Bath Folk Festival and Traditional Music Summer School


Now in its ninth year, Bath Folk Festival runs from 11th – 19th August 2018 and presents great opportunities for players and listeners alike.

The festival features concerts, lively pub and café sessions, storytelling, dance and the popular Bath Traditional Music Summer School, where students learn traditional music for five days under the tuition of a team of respected players.

This year’s line-up reflects many traditions and cultures. Artists include the pioneering Irish guitarist John Doyle, travelling troubadour Rory McLeod, Swedish vocal quartet Åkervinda, acclaimed Irish singer Alan Burke, the highly anticipated new duo John Dipper and David Malkin, and festival favourites Beth Porter and the Availables.  The festival will also host performances by Georgia Lewis, Wes Robinson, Johnny Coppin, Kevin Brown, Louise Jordan, The Bookshop Band, Matt Tighe, Tad Sargent, Nasrudin, Tom Moore, Archie Churchill Moss, and many more.

The festival is delighted to welcome back the talented young musicians from Ards Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, an award winning dynamic youth music and dance troupe from Bangor in Northern Ireland, who will be performing a free concert at Green Park Brasserie with Bath Folk Youth Band.

The Bath Traditional Summer School will feature new classes in tenor banjo and mandolin, singing and Irish dancing, in addition to the ever-popular fiddle, flute, piano accordion, guitar classes.  Tutors include Karen Tweed, Catriona MacDonald, Rachel Cross, Gabi Maas, Gerry Hegarty, Katherine Mann, Claire Watts, Tom Kimber and Rebecca Hills.  The Summer School welcomes players and dancers of all standards – from novices looking to get a solid grounding to experienced players looking to sharpen their skills.

Bath Folk Festival celebrates all flavours of traditional music, from English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh music to Americana, gypsy jazz, French, bluegrass, Balkan, world folk and more. Whatever your taste, there will be something for you in Bath between Saturday 11th – Sunday 19th August 2018.

Festival website:

More details of Summer School events

Venue: Bath Studio School, Frome Rd, Bath BA2 5RF

Cost: Adults: £170 for 5 days of tuition (10-4pm)

Children (under 16): £120 for 5 days of tuition (10am-4pm)

Classes in flute, Irish whistle, recorder, guitar, accordion, fiddle (aka violin), mandolin, tenor banjo, Irish dancing (soft shoe) and part-singing

Classes run each morning from 10am-1pm with a break for refreshments.

Additional (optional) afternoon mixed instrument ensemble class (only available for those participating in morning classes): 2-4pm (no charge)

This additional afternoon class offers students the opportunity to learn in a larger mixed instrument ensemble led by the world-renowned Shetland fiddler, Catriona MacDonald, who is also a leading tutor on the Newcastle University Folk Music degree course. The ensemble will then lead a mass busk in the centre of the city on Friday afternoon.

The Summer School is aimed at musicians of all ages and standards (age 8-80+) who want to develop their technique and learn new repertoire from outstanding tutors in a non-threatening and relaxed environment. The focus is on enjoying music and learning together in small supportive groups. This is not a course for people who have never played their instrument before, but beginners, intermediate and advanced players are all welcome.  An ability to play by ear is a definite advantage and it is a good idea to bring some kind of recording device e.g. a mobile phone to keep track of new tunes learnt.

Quote from Rachel Barrett (summer school coordinator)

“The summer school offers such an amazing opportunity- over 50 musicians, young and old, all at different stages in their musical journey, supporting and encouraging each other whilst learning from some of the best tutors in the business. All this, right on our very own doorstep. I can’t wait!”

“This year’s summer school promises to be the most exciting yet, with so many new classes on offer.  You can come with your family and learn together or come on your own and make new friends. Either way it is a fantastic chance to enjoy your music-making and develop your skills.”

