Derby Folk Festival announces its final line-up

Derby Folk Festival

The 11th Derby Folk Festival takes place from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 October 2017 and is jointly produced by Derby City Council’s Derby LIVE and Derbyshire-based PR Promotions.

This year Derby LIVE are proud to welcome a wide variety of performers, including the multi-award-winning Friday headline act, Oysterband, who will be appearing at Derby Folk Festival as part of their 40th Celebration Special. They will perform in the City Marquee, on the Market Place at 9.30pm on Friday 6 October as part of a concert starting at 7 pm, also featuring The Hut People and Martin Simpson.

Oysterband still play with that spirit of the punk ceilidh band that roared through people’s lives all those years ago. But the growing depth and sensitivity of their songwriting, coupled with the strength of John Jones’ voice and their remarkable musicianship, have lifted their music into a richer, more acoustic era. Their occasional collaboration with folk diva June Tabor has produced two cult-classic award-winning albums, Freedom & Rain and Ragged Kingdom. The latter and their hugely influential album Holy Bandits were voted nos. 4 and 5 among the Ten Best Albums of the last 30 years by the public in a poll by fRoots Magazine in 2016.

False Lights

This year’s festival line-up is already a who’s who from the broad spectrum of folk music, with many exciting artists confirmed for a variety of venues in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. Show of Hands will return, three years after their last amazing appearance in the festival marquee, to headline Saturday evening. Folk rock group, False Lights will also perform their vibrant headline set on Sunday evening from 6pm-8.30pm in the City Marquee, closing the festival with folk music you can really jump to.

From 2.45 pm-4.15 pm, on Saturday 7 October, Derbyshire’s own Barry Coope and Lester Simpson will be on stage with Jim Boyes as Coope Boyes and Simpson in the City Marquee. Joined by special guests, they will be giving their ‘Last Ever Performance’ in a show that is sure to invoke both tears and laughter from the audience. Formed in 1993 their first album Funny Old World was named Roots Album of the Year by Q Magazine. Twenty three years later, with a career that has encompassed at least a dozen albums, numerous tours and festival appearances, as well as a Folk Awards nomination, Coope Boyes and Simpson released what will be their final studio album, Coda. Their last ever performance will mark a celebration of their career and will feature material from across their entire repertoire.

Getting the festival started from 7 pm on Friday night, with a quirky celebration of our rich musical heritage are The Hut People. This English instrumental duo (Sam Pirt and Gary Hammond) have firmly established themselves as one of the most unique, entertaining and best-loved acts on the UK folk scene today.

Also appearing in the City Marquee on Sunday from 11.30am are multi-instrumentalists Narthen (Barry Coope, Lester Simpson, Jo Freya and Fi Fraser) who will be playing and singing often in four part harmony, a capella and accompanied, demonstrating they are all extremely talented, and well-loved. From 2pm-4.15pm, introduced by festival patron, John Tams, popular solo folk artist Bob Fox will be performing the songs from War Horse. This will be followed by Leveret, which features three of England’s finest folk musicians in an exciting new collaboration. Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron are each regarded as masters of their instrument and together their performances combine consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity.

Derby LIVE are delighted to announce that Derby born folk singer and songwriter Dave Sudbury, will also be performing during this year’s Festival. Dave is possibly best known for his song The King of Rome (a true story about a racing pigeon, bred in the West End of Derby) which was brought to the attention of an international audience by folk singer June Tabor and her own recording of the song. Dave will be joining the Village Folk Clubrooms line-up, which already includes award-winning folk and roots musicians, Oka Vanga, and is curated by the team who organise Village Folk concerts in the Lawns Hotel, Chellaston.

