Over four thousand visitors are set to visit Southwell over the long, hopefully hot, weekend of the 12th Gate To Southwell Festival (June 7th to 10th). With international-quality headline artists, great family and children’s entertainment, traditional dancing and ceilidhs, fine food beer and cider tents and a craft fair, the East Midlands’ premier acoustic roots and country music event should bring a welcome summer economic boost to the beautiful Nottinghamshire market town and its locality.
Rated as “an excellent festival” by R&R magazine and “a little gem” by Spiral Earth, the party starts on Thursday (June 7th) with a special Blues Legends Night featuring Britain’s top R&B band Nine Below Zero and one of the original surviving bluesmen, The Lil’ Jimmy Reed Band from Louisiana, USA. They’ll be supported by Canadian hillbillies Ol’ Savannah, San Franciscan rock & roller Joshua Cook, young British folk blues guitarist Sunjay, Derbyshire’s Rogue Embers and many other acts.
Friday night’s headliners are Geordie folk rock royalty Lindisfarne, of ‘Meet Me On The Corner’, ‘Fog On The Tyne’ and ‘Run For Home’ fame. Also on the bill there’s highly-acclaimed Scottish performer Blue Rose Code, the megafolk of Birmingham’s Destroyers, the Celtic-dance-meets-jazz-funk of Dallahan, traditional American singer-storyteller Jeff Warner and much more.
Saturday (9th) sees the first visit to Southwell by the great Nashville singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters. Having written for everyone from Neil Diamond and Etta James to Bryan Adams and Shania Twain, her new album Dancing With The Beast has just gone straight to the top of the UK Country Music charts. A powerful and emotional performer, Gretchen’s supported by returning Southwell favourites such as BBC award-winning folkies The Young’Uns, Danish roots stars Habadekuk and acclaimed duo Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar plus 2017 BBC Group Of The Year The Furrow Collective, celebrated Canadian fiddling and dancing family The Fitzgeralds and Hurricane Katrina-survivors Truckstop Honeymoon, bringing their blend of punk, bluegrass, jazz and soul all the way from New Orleans.
Closing the festival on Sunday night (10th) there’s one of Ireland’s best voices, Cara Dillon, with some special guests. Also on Sunday’s bill there’s Devon guitarist and singer-songwriter John Smith, recent BBC Folk Singer Of The Year Kris Drever, former Fairport and Fotheringay singer Vikki Clayton and many more fine artists such as the Luke Jackson Trio, Mongoose and The Outside Track.
Festival director Mike Kirrage said: “in my opinion this year is the best line-up we’ve ever had. People are realising it is not just a folk music festival, it goes much further than that.”
With over fifty artists on five stages across four days, Gate To Southwell 2018 looks set to be the best yet. There’ll be the traditional colourful procession of twenty UK morris dance sides through Southwell, from 1100 on the morning of Saturday 9th, followed by pub sessions and family entertainment at the festival site. Entertainers include lovable juggler and stuntman Dan The Hat, rock & rollers Johnny & The Raindrops, the storytelling of Mark Fraser and the interactive comedy songs of Keith Donnelly. Plus Jan’s Van, Toddlebops, White Post Farm animals, crafts and musical workshops.
Only fifteen minutes by car or bus from the A1 near Newark, and with excellent rail connections from both Nottingham and Newark to Fiskerton and Rolleston stations (short walks to the festival), there’ll also be subsidised buses from the centre of town to the site beside Southwell Racecourse.
For full details of all artists, daily events and tickets please visit www.gtsf.uk Great value Teaser Tickets, for a taste of the festival, are available from Burleys in Southwell and The Final Whistle and Hearty Goodfellow pubs.