix of acoustic and electronic elements have won her huge acclaim. Her 1999 record Central Reservation picked up the BRIT Award for Best Album, and her recent releases, Sugaring Season and Kidsticks, continue to beguile.

Celtic rock band Big Country‘s hits include Field Of Fire (400 Miles), In A Big Country and Wonderland. The Live Aid veterans visit Towersey to perform their acoustic set.

Other notable acts on the bill include award-winning Irish accordion player Sharon Shannon; Cornwall’s chart-busting eight-piece Fisherman’s Friends, who are credited with kick-starting a revival in shanty-style choral singing; singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph; and a reunited Daphne’s Flight, featuring five of the most acclaimed female singer-songwriters from their generation (Helen Watson, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Chris While and Christine Collister).

They’ll be playing alongside 10 times winners of the National Brass Band Champions of Great Britain, the Brighouse and Rastrick Band; rising Americana/ roots trio Wildwood Kin; a collaboration between Peter Knight (Steeleye Span) and John Spiers (Bellowhead); and Whetstone Brinsford Kirkpatrick, recreating Dave Whetstone’s landmark mid-90s folk album The Resolution for an exclusive Towersey appearance.

Towersey Festival Director Joe Heap said: “We’ve got a great mix of big names making their Towersey debuts this year as well as some real returning favourites, such as Richard Thompson. We’re especially pleased to welcome The Proclaimers for the first time – they always put on a great show and have so many fabulous songs.”

But as Joe states, one final piece of the jigsaw puzzle is yet to be revealed: “There is one more incredible headline act to announce for August Bank Holiday Monday. We’ve just confirmed and will be announcing officially very soon – so keep an eye out for some exciting news …”

Situated in easy reach of London and Birmingham, on the Oxfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border, and established in 1965, Towersey is one of the UK’s longest continuously running independent music festivals. Boasting 11 venues, alongside an extensive music programme the festival also features 24hrs of ceilidh, daily workshops, a well-stocked bar, street food, spoken word, film screenings, events and activities for children and younger festival-goers, and more.

DAY BY DAY LISTINGS (key acts only):

Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Sharon Shannon Band
Wildwood Kin
Whetstone Brinsford Kirkpatrick (Exclusive Towersey appearance)

The Proclaimers
Big Country (Acoustic)
Daphne’s Flight
Martin Simpson
William The Conqueror
Tickled Pink

Beth Orton
Fisherman’s Friends
Martyn Joseph
Blair Dunlop
Brighouse and Rastrick Band
The Rheingans Sisters

[Headline Act To Be Announced]
Blackbeard’s Tea Party (Festival Finale)
Roy Bailey
Peter Knight and John Spiers
Lady Maisery

Tickets for Towersey Festival, which runs from Friday 24 to Monday 27 August 2018 at Thame Showground in Oxfordshire, are available now (Tier 2) from £119 (adult), £115 (conc), £84 (youth), £59 (child). For further information, and to book, see: www.towerseyfestival.com

Gretchen Peters joins Gate To Southwell 2018

One of America’s most successful singer-songwriters, Gretchen Peters, will be one of the headline acts at this year’s Gate To Southwell Festival in rural Nottinghamshire this June.

Grammy-nominated and recently inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Gretchen’s songs have been recorded by diverse artists such as Etta James, George Strait, Shania Twain and Neil Diamond, and she’s co-written and duetted with Bryan Adams. Her 2015 UK tour sold out and featured an acclaimed performance at Glastonbury.

Long regarded as one of the best voices in country and roots music, her hit album ‘Blackbirds’ was described as “an Americana tour de force” by The Sun while Uncut magazine hailed her as “one of Nashville’s greatest talents of the past two decades”. Her recent collection, ‘The Essential Gretchen Peters’, features many of her classic songs including ‘Independence Day’, ‘Hello Cruel World’, ‘The Secret Of Life’ and ‘On A Bus To St Cloud’. She’ll be performing in the Southwell Big Top on Saturday June 9th.

Gretchen Peters brings further international class to Gate To Southwell 2018 (June 7 to 11) joining an eclectic musical line up that already includes legendary folk rockers Lindisfarne, great Irish singer Cara Dillon, Denmark’s Habadekuk, Louisiana blues stars the Lil Jimmy Reed Band, award-winning English folk stars The Young’uns, hillbilly Canadians Ol’ Savannah and many more artists.

Another exciting USA newcomer to Southwell in June will be Truckstop Honeymoon, fusing bluegrass, punk rock and soul with music hall jazz and rock & roll. Created by Katie and Mike West, and born in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Truckstop Honeymoon took to the road in 2005 after their home, and their recording studio, were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Since then, they’ve relocated to the Midwest music mecca of Lawrence Kansas but still continue to travel the world with their four kids.

Bargain priced Tier One tickets are still available via www.gtsf.uk