Derby Cathedral will be hosting two concerts entitled Folk Reflections by virtuoso ensemble, Sinfonia Viva who will return to bring a different angle to the festival programme. The Orchestra of the East Midlands will be performing on Friday 6 October at 5.45 pm-6.45 pm and 7.30 pm-8.30 pm. One of the longest running folk groups, Travelling People will be performing a wide variety of music from traditional to contemporary on Saturday 7 October from 12.30 pm-2.30 pm at Derby Cathedral. One of the trio, Dave Perkins was Canon Precentor of Derby Cathedral for four years from 2009, so it will be great to see him back there, joined by his musical partners Pete and Richard Stevenson. Also appearing on Saturday at Derby Cathedral will be Marc Block, a Nottingham-based folk singer and songwriter, who’s just released his new CD, Brisk & Breezy.

Derby Folk Festival will also be featuring new talent, Robyn Wallis Johnson at the Clubrooms on Saturday 7 October from 1pm-2.20pm. She will be performing a selection of self-penned songs in her own unique style, more often than not, reflecting on the ups and downs of human existence. On Sunday 8 October fiddle-singers The Rheingans Sisters will perform alongside Bob Fox from 4.15pm-6pm at the Guildhall Theatre. Rowan and Anna grew up in the Peak District, surrounded by traditional music and were encouraged to pick up the fiddle by their violin-maker father from an early age. Their debut album, Glad Gold Hearts, was released in June 2013 to wide critical acclaim and they have been described as having “vocal harmonies to die for” by fRoots who pronounced their first album as “a subtle gem”.

A fantastic set of venues throughout the Cathedral Quarter will continue to provide the perfect backdrop for the festival, including the enlightenment era Derby Cathedral, the rustic Old Bell Hotel, the City Marquee on the Market Place and the Guildhall Theatre. The festival will also include a host of free fringe events, dance acts, workshops and sessions, as well as an Arts and Craft Fair and food stalls on the Market Place. These free events will be taking place in Derby City Centre, spreading the festival’s intoxicating atmosphere throughout the city and making sure the festival is available to everyone.

For the last few years, Friday night in the Guildhall Theatre has been taken over by Adverse Camber from Cromford in Derbyshire and one of their great storytelling productions. This year is no exception; the festival will be showcasing Dreaming the Night Field: A Legend of Wales – weaving live music with Welsh and English to create a thrilling, funny, powerful and poetic show. This spellbinding new storytelling and music performance will take place on 6 October from 7.30 pm-9.10 pm. Tickets are available as a stand-alone show for £12 from the Derby LIVE Box Office on 01332 255800 or online at they can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, on the Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH.

With the whole festival programme taking place in and around the city, it is perfectly placed for those arriving by either bus or train. Weekend tickets are on sale now at £88, and Friday Evening Tickets are priced at £24 for adults. Concessions are available. Festival tickets can be purchased through the Derby LIVE Box Office on 01332 255800 or online at they can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, on the Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH.

Find out more at where you can download a copy of the festival flyer and keep up to date with the latest news on twitter and facebook.

A full list of confirmed acts can be found on the Derby LIVE website along with details about the artists and full programme on the Derby Folk Festival website.

Festival attenders can find the latest accommodation information at where a range of hotels are available for all budgets and group sizes.

Kate Rusby releases New Album ‘20’ to Mark 20 Years of Music Making


The Barnsley nightingale Kate Rusby has released a new album to celebrate 20 years of making music. Entitled ‘20’ the album features new recordings of Kate’s favourite songs from throughout her illustrious career. Continue reading Kate Rusby releases New Album ‘20’ to Mark 20 Years of Music Making

Butlins’ 2011 Great British Folk Festival – Review by Peterborough & South Lincs Folk Diary…

You have to admit that, when you take the money into account, Butlins’ 2011 Great British Folk Festival was good value. We enjoyed Bob Fox, Steve Tilston, P. J. Wright, Dave PeggAnthony John Clarke, Chumbawamba, Jane Taylor, Seth Lakeman & Richard Digance particularly, and probably Ralph McTell had we not been elsewhere. You can’t see everything, and switching venues may mean no seat at the 2nd one, big though the venues were. We thought that Matthews Southern Comfort, with his constant harping on about his hit in 1970 (we’d never heard of him) was a pain and that Steve Gibbons (apparently drunk or stoned, forgetting words) was a disgrace. Several rock bands bands had no apparent connection to folk (one had a bloke play a mandolin on one number – does that count?).  Continue reading Butlins’ 2011 Great British Folk Festival – Review by Peterborough & South Lincs Folk Diary…

