Saturday, 28 March 2009

Free Folk in the Smoke*

For once I'm left saying "I wish I lived in London". This is a terrific line-up, and the price is right! However, the date is wrong - you can't hold a St George's Day concert two days after St George's Day... Anyway, here's the details. "A special opportunity to hear some of the finest music coming out of England today for FREE. ST. GEORGE'S DAY - Saturday April 25th Trafalgar Square, London, 12.30pm-6pm Featuring: SETH LAKEMAN ELIZA CARTHY JIM MORAY BISHI NETSAYI THE DEMON BARBERS KATHRYN & PETER TICKELL A special opportunity to hear some of the finest music coming out of England today for FREE. Produced by Serious for the Mayor of London. Hosted by Rita Ray, Max Reinhardt and Verity Sharp, the Trafalgar Square afternoon concert is free and open to all." If you want something folky in the capital on the actual St George's Day, there's a show at Cecil Sharpe House on the 23rd (which is the actual St Georges Day). Organised by the English Folk Dance and Song Society featuring breaking artists, storytellers and Mummers and only costing a tenner. * Kudos to Fairport email list member Mark Willcocks for that fab "Folk In The Smoke" title!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Brampton Live Saved ... Again!

The Brampton Live folk roots festival is to go ahead in July after getting grant money from Arts Council England. Problems with funding last year cast a shadow over the future of the festival, although this now seems to have been resolved positively. Delighted organisers of the three-day festival near Carlisle in Cumbria, England, will receive a £35,000 Lottery-funded Grants for the Arts Award to support the festival’s migration from Carlisle City Council management into ownership by a newly formed independent company, Brampton Live Festival Ltd. The company has been set up by Ken and Sue Bradburn, who founded the festival in 1995. Co-director Mick North said: “This is fantastic news and absolutely crucial to the future of the festival. Without this grant, we’d be facing the possibility of scaling the festival down or even taking a year out. We’re really pleased that the Arts Council have recognised the festival’s achievements and potential with some serious funding. Now it’s all systems go to deliver Brampton Live 2009 and we hope supporters old and new will get behind it.” Among the headliners: Barbara Dickson and Drever, McCusker, Woomble Carlisle City Council’s £30,000 commitment to the festival for the next two years was instrumental in securing Arts Council support. Council Leader Mike Mitchelson, who is also Brampton’s local councillor, said: “Brampton Live is a well established event and by working with the new management company we can ensure it develops and grows. This year’s event signals a new era for the festival and we look forward to working with, and supporting, Brampton Live Festival Ltd.” The Cumbrian festival will be buzzing again, returning to its home at Brampton’s William Howard Centre from July 17-19 and offering music on three stages, workshops, camping and a festival market. Co-director Ken Bradburn, who books the musicians, now faces a big challenge to complete an all-star line-up in time. He says: “We couldn’t contract anybody until funding was confirmed and we were certain the festival had the green light. We’re playing catch-up but I’m confident we will be offering another spectacular mix of home-grown and international artists.” Award-winning singer and West End actress Barbara Dickson is already confirmed as the Sunday night headliner. Says Ken: “It’s fabulous news. Some might think she’s a more mainstream performer than they’d expect to see at Brampton Live, but she has impeccable folk credentials from her early career and she’s increasingly returning to her roots.” Dickson’s singing career started in folk clubs around her native Fife in the Sixties and, in the early Seventies she sang at a Liverpool folk club run by a young student teacher called Willy Russell! This led to her appearing in his award-winning musical, John, Paul, George, Ringo….and Bert, her idiosyncratic interpretation of Beatles songs making the show hugely successful. Adding to a strong Scottish contingent in the line up will be one of the bands of the moment – the much-lauded trio of Kris Drever, John McCusker and Roddy Woomble (with special guests Heidi Talbot and Boo Hewerdine); 2008 Scots Singer of the Year Emily Smith and band and high octane festival favourites, Peatbog Faeries. Other confirmed artists include the indefatigable Oysterband, Andy Fairweather Low, The Spooky Men’s Chorale (Australia), Mary Gauthier (USA), Eliza Gilkyson (USA), Mabon (Wales), Chris While & Julie Matthews, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley, Elbow Jane, and comedy folk band The Lancashire Hotpots, with more to be announced. Early Bird tickets will soon be on sale until the end of April via the festival’s website and from Carlisle’s Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery on 01228 618700, where tickets can also be bought in person.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Oxford Folk Festival

