The New Forest Folk Festival (taking place 3rd to 7th July), now in it’s eighth year, has been growing at a steady pace and is often referred to as “the small and friendly folk festival with the big line-up”. This year is no exception with artists including The Oysterband, Ralph McTell, Ashley Hutchings Morris On Band, Gigspanner Big Band, 3 Daft Monkeys, Richard Digance, The Sandy Denny Project, Reg Meuross and Merry Hell to name but a few.
You should be hearing Paul Johnson’s festival introduction (if not click play below).
NFFF is situated in an idyllic farm location on the edge the New Forest. For many guests with tents and campers it is a holiday break with music rather than purely a music festival. It is a time to catch up with friends over a pint of real ale or a glass of Somerset cider along with delicious homemade food. Many of the artists now stay over for a few days to chat and network with their musician mates in a relaxed atmosphere. It has become a genuine gathering of the UK folk clan!
With the single stage at the bottom of a gentle slope where the public can get up close and enjoy a dance when motivated, The New Forest Folk Festival is often likened to Cropredy but on a smaller scale – indeed various members of Fairport Convention have performed on occasions both solo and with other groups. There is a wonderful cross-over where artists can be playing solo or with one band and then join another as a guest later on. These fantastic impromptu moments are loved by audience and artists alike.
Last year, 10cc’s drummer Paul Burgess played on the Friday in a trio then on Saturday when he came back to pick up his drum kit he found himself back on the stage as a guest with Hunter Muskett. Fiddle virtuoso Tom Leary has been known to appear many times over a weekend and has been a great friend of the festival since the beginning. In the Autumn he will be touring America with Joe Brown.
For lovers of Sandy Denny’s music, The Sandy Denny Project will be very special. It started when BBC Radio Northampton, as part of National Music Day 2017, chose ex-Fotheringay MkII members Sally Barker (The Poozies, BBCTV’s “The Voice”) and guitarist PJ Wright (Little Johnny England, TradArrr, The Dylan Project) to celebrate the award of Sandy Denny’s Blue Plaque at Byfield Village Hall, the scene of her last-ever gig in 1978. The following year Sally and PJ constructed a dream folk-rock band to commemorate the passing of Sandy, 40 years before, for a sell-out concert at Byfield – “Sandyfest.”
This year the band, perform again at Byfield and also at two of English folk-rock’s best loved festivals – Cromer’s Folk on the Pier and the New Forest Folk Festival. With the line-up of Sally, PJ, frequent Fairport guest Anna Ryder, fast rising star Marion Fleetwood (voice, fiddle, guitars) and the rhythm section of bassist Mat Davies and drummer Mark Stevens from Little Johnny England, the material is approached not as a tribute band, slavishly copying the records, but as a tribute in its best sense – an interpretation of Sandy’s wonderful body of work.
Something else that is very popular are the free workshops and singaround’s at the woodland fringe where people have enjoyed a mixture of subjects such as slide guitar with PJ Wright, fiddle playing with Tom Leary, song writing with Reg Meuross, ukulele for beginners, poetry, morris dancing and lots more.
To check out the full artist line-up and bios plus info on everything that is going on visit the website which is www.newforestfolkfestival.co.uk You will also find lots of photos and information.
Tickets are £95 for the whole five days and day tickets £35. Children are roughly half price and under 5 yrs free. Prices rise to £105 & £40 at the beginning of June. They can be ordered online and you receive them by email.
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention three-day open-air music festival will celebrate its fortieth anniversary this year. A major innovation for 2019 is ‘glamping’ in pre-pitched luxury bell tents.
Cropredy yesterday announced the full line-up of acts appearing at this year’s event. Over three days (8, 9 and 10 August) Cropredy will present more than thirty hours of live music to an audience of up to 20,000 festival-goers.
Headline acts for 2019 include The Waterboys (Thursday), Frank Turner (Friday); and host band Fairport Convention (Saturday).
Other major acts include Gogol Bordello on Thursday, Seth Lakeman (Friday) and Richard Thompson (Friday).
The line-up encompasses soaring harmonies from female ensembles Wildwood Kin and Daphne’s Flight, instrumental virtuosity from Will Pound (harmonica), Eddy Jay (accordion) and Martin Simpson (guitar), and classic rock from Martin Barre and prog legends Caravan.
Lil Jim, Tors, The 4 Of Us, Wilson & Wakeman, Richard Digance, Tide Lines and Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ complete the line-up.
One-day, two-day and three-day tickets are exclusively available from Fairport’s website: www.fairportconvention.com/tickets and by phone 0844 581 1396
Thursday 8 August
Host band Fairport Convention will open the festival with a short acoustic performance then take the stage again on Saturday to play a two-hour closing set.
