After celebrating its milestone 10th anniversary in style last year, FolkEast will kick off its next decade with a brilliantly cosmopolitan line-up this August.
England’s most easterly festival returns to Suffolk this summer with a veritable melting pot of talent – from vintage performers to the best new acts on the block and stellar overseas performers – from England, Scotland, Canada and Australia and of course East Anglia.
A festival known for standing out from the crowd, FolkEast has become one of the best loved events on the UK festival calendar.
The brainchild of husband-and-wife team John and Becky Marshall-Potter, it began in 2012 at Somerleyton Hall near Lowestoft but since then has made its home at the glorious Glemham Hall estate near Woodbridge (pictured above) hosting some of the folk and acoustic world’s finest UK and international artists.
Says Becky: “FolkEast is all about coming together for three days to fill your boots with music, food, ale, art, family and friends in the beautiful parkland of Glemham Hall where time can just seem to stand still.”
The 2023 event will be played out on five stages – Sunset main stage, Moot Hall, Stage in the Woods, Sanctuary Space and the Dance stage while the event’s three pubs will be alive with singarounds and sessions.
Here, there and everywhere throughout the weekend will be the festival’s hugely popular ‘life enhancers’, multi award-winning patrons, The Young‘uns (Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle) whose 2023 album Tiny Notes has been a career high. FolkEast is the place to see the endearing trio up to things you won’t see anywhere else and they will once again be presenting their hugely popular podcast.
Saturday will see formidable Scottish band Capercaillie leading the way with their dazzling traditional Gaelic and contemporary English song repertoire. Founded in 1984 by Donald Shaw the line-up is led by Karen Matheson with her peerless voice and the band has sold over a million albums worldwide.
Staying in Scotland, Ímar are sure to get the festival off to a stirring start on Friday. “Awesome” “Lush” “Stunning” “Jaw-dropping” – all the adjectives have been heaped on the Glasgow-based band since they arrived on the roots scene in 2016, their instrumental punch and pizzazz leaving listeners reeling with their rich mix of Scottish, Irish and Manx musical influences.
The ‘Celtic supergroup’ walked away with two coveted gongs from the 2018 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – the Horizon Award for Best Emerging Act and for strikingly individual concertina ace Mohsen Amini, the Musician of the Year title.
More than 50 years on from ‘Fog On The Tyne’ topping the charts, legendary Seventies folk-rock pioneers Lindisfarne will hit the Sunset stage on Sunday led by original founder member Rod Clements. Their repertoire of such hits as ‘Meet Me On The Corner’, ‘Lady Eleanor’ and ‘Run For Home’ is sure to have the FolkEast audience on their feet and singing along.
Also hailing from the North-East, Saturday’s Moot Hall headliner will be outstanding Northumbrian pipes exponent Kathryn Tickell with her band The Darkening. Kathryn, also a fiddle player, composer and BBC Radio 3 ‘Music Planet’ presenter, has released 15 of her own albums, won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Musician of the Year’ title and was awarded an OBE for services to folk music.
Heading over from Australia for one of only a handful of UK performances this year will be none other than the unmatchable Spooky Men’s Chorale, led by sole Kiwi Stephen Taberner.
Variously described as ‘as thunderous as a herd of wildebeest’, ‘as sly as a wagonload of Spike Milligans’ and ‘as sonorous as a cloister of monks’ this masculine maelstrom is every inch the musical chameleon. They can do mellow and they can do mayhem, dashing and deadpan, bitter and sweet. And they can do it all with aplomb.
FolkEast will also welcome hugely popular Canadian star Son Of Dave (Benjamin Darvill), the one-man harmonica and beat-box genius credited with turning rhythm and blues upside down.
The wonderful ‘Welsh Springsteen’ Martyn Joseph is sure to capture hearts and minds on his first appearance at FolkEast with his powerful songwriting while another Martin (Simpson) is a huge draw with his sensational guitar playing and songs. Nominated no less than nine times for Musician of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and twice the winner, Simpson has been named one of Gibson Guitars’ Greatest Acoustic Guitarists of all time.
Simpson will also appear with The Magpie Arc – the celebrated cross-Border band that also includes Nancy Kerr, Findlay Napier, Tom A. Wright and Alex Hunter. The acclaimed new act brings together a fine group of musicians who mix and match their influences, songwriting styles and musicianship in an electric band setting, whilst giving a passing nod to the golden age of 60’s and 70’s British folk rock.
Another brilliant guitarist and singer songwriter, the much-feted John Smith will return to FolkEast, this time with Katherine Priddy who he toured with last year – a sublime pairing.
One of the genre’s biggest recent successes Priddy won widespread critical acclaim for her debut album The Eternal Rocks Beneath which became one of MOJO Magazine’s Top 10 albums of 2021.
Priddy, who has toured with the great Richard Thompson, made her mark with her skilled song writing, haunting vocals and distinctive finger-picking guitar style.
The uniquely captivating Lady Maisery with their exquisite harmonies make their first appearance at FolkEast, demonstrating their burgeoning songwriting skills with material from their highly acclaimed new album Tender and Sam Sweeney Band who were such a brilliant opening act for the recent Bellowhead reunion tour will perform material from Sam’s life-affirming Escape That album.
Elsewhere there will be performances from melodeon player extraordinaire, John Spiers who this time joins forces with stand-out fiddle-singer Jackie Oates (right) – one of the best-loved and most intuitive folk performers of her generation. Jackie will also team up for an appearance with Hampshire‘s Jon Wilks – an acclaimed fingerpicking guitarist and singer of traditional English folk songs and broadside ballads. Jon also runs the TradFolk website who will be a media partner of the festival, taking over The Stage in the Woods on the Sunday.
Elsewhere there will be a chance to catch Joshua Burnell – the highly original York-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – along with his band. Expect a performance influenced by everything from pop to rock, trad and indie folk, gypsy jazz, Bowie-esque cabaret & modern musicals.
Closer to home, from East Anglia, will be Kiteworks (Christina Alden & Alex Patterson and The Shackleton Trio) and East Anglian Traditional Music Trust’s Vaughan Williams Youth Showcase.
Also announced are Cornwall-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Angeline Morrison whose 2022 album Sorrow Songs : Folk Songs of Black British Experience was voted No 1 folk album of the year in The Guardian, the widely-acclaimed collaboration Hack-Poets Guild (Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann), the exuberant natural troubadour Rory McLeod, Bristol-based singer-songwriter Nick Hart, Scotland’s Burd Ellen, Birmingham acts Filkin’s Ensemble and Bonfire Radicals, Warwickshire folk musician Ellie Gowers, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne (of Granny’s Attic) , and Owen Shiers (Nominated for ‘Best Solo Artist’ at the inaugural 2019 Welsh Folk Awards).
Flying the dance flag will be none other than Boss Morris, unlikely performers alongside Wet Leg at this year’s Brit Awards and Ballet Folk who create inspired ballet works in collaboration with folk artists.
Early Bird weekend tickets are now available – with prices remaining the same as 2022 – £140 (adult), £130 (full time students, 65+) and £90 for Young Folk 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 £410.
A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping under canvas is £20, camping under canvas with vehicle alongside £40 and camping on wheels (caravan, camper van, motorhome) also £40.
Festival website: www.folkeast.co.uk
Ticket link: https://folkeast.co.uk/tickets-4/