Cara Dillon & Sam Lakeman headline ‘Folk Day’ at Stogumber Festival

Stogumber Festival7th – 9th September 2018

Stogumber Festival has announced that 4 excellent gigs will feature on ‘Folk Day’, Saturday 8th September, which is a major element of this year’s event. Headlining the day will be the outstanding Cara Dillon, a 2018 BBC Folk Singer of the Year nominee, who will perform with along with her husband Sam Lakeman. Other sessions will be by indie-folk band Velvet & Stone whose songs combine haunting soundscapes with catchy pop hooks to give beautiful take on the traditional genre; Kate Griffin & Ford Collier, a duo who explore contemporary folk with influences ranging from Celtic to Bluegrass; and Gathering Tides, a band which weaves together folk, jazz, rock and more to provide a unique experience.

Set between Exmoor and the Quantock Hills, this pretty West Somerset village provides an intimate environment in which to enjoy superb live music.

Full information and tickets from

William Andrew’s fiddle to play again at Wren Dartmoor Fiddle Day

Nick Wyke plays William Andrew's fiddle
Nick Wyke plays William Andrew’s fiddle

The violin used by a 19th century musician who became known as The Dartmoor Fiddler is playing his tunes again – and it’s all set for a star turn at the Wren Dartmoor Fiddle Day.

William Andrew’s fiddle was recently restored after his great granddaughter realised its significance and took it into an Exeter violin shop to be dated and repaired. It will be making a ‘guest appearance’ at the Dartmoor Fiddle Day, which fittingly this year, is entirely in William Andrew’s honour. Organised by Devon-based music and education charity Wren Music, it’s a day of workshops exploring the tunes of William Andrew, with tutors Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll.

In the morning, there are sessions for improvers and more experienced players, while the afternoon includes a “Dartmoor Folk Orchestra” for players of all abilities as well as other acoustic instruments. The day is being held at Fairplace United Church in Okehampton on Saturday 23 June and ties in with the Dartmoor Resonance Festival taking place at the same time.

William Andrew would be amazed if he came back today and discovered his musical legacy.  He was a humble farmer from Hellingtown at Sheepstor, yet, unbeknown to him, he was to play a prominent role in the preservation of centuries-old folk music.

He would play old dance tunes at local inns and special occasions – and in 1892, the famous song collector Sabine Baring-Gould visited him as part of his quest to collect traditional songs of the South West. William played to the visitor for two hours and loaned him one of his manuscript tune books to copy.

Becki said: “There aren’t that many collections of tunes from the South West, so it’s nice to give the ones we do have a platform. In fact, it was unusual for Baring-Gould to collect tunes because he usually collected songs. If he hadn’t visited William Andrew that day, we probably wouldn’t know about a lot of these tunes.”

Nick recorded several of them with William’s violin at Devon Strings Workshop in Exeter, after shop owners Jon and Becky Springall rang to tell him about the discovery. Also at the shop to listen to the live recording session was William Andrew’s great granddaughter Jillian Elford and her husband Roger: “It’s wonderful to hear the violin being played again and to hear those tunes that my great grandfather played on it,” said Jillian, from South Brent in South Devon.

Up to a few years ago, Jillian and her family had been unaware of their ancestor’s reputation as The Dartmoor Fiddler. They’d often seen William Andrew’s grave in Sheepstor Churchyard, with its stone stating that he’d died in 1895 aged 82 years, but nothing about him being a musician.

They only realised when their daughter Lucy, who lives in America, started on a family history project and discovered The William Andrew Tune Book which was published by Wren in 1999.  They were in no doubt it was ‘their’ William Andrew because Hellingtown Farm had belonged to the family for generations.

They were also unaware of the period and significance of the violin until last year.  It had always been in Jillian’s house, but it wasn’t until they brought it down from the attic and spotted the inscription inside, that they realised it was a Maggini-style violin made in the 19th century.

Suspecting it could be William Andrew’s fiddle, they sought expert advice. Jon’s verdict?

“Having studied it, I think it is quite likely to be the violin that William Andrew played. The fiddle is inspired by Giovanni Paolo Maggini, an Italian violin maker who lived between about 1580 and 1630. It’s not an original Maggini. If it was, it would be worth a lot of money!

“But it’s a decent quality instrument, the sort of quality that a good amateur fiddle player would use and it was a very popular model in the mid to late 1800s. It probably hit the peak of its popularity in about 1860. So the dates certainly tie in.”