Multi-instrumentalist Lil Jim combines guitar, harmonica and accordion with foot percussion and vocals.
Devon indie-folk band Tors is fronted by songwriting brothers Matt and Theo Weedon, grandsons of late guitar maestro Bert Weedon.
Gogol Bordello combine elements of music, theatre, chaos and sorcery To say this is a fabulous festival act would be the grossest of understatements.
A return to Cropredy for Thursday’s headline act The Waterboys whose potent
Friday 9 August
Formed in Newry, Northern Ireland, by brothers Declan and Brendan Murphy, The 4 Of Us are known for poetic songs, harmony vocals and highly accomplished guitar.
Will Pound and Eddy Jay are, respectively, among the UK’s finest harmonica and accordion players.
Award-winning female trio Wildwood Kin play contemporary indie-folk characterised by spellbinding family harmonies.
Performing as Wilson & Wakeman, Adam Wakeman is best known as the keyboard player with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath and Damian Wilson is a songwriter and vocalist who has appeared on over seventy albums.
Pioneers of Canterbury’s prog rock scene, Caravan will be making their Cropredy debut. Their mix of psychedelia, jazz and classical music has been highly influential.
Fresh from a world tour with Robert Plant, Seth Lakeman returns to Cropredy after a ten year absence.
Guitar legend and acclaimed songwriter Richard Thompson will appear with erstwhile Fairport bandmates Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol.
One of the finest live acts out there, Frank Turner will headline on Friday night with his band Sleeping Souls, a first visit to Cropredy by one of the UK’s most successful solo artists of the past decade.
Saturday 10 August
BAFTA nominee Richard Digance returns to his traditional Cropredy Saturday lunchtime slot.
Four-piece Tide Lines are shaped by the culture and music of the Scottish Highlands.
Daphne’s Flight features five female singer-songwriters; Christine Collister, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While.
Scottish singer-guitarist Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ is a new high-octane prog-metal band.
Celebrating 50 years of Jethro Tull’s music, Martin Barre’s band includes the original Tull drummer Clive Bunker.
Award-winning Martin Simpson, one of Britain’s greatest acoustic guitarists, makes his first appearance at Cropredy.
Fairport Convention and guests take the stage for their traditional two-hour-plus Saturday headline show.
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention three-day open-air music festival will celebrate its fortieth anniversary in 2019.
The organisers have announced many of the acts booked for next summer’s event which will take place on Thursday 8, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August. The remaining acts will be announced in January 2019.
Tickets went on sale from 3 December 2018.
Host band Fairport Convention will open the festival on Thursday 8 August with an acoustic performance then take the stage again on Saturday to play a two-hour headline set. Thursday’s headline act will be The Waterboys whose potent performance makes them one of the UK’s most exciting live acts.
Former Fairport member Richard Thompson will appear with his erstwhile bandmates Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol. Award-winning Martin Simpson, one of Britain’s greatest acoustic guitarists, makes his first appearance at Cropredy. Fresh from a world tour with Robert Plant, Seth Lakeman returns to Cropredy after a ten year absence.
Celebrating 50 years of Jethro Tull’s music, Martin Barre’s band includes the original Tull drummer Clive Bunker and long-time bassist, Jonathan Noyce. Pioneers of Canterbury’s prog rock scene, Caravan will be making their Cropredy debut. Scottish singer-guitarist Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ are a new high-octane prog-metal band.
Daphne’s Flight features five female singer-songwriters; Christine Collister, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While. BAFTA nominee Richard Digance returns to his traditional Cropredy Saturday lunchtime slot. Will Pound and Eddy Jay are, respectively, among the UK’s finest harmonica and accordion players. Award-winning female trio Wildwood Kin play contemporary indie-folk characterised by spellbinding family harmonies. Multi-instrumentalist Lil Jim combines guitar, harmonica and accordion with foot percussion and vocals. Four-piece Tide Lines are shaped by the culture and music of the Scottish Highlands.
Cropredy tickets on sale for Christmas
Cropredy tickets went on sale on 3 December 2018 in time for Christmas.
Three-day festival tickets cost £140. Camping tickets cost £45 for three nights.
The first 1,000 orders will receive a Christmas card signed by all five members of Fairport Convention.
It is that time of year again and I had an invite to join the lads from folking.com and ‘do’ the 2016 Cropredy Festival. As a Cropredy virgin and non-camper, three days before the event I was filled with trepidation and angst, although the music beckoned! How could you not with such a line up?! This is what kept me going.
