Ilfracombe Folk Festival announces its 2017 line-up

Ilfracombe 2017

Solid Entertainments is delighted to announce that Ilfracombe Folk, Roots & World Music Festival will be returning to Ilfracombe Holiday Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 20th, 21st, 22nd October!

Following the great success of last years music festival, even though this years a different genre, the line-up had to equally………if not more striking.  So with two blockbusting headliners Fairport Convention and Lindisfarne plus fifteen very different beguiling acts, a final headline act to be announced very soon; this will most definitely be one of North Devon’s finest festivals in 2017 and certainly a weekend not to miss!

Based in suburban north London, Fairport Convention played their first concert in a church hall in May 1967 and half a century later, they are in fine form and are still one of the busiest bands around.  In 2002, they won the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and the seminal album Liege And Lief was voted ‘Best Folk Album Ever’ by Radio 2 listeners.  In Summer 2006, Liege And Lief was awarded a Gold Disc for its continuing sales.  In August last year, the band staged Fairport’s Cropredy Convention music festival in Oxfordshire and in most years, there are tours in the USA, Canada and UK by the Fairport Acoustic line-up and the spin-off band The Dylan Project.  The current line-up of Simon Nicol (lead vocal, rhythm and electric guitars), Dave Pegg (backing vocals, bass guitar, mandolin), Ric Sanders (violin), Chris Leslie (lead vocal, fiddle, bouzouki, mandolin) and Gerry Conway (percussion and drums) is still packing venues wherever they play!

Lindisfarne, the unforgettable 70s folk-rock pioneers return to form with a classic six-piece line up of long-time members, fronted by original founder-member Rod Clements on vocals, mandolin, fiddle, guitars; Dave Hull-Denholm, vocal, guitars; Steve Daggett, vocal, keyboards, guitars; Charlie Harcourt, guitar, vocal; Ian Thomson, bass, vocal and Paul Thompson (ex-Roxy Music) drums.  With a repertoire of incredible songs like ‘Meet Me On The Corner’, ‘Fog On The Tyne’, ‘Lady Eleanor’ and ‘Run For Home’ and a reputation for live performance second to none, Lindisfarne’s power to galvanise festival and concert audiences remains undimmed and is guaranteed to get the crowd on its feet and singing along

The line-up comprises:

Friday – Papillon – Folklaw – Galley Beggar – Emi McDade – Kezia

Saturday – Lindisfarne – Gilmore & Roberts – Said The Maiden – Mia And The Moon – Crumbling Ghost – Alice Gullick

Sunday – Fairport Convention – Willie & The Bandits – Richard Digance – Linda Em – Luke Daniels – The Broadside Boys

When artists of this calibre get together, festival goers can expect to see top class live performances and hear a range of incredible sounds, with sets that incorporate a creative mix of original new material and a few classic numbers that many will remember.  Keep an eye out for the announcement on who will be headlining on Friday!

Situated in a beautiful part of the country, the holiday park has been extensively refurbished by the new owners and with fully furnished apartments, ranging from one bedroom to as large as three bedrooms and a range of other great facilities; there is everything needed under one roof.  Facilities include:

Two Heated Indoor Pools – Sauna – Fully Equipped Gym – Indian Cuisine & Takeaway – Free WiFi in the Clubhouse – Launderette – Bar Meals – Store On Site – Restaurant & Takeaway

With accommodation for the weekend being just a short walk away from the music you won’t need to worry about booking that taxi to take you home or to a hotel at the end of each night.  Also – car parking is free for the weekend – so you don’t have to worry about where you leave your car.  So whether you’re local to North Devon, travelling from the other side of the country or overseas to be with us, you’ll only have to focus on the music and enjoying yourself.  No need to search for food and drinks on the day either, there will be a range of alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, real ales available and a varied menu that should meet everyone’s taste.

If you fancy a stroll into Ilfracombe, to maybe see world renowned artist Damien Hirst’s Verity sculpture in the picturesque port – you’re situated only minutes away.  Alternatively, if you want to chill out (literally), why not have a wander on one of the many fine and award winning beaches in and around the area, with secluded coves and wide stretches of golden sand and crashing surf.

The festival will take place in North Devon’s largest entertainment venue at Ilfracombe Holiday Park, Marlborough Road, Ilfracombe, Devon EX34 8PF

Early Bird Ticket are only £119 per person – includes 3 nights self catering accommodation (Based on 2/3/4 Sharing)

Early Bird Ticket (Single Occupancy) are only £145 – includes 3 nights self catering accommodation

Day Tickets are only £25 per person

Tickets can be purchased by calling 01472 349 222 or online at

Festival website:

GALLEY BEGGAR – Heathen Hymns (Rise Above Records RISECD208)

Heathen HymnsI have opined before that Galley Beggar’s albums, though excellent in themselves, never quite reflect the live feel of the band. The last album Silence And Tears went some way to redressing this imbalance, but their latest offering, Heathen Hymns, is much more in line with their live performances.

The opener ‘Salome’ is seasoned with eastern spice and is taste of the new direction that Galley Beggar is taking. A progressive rock feel with hints of early Pink Floyd in the mix. The mood and drive continues much in the same vein for ‘Four Birds’.

Back to their traditional folk roots for ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’, though the latter stages of the track has power building as it soars ever skywards before returning to its folk foundation. The middle section of the album is firmly in folk-land. Good tracks all, my favourite being the violin driven ‘Moon And Tide’ and Maria O’Donnell’s pure voice is admirably suited to this style of music.