Once Jon and Becky had given the fiddle a new end pin and strings and had re-haired the bow, it was ready to be played once again – and Nick was more than happy to do the honours:

“It’s got a really nice sound to it”, said Nick. “But the most interesting thing is the bow. It’s light and fizzy, which would have been great for all the dances he played”.

Nick recorded a selection of hornpipe and dance tunes from William’s repertoire, including Old Adam the Poacher, The Imperial Quickstep, Moll in the Wad and Trip to the Cottage.

“We know ‘Trip To The Cottage is one of the tunes also collected by the novelist Thomas Hardy”, said Nick. “Hardy collected loads of traditional tunes, and he lived not very far away in Dorset so the tunes would have been learned and moved on, perhaps by farm workers or travelling musicians”.

Prices for participating at the Wren Dartmoor Fiddle Day are £30 (£20 for under-18s) for the full day, or £15 (£10 for under-18s) for the morning (10am-1pm) or afternoon (2pm-5pm) workshops. For more information, email Becki at or telephone 01837 53754. Advance booking is essential and can be done online at

Wren now hope to update and re-issue The William Andrew Tune Book, which has the sheet music of 30 of the collected tunes.

Nick Wyke plays ‘Lord Nelsons Hornpipe’:

Folkeast announces its first guests for 2018


Growing in stature every year, East Anglia’s fast-rising FolkEast is back for the seventh time this August, proving why it is nothing like other music festivals. The three day festival will return to the glorious 300-acre Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall, the home of Major Philip Hope-Cobbold, between August 17-19.

And it will be packing a punch with probably its most impressive line-up to date led by two of the most enduring and legendary bands from the genre – Oysterband and Show of Hands who have an incredible eight BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards between them.

Oysterband, who will headline the Friday night, have been on the road with their high impact folk rock show for over 40 years, led by frontman John Jones, whilst Steve Knightley and Phil Beer of Show of Hands last year celebrated their 25th year with a fifth sell-out at the Royal Albert Hall. At FolkEast they will take to the Sunset stage as Saturday headliners, joined by their long-term third member – the acclaimed bassist and vocalist Miranda Sykes.

There will be a Scottish valedictory on Sunday night with Glasgow’s power trio The John Langan Band topping the bill. Award winners at the famous Celtic Connections Festival their music is rooted in Celtic folk but weaves in fascinating Balkan, Roma and flamenco threads.

One of the most exciting names in the line-up will be the phenomenal guitar and melodeon player Tim Edey, up for the coveted Musician of the Year title at next month’s 2018 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – a title he has already won, back in 2012.

“Tim Edey is brilliant – in every which way. As a guitarist he has few peers. As a box player he’s a magician. As a character he’s off the scale – Colin Irwin, fRoots

“Utterly fantastic. Sheer, wonderful ebullient music” – Mike Harding

“Tim Edey plays a host of different instruments to a standard us mere mortals can only dream of. Listen and weep”– The Living Tradition

FolkEast is also delighted to welcome the Irish-Canadian award-winning songwriter and force of nature that is Irish Mythen. County Wexford-born but now living in Canada’s Prince Edward Island she may be diminutive in stature but is one of the most fearless and powerful performers out there and has appeared with both Rod Stewart and Gordon Lightfoot.

The five brothers of Co Durham’s big noise acapella singers The Wilsons and the triple talents of master musicians John McCusker, Mike McGoldrick and John Doyle will also be making their mark and the Gigspanner Big Band will see Peter Knight’s celebrated Gigspanner trio joined by Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, nominated for Best Duo for the third time at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (having won it in 2014).

FolkEast’s irrepressible patrons The Young’ uns (Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes), popular winners of the 2016 and 2015 Best Group title at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – and nominated for Best Album (Strangers) and Best Original Song (Be The Man) this year promise another action-packed live podcast – one of the funniest, most enthralling highlights of last year’s festival.