I arrived at Folkmaster Towers the day before, to be greeted by camping equipment and God knows what else – strewn all over the front lawn. Were we packing for the army? Decisions of which tent to take, go wash this, do that, but it kept my mind off sleeping in a cow field the next night! I announced I had bought a pop up tent for the occasion as it was quick and easy to put it up, I confidently said, I was told they are a nightmare to put down……..that’s another story!!! A visit to Waitrose followed the front lawn episode.
The day dawned. We were to meet the rest of the team at the ungodly hour of 7am at a service station over an hour and a half away. Everyone turned up at the appointed time, and we sped off in convoy to all arrive at the same time, to be in the same field and set up the Folking.com camp. Paul turned up with a transit van, complete with proper bed, fairy lights, toilet but no kitchen implements or the food and cooking equipment he was supposed to be bringing.
Great start but we had a laugh! We ended up in Field 4, full of cow pats but no cows thankfully. My tent went up a breeze with the help of the wonderful Chris, but our Beloved Leader was hampered by a slight drizzle and size of his tent, and then fluffed about filling it with comfy mattress and everything including the kitchen sink. Jon, Chris myself and Paul just amused ourselves while we were waiting the two and a half hours it took him to create the classic boudoir experience for himself which was only marred by the forgotten sarong which was meant to have provided some sort of Bedouin shade.
Onwards to The Field…. The Festival was opened by Fairport MC – Anthony John Clarke and Thursday kicked off with a Fairport Acoustic set, lots of people already in attendance and we had a good view from where we were, and two huge screens were either side the stage for those further back.
I was on photo duty, so could get to the stage area easily to capture the artists. One of the acts – Coco And The Butterfields were a new name to me and were suggested by Debs Earle and her daughter Rosie from Folk In The Barn, to the Fairport Team, and a good choice. Energetic vocals from these Canterbury buskers.
These were ably followed by Hayseed Dixie, whom I have wanted to see for ages. A rip-roaring Bluegrass Rock with attitude!
Madness with front man Suggs, completed the first day as Headliners. They certainly didn’t disappoint and belted out their hits and more with gusto.
We returned to our tents. I discovered a hill where my head was going to be and managed 4 hours sleep!
Friday dawned very hot, not normal Cropredy weather I’m told , went off for a shower to find the Cricket Pavilion showers blocked. I was the last one and was told I couldn’t have a shower there. Darren suggested that I should have used the excellent Fairport free ones (which he promised to point out to me, but never actually got round to doing). This advice was provided after he paid his two pounds fifty at the Cricket Pavilion, had queued, showered and dressed within ten minutes… Well, if it was going to happen to someone… It was going to happen to me! By this time the acts had started and I missed A J Clarke and Peggy, also BBC R2 YFA winner Brighde Chaimbeul, although I could hear them. Thankfully I surfaced for the female rock duo – Sound Of The Sirens who I had seen earlier this year supporting Rick Astley, they are a favourite of R2 presenter Chris Evans, have performed at Glastonbury, and are so energetic and a joy to watch and listen to. Definitely ones to watch out for.
I had to visit the medical tent… again… it could only happen to me… went in to get some different tablets for a water infection as the ones I had were not working and came back out having being wired up to an ECG machine for an irregular heartbeat. I said I had a Festival to go to, was a first time camper, had a shower disaster, had lost my tooth brush, so what did they expect!? If my ticker was dicky it would last until Sunday! (No alcohol had been consumed by the way).
Another band I enjoyed but had heard before were Willie And The Bandits who are labelled as a classic blues rock band, but they are so much more. They have played Glastonbury and all over Europe. The Cropredy crowd loved them.
Next came festival favourites Steeleye Span with Maddy Prior, who had everyone on the field eating out of their hands. Performing a mixture of songs including their latest album – The Wintersmith and of course – All Around My Hat! In 47 years, the band has notched up a family tree of member changes and like Fairport, have been one of the bands responsible for putting folk-rock on the map. They still sound great!
Friday ended with Headliners – The Bootleg Beatles – who have appeared some years ago at Cropredy. As expected, they belted out a variety of Beatle Hits and a couple of dress changes denoted different eras the Beatles went through. “George” wowed the audience with a fantastic rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” I think Cropredy were lucky to get them as they are touring all over the world shortly. Apparently they are the most successful Beatles Tribute act ever. I’m not surprised. Fabulous!
After the main act finished, the rest of the crew (all bar Chis and me) headed off to see the other Paul, Mr. Johnson who was camped near the bottom of the disabled field to listen to him do a couple of his own songs as well as meeting up with his daughter and daughters partner “Dave Longboat’ who had lost his way on the Thursday night back to campsite 4, misplaced his footing and ended up in the Canal. Dave asked me to extend his thanks to the Cropredy villagers, who were having a party at the time and came to the rescue with towels. My camping buddy Paul said, “there are only two things that go in a canal, one a longboat and the other is Dave”, hence the name. I believe that the folkmaster penned a poem to mark the occasion and Paul Johnson is rumoured to be writing a tune for it for next year.