The penultimate track is my personal pick of the crop. A traditional folk tale given the Galley Beggar prog rock treatment.  Cascading guitar echoing into the stratosphere, inducing flashbacks of psychedelia to this enthralled listener.

The album ends with ‘My Return’ which, in places, has a very similar feel to ‘Salome’. Tasty violin on the bridge of this track and, once again, there is that underpinning of power lurking beneath.

Overall an excellent addition to Galley Beggar’s discography and one I can heartily recommend. If this is your first taste of Galley Beggar, it should leave you wanting more.

Ron D Bowes

If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the GALLEY BEGGAR – Heathen Hymns link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.



Artists’ website:

‘Moon And Tide’ – official video:


Trembling Bells

Galley Beggar were about to premiere some of their new album, Silence & Tears, in front of a live audience and they were … not nervous but a little apprehensive about the reception the new material would receive. Of course, they had no need to worry.

They began with a couple of old favourites: ‘The Outlandish Knight’ and ‘Willow Tree’ before the most typical of the new material, ‘Geordie’ with a stunning solo from David Ellis. ‘Empty Sky’ followed ‘Adam And Eve’ then came ‘Pay My Body Home’, the song from the album that is destined for live greatness and which allowed David into guitar heaven. They closed with ‘Jack O’Rion’, a big ballad compressed into a few minutes’ story-telling – the perfect ending to the set.

Sadly, Celine Marshall was unavailable but her dep, Emma Scarr, did a solid job although possibly without the freedom of expression that Celine might have had. It was still a fine set and one that would have appealed equally to the dedicated fans as well as the merely curious.

Galley Beggar Photograph by Ester Segarra

Trembling Bells also have a new album, The Sovereign Self, and a new guitarist, Alasdair C Mitchell, but it is still Mike Hastings, a giant of a man who produces a big sound from his Burns guitar who dominates the stage almost as much as Lavinia Blackwall. Actually, Mitchell is more than just a guitarist, sometimes taking over from Lavinia on keyboards and adding another voice.

They started with three songs without a word of introduction, just great waves of sound washing over us and their albums are a bit like that; you have to attune your head to them. The guy behind me remarked that it was like San Francisco in 1968. I’ll take his word for it because I know I wasn’t there but I think I know what he means. I suspect that it’s more the way we remember the sixties to have been than the way they really were.

‘O, Where Is Saint George’, which begins with a fragment of the Padstow May Day song, is perhaps typical of Alex Neilson’s unique imagination moving from a traditional lyric to what sounds like stream of consciousness or cut-up – “Lou Read and Lauren Bacall defeated Asterix the Gaul” and I admit that I looked that up afterwards. ‘Bells Of Burford’ feels like a traditional song written by Dennis Wheatley while melodically echoing ‘The Lyke Wake Dirge’ and was one of the highlights of the set.

There were more moments of weirdness with Alex’s solo turns at the microphone. One might have been called ‘My Girlfriend’s Got No Navel’ but I’m not sure I got that right. When they announced their final number it seemed like an awfully short set but they came back to finish with a spiky version of ‘The Auld Triangle’. Everyone went home very happy and a good many albums were bought – even by me.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner links below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

GALLEY BEGGAR – Silence and Tears (Rise Above Recordings RISECD189)

GalleyBeggar3I first encountered Galley Beggar at the Half-Moon, Putney, where they were playing support to Mike Heron and Trembling Bells. They were, quite simply, terrific; folk-rock played with gusto. At the time they were two albums to the good, but both albums, though very enjoyable, failed to capture the essence of Galley Beggar live. This, their third album, goes some way to redressing that.

Modern production values shy away from reverb going, instead, for a drier sound. A preference I have never understood. This album is mixed with reverb throughout, giving it a more live feel. The band seem to be playing more freely too, with a less studio-bound style.

The opener, ‘Adam and Eve’ is a good solid folk track and gives you a foretaste of what is to come. There are a couple of traditional folk songs, my favourite being ‘Geordie’, but the standout tracks for me are ‘Empty Sky’ and the wonderfully psychedelic ‘Pay My Body’.

Maria O’Donnell has a voice well suited for folk songs and she is backed by an accomplished group of musicians in Celine Marshall on violin, Bill Lynn on bass, Paul Dadswell, on drums and backing vocals and some stylish guitar-work by both David Ellis and Mat Fowler. Only eight tracks on the album, but every one a gem.

This album is closer in spirit to the Galley Beggar I saw, but still a gear or two lower than when the band are live. So, my advice is to buy this album and enjoy the sound of Galley Beggar, but if you ever get the opportunity to see band perform live – take it!

Ron D Bowes

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website:

It’s a couple of years ago but here’s a live version of ‘Jack Orion’ from Silence And Tears. Turn it up to eleven!

Dai Jeffries reviews GALLEY BEGGAR's latest release…

There have been major line-up changes since Galley Beggar released their debut album, Reformation House, a couple of years ago. Gone are lead vocalist Frances Tye, violinist Prasanthi Matharu and pianist and bassist Paul Murphy.

The intent remains the same. There’s still an attachment to the classic folk-rock of the seventies but without Frances’ recorders there is less nu-folk and a harder edge thanks, in part, to Maria O’Donnell’s vocals. The material is split between Continue reading Dai Jeffries reviews GALLEY BEGGAR's latest release…