BOB FOX – Dorking Folk Club, Dorking (08.06.11)

The nice thing about arriving at Dorking Folk Club is that you are automatically made welcome by host and organiser Neil McRitchie and the friendly regulars. The new setting (a slightly smaller room due to the old one becoming too expensive) suits the club and the convivial surroundings lend well to the more intimate ‘acoustic’ setting. Starting with a floorspot from Terry (I’m afraid I didn’t catch his second name) who crooned his way…very well too…and much appreciated by the audience… Continue reading BOB FOX – Dorking Folk Club, Dorking (08.06.11)

BILLY MITCHELL & BOB FOX – Back On City Road (Own Label)

What is it about Billy Mitchell and Bob Fox that makes you wish everyone in the world were a Geordie? On the strength of this striking album it’s the feeling of camaraderie that is inherent in each song and the obvious good-humour that runs like a seam of ‘black diamonds’ throughout the recording. Starting with “The Shoemakker” (surely a spelling mistook) followed by “The Pitman And The Blackin’” from their region of God’s own country it establishes the duo’s credentials for the traditional personality inherent from their North-East up bringing. In keeping with the locality, the inclusion of Mark Knopfler’s far from cheesy “Sailing To Philadelphia” and the anthemic “Why Aye Man” (the theme from Auf Widersen Pet) are prime examples of being proud enough to wear your heritage firmly on your sleeve. As part of their established sound Billy more often than not utilises his trusty Guild 12-string guitar adding a resonant ringing depth in much the same way Celtic bands use Bouzouki. It’s a glorious sound enhanced by the mandolin and guitar interplay on the only tune set “Off To Kefalonia/Spanish Misfortune” complete with minor key ending so reminiscent of a performance by the much missed Jack The Lad. Personally speaking my CD collection would be incomplete without the performances of these two guys and a damn sight less colourful. For those of us that have had the pleasure of listening to Bob and Bill over the years this album will prove a must purchase item. Here’s to the next one! Contact or PETE FYFE

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Three Score & Ten (Topic Records)

What makes a good CD box-set great? When it comes as beautifully packaged as this 70th Anniversary Topic Records collection. The wow factor comes from the moment you first open the book that includes seven…yes, seven…CDs highlighting arguably the best British folk record label ever. Although I was aware of the label for some years previously (put off mainly by the cheap look of the album sleeves) I was first properly introduced to the company when I visited the Free Reed record shop in Camden in 1977. At the time I was (and still am) heavily into Celtic music but on talking to Doug who was running the shop at the time it was suggested I should try some of the Topic catalogue. Of course I wasn’t disappointed and eagerly clutching June Tabor’s “Airs & Graces”, Martin Carthy’s “Crown Of Horn” and Dick Gaughan’s “Coppers & Brass” headed home with a grin as broad as the proverbial Cheshire cat. I also remember thinking that English music was at last now as well represented as the Celtic based American record label Green Linnet. The record sleeves by this time were far better represented by Tony Engle’s excellent photography superseding the bland two colour efforts originally utilised by the company and certainly provided a far classier look that heralded the albums enclosed. The history of Topic Records is well documented by Tony Engle and David Suff in the 108 page book that accompanies the CDs from it’s humble beginnings representing the Workers’ Music Association to it’s current status as the longest surviving independent record label in the world and who would blame them for blowing their own trumpet at such an achievement? A sense of nostalgia will wash over those of you of a certain age as you cast an eye over the list of who’s who of the British tradition and Revival with 144 tracks providing but a snippet of the many albums that the company has produced over the years. Artists the calibre of Ewan MacColl, A L Lloyd, Pete Seeger and longest serving associates The Watersons to more recent recruits including Eliza Carthy, Tim Van Eyken, Martin Simpson and Bob Fox have all graced the label with their sparkling performances and, as the saying goes, it makes you proud to be British! PETE FYFE