The sixth Oxford Folk Festival will be held on Friday 20th Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd March 2009 at venues across the city. Oxford Town Hall is the focus for some fantastic concerts featuring Kate Rusby performing on this occasion with Donald Grant and the Red Skies String Ensemble, the ever popular Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, bhangra kings the Dohl Foundation, multi award winning local duo Spiers and Boden, Lau who won this years Best Group at the BBC2 Folk Awards , Robert Maseko and the Congo Beat and a host of other artists on two separate stages, as well as hosting the festival Box Office, Craft Fair and Bar. Additional concerts and workshops will be in the Holywell Music Room, including ‘A Bit of a DO’ on Saturday night where poet Bernard O’Donaghue will be joined by Mick Henry and other musicians for a captivating evening of Irish music and verse. For those who like to dance there will be ceilidhs at Oxford Brookes Main Hall on Saturday night with the Cock and Bull Band, the Newman Rooms on Sunday with the Oxford Fiddle Group and The Real Bach Consort from Oxford’s twin city of Bonn and at the Marston Ferry Rugby Club with the John Mason School Band. There will also be a wealth of free outside entertainment centered on the Castle site, with over 40 Morris sides dancing there and elsewhere in the city over the weekend, starting with a grand parade from the Castle to Cornmarket Street on Saturday morning. The Castle will also be the home of the children’s activities in the Key Learning Centre, part of Oxford Unlocked. For the first time this year the Festival is also welcoming performances from local choirs. Over 15 school choirs will be taking part, together with local celebrities the Blackbird Leys Choir who featured in Channel 5’s Singing Estate programme in 2006, and the Oxford Folk Festival’s very own choir, Rising Voices. Concerts at the Oxford Castle and the Holywell Music Room on Saturday will be free, with a grand gala concert by selected choirs in the Town Hall on Sunday morning. _______________________________________________________ Tickets are available from Tickets Oxford, phone 01865 305305 or We Got Tickets or in person from the Oxford Playhouse (a booking fee may be payable). For more information go to

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Rhythm Festival

Rhythm Festival Announcement The Proclaimers, Alabama 3, James Hunter, The Beat and The Blow Monkeys are the first headline acts to be announced for Rhythm Festival 2009, to be held over the weekend of August 21st to 23rd at Twinwood Arena, Clapham, Bedfordshire. Addictive Scottish brothers The Proclaimers (pictured above) headline the opening night on Friday 21st August, with Alabama 3 (full band) occupying the same slot on Saturday 22nd and sweet bluesman James Hunter and his band on Sunday 23rd. Other acts so far confirmed for the weekend include: Friday 21st August Glenn Tilbrook & The Fluffers (Squeeze singer, guitarist and main songwriter), Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams (USA), Billy Jenkins Blues Collective Saturday 22nd August The Blow Monkeys (Dr Robert & original line-up), The Beat, Jacqui McShees Pentangle, Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds, The Demon Barbers. Sunday 23rd August Alvin Youngblood Hart (USA), The Strawbs, Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash. Over 30 more acts are to be announced over the coming weeks. Says Rhythm Festival organiser Jim Driver: "We've had some great acts at past Rhythm Festivals, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Donovan, Levellers, Dr John, Seth Lakeman, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Steve Cropper and The Saw Doctors, but I think 2009 tops them all. And, of course, Rhythm Festival is much more than just the music and we've got lots of other exciting diversions planned too!" Tickets: Adult (17+) Weekend tickets are already selling well and are priced at £90 (£82.50 until 31/03/09), with one child free with every adult ticket-buyer; 5 and unders go free. Camping is from £25 per tent, £30 per campervan/ caravan. Tickets are available from the website (no booking fees). Telephone booking from Stargreen Box Office 020 7734 8932 - booking fees for telephone purchases are capped at £10 per order.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Fairport's Cropredy Festival 2009

