Gate To Southwell Festival – next week!

Gate To Southwell Festival

The 15th Gate To Southwell Festival – one of the East Midlands’ premier music and family events – begins next Thursday July 14th and runs through to Sunday night July 17th.  Over four days, there’ll be more than 50 international roots, World, acoustic and folk acts across four stages plus ceilidhs, dance sides, comedy, street theatre, poetry, music workshops and top class children’s entertainment.  There’ll also be a beer and cider festival, great food stalls and a craft fair.

The annual festival is expected to attract over 5000 tourists to Southwell bringing a much-needed boost to the market town’s economy. The festival site is in Kirklington not far from Southwell but there’ll also be events around the town including the annual colourful Gate To Southwell procession of dancers from across the East Midlands on the morning of Saturday July 16th.  The festival site is off the A617, between Newark and Mansfield, linking the A1 to the M1 (postcode NG22 8NX).  A subsidized shuttle bus will run throughout the festival, linking the site to the centre of Southwell.

Canadian folk stars Le Vent Du Nord, Stornaway’s finest export Peat & Diesel, Irish traditional music legends Dervish, top bluesman Ian Siegal and Australia’s Spooky Men’s Chorale are among the headliners this year.  They’ll be joined by top quality performers such as rising star Kathryn Priddy, highly rated singer and guitarist John Smith from Devon, American banjo and bass combo Truckstop Honeymoon, folk rockers Merry Hell and Celtic punkers Black Water County, footstompin’ fiddlers Noble Jacks, singer-songwriters Chris While & Julie Matthews, acclaimed ceilidh band Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Birmingham’s Filkin’s Ensemble and more up and coming and established roots artists from the UK, Europe and the USA.

What’s Happening Each Day

The four-day fiesta kicks off at the site in Kirklington with a cracking Blues Night (Thursday July 14) starring the multi-award-winning Ian Siegal, branded “the most magnetic performer of Blues in the UK”.  Siegal will be supported by the Daniel Smith Blues Band, led by the UK’s number one boogie-woogie pianist, and also by 2019 European Blues Award-winning female vocalist, Manchester’s Kyla Brox.

Friday night promises to be wildly entertaining with Hebridean headliners Peat & Diesel bringing their rousing, Celtic, sell-out stage show to Southwell.  Alongside them on the bill will be the critically-acclaimed and award-winning The Trials of Cato, one of the most original and vital acts on the UK circuit, plus the folk punk of Black Water County and rising star singer-songwriter Katherine Priddy: “The best thing I’ve heard all year,” according to Richard Thompson.

Southwell’s favourite Canadians, Quebec folk heroes Le Vent Du Nord return to headline on Saturday night, promising bouncy dance tunes, five-part vocals and boundless joie de vivre.  Also high on Saturday’s bill are riotous eight-piece folk rockers, the aptly-named Merry Hell, infectiously danceable top ceilidh band Blackbeard’s Tea Party, innovative folk-electronica from India Electric Company, gentle neo folk from Fellow Pynins, all the way from Oregon USA, and classy singer-songwriting duo While & Matthews.

Promising a grand finale on Sunday 17th some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians perform in the legendary Dervish, fronted by Cathy Jordan.  Plus festival regulars Truckstop Honeymoon return to Southwell with their distinct brand of banjo and bass entertainment, two of the UK’s finest singer-songwriters Steve Tilston & Jez Lowe will join forces, the fiddle-fuelled Noble Jacks will also be playing and the critically-acclaimed vocally-strong uproariously funny Spooky Men’s Chorale arrive from New South Wales Australia: “It takes a rare skill to be very silly, thoughtful and sing in perfect harmony but they manage to achieve just that” (The Guardian).  Also recently added to Sunday’s bill is singer-guitarist John Smith who’s clocked up over 60 milllion streams on Spotify with classic tracks such as ‘Far Too Good’ and ‘Save My Life’.

Who Else Is Playing?

There’s plenty of young and gifted talent performing throughout the festival such as Hull singer-songwriter Katie Spencer, the “stand out new folk” of Jacob & Drinkwater, Americana melodies from Honey & The Bear, old time globetrotting troubadour Pete Morton, Southwell festival favourites Winter Wilson, Pedler//Russell’s Field of Dyke project about life in Lincolnshire, Americana bluegrass and country humour from Big Red & The Grinners, cutting edge folk rock from Derby’s The Rogue Embers, the modern classical folk of Leeds Conservatoire’s Helian…and many more acts.

There’s also a great local artists showcase on Thursday 14th featuring gentle singer-songwriter Robbie Singh, the diverse guitar skills of Ollerton’s Liam Johnson, original songs and covers from Malc Slater, the formidable right hand and charisma of Paul Carbuncle, acclaimed local duo Huson-Whyte, American roots folk and blues from Phil Ashmore & The Unit Five, strong country music from The Dolby Gang and blues-meets-soul-meets-punk in the shape of The Boutones.   Thursday evening ends with stomping Celtic punk, jigs and reels from The Silk Road.

Family Entertainment

There’s plenty going on for families and young children over the festival period.  Aside from music workshops and dances, there’ll be great kids’ entertainment from James The Jester (from Chester!) and master storyteller, Mark Fraser of Walk The Lines will be back with original and classic stories.  There’s also the chance to get close to the White Post Farm animals, hands-on play with Out Of The Chicken Shed, Soul Sensory, Festival Fairies and Kids’ Music Workshops.

Plus Kids Arts & Crafts with Made Of Leaves, children’s yoga and mindfulness with Calmer Inner Soul and a Books and Baby Chillout Zone.  Throw into the festival experience regular features such as Baby Bops and Toddle Bops and, of course, Keith Donnelly – with his highly interactive stories and imagination-stretching songs for children – and Gate To Southwell 2022 promises to be a winning mix of mirth and mayhem, hopefully without the mud.

Festival website: