Peter Knight and John Spiers return to FolkEast

Peter Knight and John Spiers

A unique collaboration between folk legends Peter Knight and John Spiers, seen for the first time at FolkEast 2016, will return to the fast-rising East Anglian festival this August.

The three day festival at the glorious 300-acre Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall witnessed the debut performance of the pair on the Broad Roots stage on opening night last year – an undisputed highlight of the event.

In its sixth year, FolkEast will be packing a punch with an eclectic line up of folk and world music acts including BBC award-winning headliners Jon Boden and Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees Nancy Kerr, Kris Drever and Dorset duo Ninebarrow and of course FolkEast’s irrepressible patrons The Young’uns.

New names announced include the mighty Martin Simpson, the ace guitarist and songwriter who skilfully melds British and American roots music and has been nominated an astounding 23 times in the Radio 2 Folk Awards as well as top traditional English folk singer Fay Hield, India Electric Co, Ben Savage & Hannah Sanders, popular Cambridge-based band The Willows, Basque folk music band Korrontzi and many more.

Peter Knight and John Spiers live at FolkEast 2016:

TICKETS: Advance weekend tickets are available price £115 (adult), £100 (full time students, senior citizens) and £70 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 £342. A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping is £12 per tent with a £24 charge for campervans and caravans.

Festival website: www.folkeast.co.uk

Oxford Folk Weekend announces headline names

Oxford Folk Weekend

Drum roll please… Oxford’s favourite community based, volunteer-run festival is gearing up for its sixth year in big style! Folk Weekend: Oxford has grown steadily every year since its inception in 2012, with increasing support and collaborations from local and national folk artists and performing groups. Known for the strong representation of Oxfordshire’s folk groups, young performers, and emerging acoustic talent, this community festival is a hidden gem in the annual festival calendar, with unique opportunities to see top quality performers in intimate and beautiful settings around Oxford city centre. All tickets are now on sale, including Weekend season tickets at £67 (£62 concessions), day season tickets starting at £30, and tickets for individual events.

We are very excited to welcome Nancy Kerr and James Fagan back to Folk Weekend as our 2017 headliners. Twice winners of ‘Best Duo’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, their outstanding musicianship, acclaimed original compositions and a visceral chemistry between the two make Kerr and Fagan a perennial favourite at festivals and folk clubs across the country.

Joining our headliners will be Leveret – an exciting new collaboration featuring three of England’s finest folk musicians, the amazing Melrose Quartet, Ange Hardy (celebrated by the Telegraph as ‘one of Britain’s top folk musicians) and the incomparable Jim Moray who has been at the forefront of a new movement in English traditional music.

Folk Weekend also boasts an all-star cast of supporting acts including patrons Jackie Oates (with Megan Henwood and Pete Thomas in their new acoustic roots and folk trio) and John Spiers, one of the leading squeezebox players of his generation. Other artists include Dan Walsh, Dipper Malkin, Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith, The Emily Askew Band and The Discussion Topic.

The cream of Oxfordshire’s folk and acoustic scene can be spotted throughout the festival with the likes of Coldharbour, Edward Pope, Irwing-Brown-Acty, Shivelight, White Horse Whisperers, The Skeptics and land-locked shanty crew (and self-proclaimed darlings of the Oxfordshire Women’s Institute) Short Drag Roger.

Folk Weekend Director Cat Kelly is delighted with the line up of the 2017 festival: “I’m exceptionally proud of the fantastic programme we have pulled together this year. Our headline artists are award-winning performers, and they will be ably supported by a host of superb acts, including (as always) a large number of fantastic local artists.”

Alongside this varied concert line-up, the festival promises ceilidhs, workshops, European-style dancing, Morris dance displays, and many free family events. Folk Weekend is proud to be paving the way in accessible and inclusive music-making, and is building on the previous two years which have seen ‘relaxed’ and inclusive performances for people who may normally feel excluded from the folk arts. The ‘Special Saturday’ events include a Makaton-signed performance of folk songs and a ceilidh for people with Special Needs.

“There’s a real shared sense of engagement and history that ran through the whole weekend.” – Daily Info

“Three days of diverse and beautiful folk music of the highest calibre, intertwined with traditional dancing (Ceilidh! Morris!), workshops, storytelling and a thriving village fete.” – Oxford City Guide

“Folk Weekend Oxford isn’t just a series of gigs, it’s a colonisation of the city centre. [It] doesn’t just become omnipresent, it does everything it can to pull the public towards it… This was the precise opposite of elitism: joyously and enthusiastically inclusive, throwing music and dance out across the city with as much energy as possible.” – Music in Oxford

Tickets are available now via the website; the full programme will be available to download in March.

Festival website: http://www.folkweekendoxford.co.uk/

Folk East 2017 announces first headline acts

Folk East 2017

Growing in stature every year, East Anglia’s fast-rising FolkEast is back for the sixth 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 18-20.

And it will be packing a punch with a plethora of BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winners and nominees including folk legend Jon Boden and Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys.

Jon Boden is one of the outstanding folk performers of his generation – having won 11 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, more than any other artist. This is a chance to see him striking out on his own after the Bellowhead juggernaut shuddered to a halt last year. One of his first solo festival performances, he will headline the main Sunset stage on Friday night in a genre-hopping set that promises to get FolkEast off to a buoyant start.

Winner of the Horizon (Best Emerging Act) award at the 2016 Folk Awards, East Anglian-born Sam Kelly will bring his Lost Boys band and unmistakable voice to the main stage on Saturday night, building on their success last year.

With a third headliner still to be announced, the line-up will also include acclaimed singer guitarist Michael Chapman, esteemed veteran duo Martin Carthy & John Kirkpatrick and another outstanding duo from the younger generation, Will Pound and Eddy Jay, who made waves with their debut album Ignite last year. Lau, three times winners of Best Group at the Folk Awards, have also been announced. The acclaimed trio comprises Martin Green, Aidan O’Rourke and Kris Drever, whose song ‘If Wishes Were Horses’ is nominated for Best Original Track at the 2017 Folk Awards.

Another duo making their first appearance at FolkEast will be Dorset’s Ninebarrow (Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere), their songwriting skills and perfect harmonies having won them a nomination for the 2017 Folk Awards Horizon Award (Best New Act).

Nominated in the same category is former Folk Singer of the Year Nancy Kerr, for her song ‘Fragile Water’ ; Nancy will be heading to FolkEast in the star-studded trio of Simpson, Cutting and Kerr.

Keeping the Irish flag flying will be the stand out Damien O’Kane Band. Coleraine-born Damien’s exciting modern spin on traditional Irish folk music saw his latest album Areas Of High Traffic nominated for Best Album at the 2016 Folk Awards.

Irish traditional folk band Beoga, also from Ulster, are also Suffolk-bound. The Antrim five piece is collaborating with Ed Sheeran on his upcoming album. They reportedly joined Sheeran at studios in Suffolk last June to record two trad folk tracks, one about Galway and one about Wexford, where Ed has strong family roots.

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 will be headlining the Broad Roots stage and promise another action-packed live podcast.

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

What the artists say about FolkEast

“One of my very favourite festivals”- great location, organisers, atmosphere and sound” – Eliza Carthy

“I love this festival” – Sam Carter

“FolkEast has become one of those amazing, unique festivals” – John Spiers

“FolkEast is something else – very special. A warm feeling just like a family” – O’Hooley & Tidow

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, its arts and crafts, its own newspaper The Eastfolk Chronicle and its Suffolk Punch horses.

“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 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), Suffolk food fare, two authentic ‘village’ pubs serving festival ales plus possibly the smallest pub in the UK, The Halfway Inn.

Then there’s the FolkEast Art Arcade, packed dance programme, donkey rides, children’s activities, yoga, poetry, storytelling, the Eastfolk Chronicle Kinedrome (showing folk and local interest films) and tours of Glemham Hall by Major Philip Cobbold.

“Yes it’s a music festival with folk music at its core but be careful how you interpret that – there’s a lot more going on besides music. FolkEast just feels right – in 10 years’ time I reckon you’ll wish you’d have been there from the start.” – Grapevine Magazine

Suffolk performers will include The Broadside Boys, John Ward Band and the duo Shorelark. The Soapbox Stage, curated by local promoter Amy Wragg will introduce up-and-coming musicians and poets from the region.

On board again this year as a media partner will be BBC Radio Suffolk. And this year’s event will see the return of one of the big successes – Instrumental, a festival within a festival. Bigger and better for 2017, it will bring together some of the country’s top instruments makers.

Jon Boden’s erstwhile duo partner and Bellowhead colleague John Spiers is also returning, not just as a performer, but as a green-fingered panellist in the Gardeners’ Question Time event, Gardeners Cornered!

Early Bird tickets for the festival are now sold out. Advance weekend tickets are available price £115(adult), £100 (full time students, senior citizens) and £70 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 £342. A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping is £12 per tent with a £24 charge for campervans and caravans.

Located close to the A12 (from where the famous FolkEast decorated tree can be seen), 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: www.folkeast.co.uk

BELLOWHEAD – Pandemonium (Navigator NAVIGATOR093)

BELLOWHEAD – Pandemonium (Navigator NAVIGATOR093)Even before the final farewell tour begins Pandemonium – The Essential Bellowhead hits the streets just in time for Christmas lists everywhere. The tracks were reportedly selected by the band themselves and cover the band’s career from E.P.Onymous to Revival.

Bellowhead didn’t launch themselves in a big way back in 2008. There was one gig, then another and rumours of more. I heard them in the early days in a venue that just couldn’t cope with their power – the brass mics were off but, even so, if you were on their side of the auditorium that’s what you heard. Jon Boden was brilliant – a quivering tower of energy, spitting out his lyrics, but no-one could honestly have predicted how big they would become.

Pandemonium is a real party album. It kicks off, quite literally, with ‘New York Girls’ (scheduled to be the next single), ’10,000 Miles Away’ and ‘Roll Alabama’ before throttling back a little with ‘Fakenham Fair’. It’s still a big song but the arrangement allows space for fiddle, melodeon and Pete Flood’s unique percussion to stand out with Paul Sartin’s oboe leading the playout. ‘Gosport Nancy’ picks up the pace again. ‘Betsy Baker’ is nearest they come to a gentle love song and ‘Let Her Run’, ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’ and ‘Yarmouth Town’ return to the nautical themes they so enjoy.

‘Prickle-Eye Bush’ comes from their first EP and is, to be honest, a song that I think is much overdone but Bellowhead do it well, as you’d expect, with funky melodeon from John Spiers. ‘Whiskey Is The Life Of Man’ is another relatively minor song while ‘Cold Blows The Wind’ eschews the usual mournful tone for a more anarchic style before ‘London Town’ wraps up the proceedings. And that’s it – until the lost recordings and the box set appear!

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the album, 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.

Artists’ website: www.bellowhead.co.uk

‘New York Girls’:

Bellowhead reveal video for new single ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’

Bellowhead Broadside Fresh from their victory as winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Album, 11-piece folk super-group Bellowhead reveal their new video for their already incredibly successful single, Roll The Woodpile Down. It’s no secret that Bellowhead are one of the best live bands around (as their 5 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Live Band will attest) and this brand new video showcases the band in their element – live at a sell-out show in Glasgow.

Roll The Woodpile Down is the second single to be taken from the band’s new, Top 20, album Broadside. Vocalist, and arranger, Jon Boden explains a little more about the track: Continue reading Bellowhead reveal video for new single ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’

Paul Johnson interviews Jon Boden from Bellowhead at the Broadside Album Launch…

On the 17th of October, Paul Johnson caught up with Jon Boden (from Bellowhead) at the Broadside album launch party in the aptly named “Water Rats” hostelry in old London town. The interview took place just outside the toilet… We can a-shore you that its all “above board” if you get our drift.  Unfortunately however, like the transcript of the interview, our old sea-dog, Paul “Johno” Johnson appears to be sinking at the very end leaving poor old Jon Bowden desperate to bail and the folkmaster with a long weight for the interview hence the posting delay Continue reading Paul Johnson interviews Jon Boden from Bellowhead at the Broadside Album Launch…