Saturday – main day and another hot one in more ways than one – early start for getting a decent spot on The Field. Richard Digance kicked off the day’s proceedings and was so funny. He can sing well too and play a mean old rag! We ended up with 20,000 people plus doing a Morris dance with hankies! Had to be seen to be believed! Good fun.
Other highlights for me were Maia, who call themselves sci-fi folk genre. Certainly different and very watchable. Then we had Gilmore & Roberts who were a duo I had wanted to catch up with and they didn’t disappoint. They played as a four piece band and I enjoyed them very much.
The Pierce Brothers from Australia brought the house down! The brothers were overwhelmed as they had not played such a big crowd before, and seem very humbled by the response they got from the enthusiastic crowd. Fairport’s Simon Nicol said later that The Pierce Brothers had been knocked for six by the audience reaction to their music. Hope to see them back in the UK soon.
Damien Barber and his Demon Barbers was something else! An energetic fusion of song, dancing, hip hop, trad folk, everything all rolled into one. Very visual and entertaining.
Highlight of the Festival for me was the legend who is Ralph McTell. A classic gifted wordsmith, prolific guitarist and a truly genuine guy. The set included, amongst others, Barges, Pepper and Tomatoes and a rousing rendition of From Clare to Here and he had the audience eating out of his hand and rightly so. A truly fabulous performance from our National Treasure. Of course, Streets of London was there as well, and hearing 20,000 or more people singing it, was a joy in itself. You could tell by the huge smile on Ralph’s face when he finally said goodnight that the love was following in both directions with abundance! Lovely that Paul Johnson and Darren (aka Folkmaster) had done such an amazing interview with Ralph the previous day (listen again below).
Fairport Convention ended the evening and the weekend. They opened with some very funny Olympic themed visuals which you can watch again on the “Fairporters” Facebook group if you missed it. Simon Nicol made a superb speech to the memory of Fairport founder virtuoso fiddler Dave Swarbrick, who sadly died a few months ago, but who has left a fantastic musical legacy and will not be forgotten. Dave has inspired so many people to take up the fiddle over the years and will also be remembered for his song writing, sense of humour and character. The compilation of Swarb photos from across the years was also a lovely touch as well.
An outstanding set from Fairport followed which included a guest appearance from 11-year-old blues guitar wonder-boy Toby Lee, who played the lead on ‘Mr. Lacey’ (I think). Plus the traditional ‘Matty Groves’ and of course, ‘Meet On The Ledge’ ending, the point where the field, all twenty thousand of us, unify around the song that examplifies the reason we all go. My team mates and I all linked up together to sing this and felt myself welling up. I had so enjoyed my first Cropredy, been introduced to some new and amazing artists and their music, and was sorry to have to say goodbye for another year. Yes, I will be going next year for Fairport’s 50th year celebration!
You know it’s going to be a great night when you see the broadly grinning expectations of the ‘sold out’ audience come streaming through the doors carrying with them the thoughts that tonight is going to be extra special. Of course it’s an expectation born of the rumours that a ‘legend’ is playing a local ‘folk club’ and that legend just happens to be Richard Digance (yes, him off the telly!). With an easy-going presentation that a lot of young ‘folk’ performers could do well to learn from Digance is everything to every man (and woman). Such is his delivery of well observed anecdotes that they appear as well lobbed audio grenades eliciting guffaws of laughter without the need for offensive language unlike a lot of ‘so-called’ comedians these days. Reminiscing is what it’s all about and in this respect he offers it on a plate. Drawing on vignettes as a performer he makes each and everyone feel as if they’ve known him personally all of their lives and, indeed, many of us have. The songs, storytelling and banter of his East-End upbringing even if not one hundred percent historically correct as in the case of “The Ballad Of Johnny Puller” it is the attention to detail that makes you believe in the character. Such was the warmth and bond with tonight’s very respectful crowd Richard even felt comfortable enough to try out several new songs including an ode to the painter John Constable that, with two choruses was unusual but met with an appreciation Vaughan Williams might have expected the first time he performed ‘Lark Ascending’. His well deserved encore “Letter From Afghanistan” with its snipe at English football players in general (and deservedly so) should be required listening by ‘the team’ and if tonight’s audience were anything to go by I would say he hit the goal every time…right to the back of the net. If you get the chance to see him in the intimacy of a club…take it, you won’t be disappointed and I’m sure you can ask anyone who was at Dorking for a shining endorsement! By the way for those of you reading this review that didn’t get the chance to buy his CDs check out the link below.
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