Other confirmed artists include harmonica and melodeon wizard Will Pound, this time with his unique Through The Seasons Morris and folk dance show (with music performed by Pound, Benji Kirkpatrick and Ross Grant), ex Bellowhead cellist Rachael McShane with her new band The Cartographers and top young duo Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, twice winners at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and still only 24 and 22.

Texas-raised Londoner Rodney Branigan is bound to draw a crowd with his riveting songs and uncanny ability to play two guitars at once while other performers will include Somerset singer songwriter Reg Meuross, Wild Willy Barrett’s French Connection, The Magnificent AK47, Luke Daniels & His Amazing Polyphon, Winter Wilson and Norwich-based Alden Patterson and Dashwood.

One of the most singular events on the UK festival calendar, FolkEast was launched six years ago by husband and wife John and Becky Marshall-Potter.

Rekindling the ancient Eastfolk moots on the Glemham Hall estate where for three days a year the folk from the East would meet kith and kin at harvest time for “a bit of a do”, this gathering has Suffolk running through it like letters in a stick of rock – from its locally sourced fare in The Imagined Suffolk Food Village to its suppliers, arts and crafts. This year festivalgoers will be able to see the Sae Wylfing – a half size replica of the famous Sutton Hoo Anglo Saxon ship discovered in 1939 near Woodbridge in Suffolk – an undisturbed ship burial considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever.

“Rather like a cross between Cambridge Folk Festival and a very large village fete – it feels like something that has been there since the Middle Ages. The mythical, magical land of the Eastfolk has materialised here in Suffolk’s big sky heartland” – Folkcast

The festival , with its mythical creature emblem The Jackalope, offers a refreshingly different line-up across six stages (including St Andrew’s Church, the open air Sunset Stage and the hidden woodland Soapbox Stage), with two authentic ‘village’ pubs serving competitively –priced festival ales plus possibly the smallest pub in the UK, The Halfway Inn.

Then there’s the FolkEast Art Arcade, packed dance programme, archery, donkey rides, a mini golf course, children’s activities (including den building, storybook making and a mud kitchen), yoga, poetry, storytelling, the Eastfolk Chronicle Kinedrome (showing folk and local interest films) and tours of Glemham Hall by Major Philip Cobbold.

On board again this year as a media partner will be BBC Radio Suffolk.

Early Bird tickets for the festival are now sold out. Advance weekend tickets are available price £120 (adult), £108 (full time students, senior citizens) and £80 for Youth tickets (12-17 year old) which must be purchased with an adult ticket. Family weekend tickets for two adults and two 12-17 year olds are £360. A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping is £15 per tent with a £25 charge for campervans and caravans.

Located close to the A12, the festival will also be running shuttle buses to the site from Wickham Market station. More performers and a launch event will be announced soon.

Festival website:

Underneath The Stars presents its full line-up

Underneath The StarsSouth Yorkshire’s stellar music & arts festival Underneath The Stars returns this summer with another exciting line-up of established and emerging talent across the folk, jazz, roots, bluegrass, fusion and Americana music worlds, as well as the promise of enticing workshops, arts, crafts and food stalls, highlighting the creative talents of the Yorkshire region. Organised by the family production team of acclaimed Yorkshire folk singer-songwriter Kate Rusby, and now in its fifth year, 2018’s edition also sees its relocation to a brand-new site at Cinderhill Farm, Cawthorne, near Barnsley, and promises a warm welcome to this beautiful and cozy little corner of rural Yorkshire.

The line-up in full is as follows:

Steve Earle & The Dukes / Kate Rusby /
George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain / Lau /
Joanne Harris and the Storytime Band / The California Feetwarmers / Yves Lambert Trio / Damien O’Kane & Ron Block / Grace Petrie /
Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards / Melrose Quartet /
The Adventures of Andy Kershaw / Fat Suit / Honeyfeet / Estbel /
John Metcalfe / Midnight Skyracer / Amythyst Kiah / Jack Rutter /
Lori Watson / Kizzy Crawford / Jack Harris /
Howlin’ Ric & The Rocketeers / Stables / Pitou /    Hearts at War /Barnsley Youth Choir / L-R

Continue reading Underneath The Stars presents its full line-up

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:

‘God Only Knows’ – live: