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