The almost-final line-up for the annual Cropredy music festival in Oxfordshire in August has been announced, and tickets are already on sale. Check out this bill of fayre ... it WILL be a sell out! And our KEN is part of the party, too. Thursday 13 August 2009 Harlequinn Up-and-coming all-girl five-piece Harlequinn plays upbeat alt rock/pop. These youngsters' musicianship would earn them a place on any stage in the land. 4Square Another young band, Manchester-based 4Square is a talented and energetic quartet playing a funky mixture of original compositions and traditional music. Ken Nicol & Phil Cool Steeleye Span guitar wizard (and FolkCaster!) Ken Nicol and well-loved television comedian Phil Cool present a show that is both genuinely musical and very funny. Buzzcocks Cropredy is proud to present the legendary Buzzcocks (Never mind... Ed). The band has been hugely influential from its origins on Manchester's punk and new wave scene and has also enjoyed considerable chart success. Steve Winwood With a musical heritage encompassing Spencer Davies Group, Traffic and Blind Faith, Steve Winwood has enjoyed a distinguished solo career and is one of British popular music's greatest voices. Friday 14 August 2009 Colvin-Quarmby This midlands-based four-piece is fronted with energetic enthusiasm by Gerry Colvin. The group combines great playing with well-crafted songs and sheer brio. BBC Young Folk Award Winners: Megan and Joe Henwood Fairport Convention is very proud of its close association with the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. Each year, Cropredy offers a festival slot to the winners. For 2009, we present brother-and-sister act Megan and Joe Henwood. The Oxfordshire duo captivated the Award judges with Megan's beautiful vocal and guitar and Joe's stunning saxophone accompaniment. Ade Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds Punk and folk may seem unlikely bedfellows (...not really. Folk-punk is a genre with a long and impressive history. Ed) but Ade Edmondson has melded the genres. The Bad Shepherds present punk classics with a folk twist. John Jorgensen Band Cropredy has seen some great guitar bands and John Jorgensen will uphold that tradition this year. A classic rock band to get you on your feet. Dodge Brothers For sheer entertainment and good vibes Dodge Brothers are hard to beat. The quartet presents skiffle, blues, and rock'n'roll standards "songs about railroads and homicide" on guitars, washboard, and double bass. With down'n'dirty vocal harmonies and pounding rhythms, this feel-good band will get the crowd dancing. Seth Lakeman "Back by popular demand" is a hackneyed phrase but it's true of Seth Lakeman and his band. After a barnstorming performance at Cropredy 2007, the organisers were inundated with requests for a repeat visit and are happy to oblige. Richard Thompson Cropredy would hardly be complete without former Fairport member Richard Thompson, one of the most revered guitarists and singer-songwriters in the world. Richard's last appearance at the festival featured a full four-piece band; this year, by contrast, he will be performing a solo spot. Saturday 15 August Richard Digance Richard will once again open Saturday's festivities (...into every life a little rain must fall. Ed). Churchfitters Brittany-based Churchfitters bring diverse musical backgrounds and a fresh approach to folk. This long-established quartet's fast-paced show mixes original material with songs and tunes from the British Isles. Feast of Fiddles Six of Britain's finest folk fiddlers backed by a five-piece band present a musical extravaganza of dazzling instrumental virtuosity. The solo and ensemble playing by the stellar line-up ranges from Celtic frenzy to gypsy lament and just about everything in between. Dreadzone Originally championed by John Peel, Dreadzone is a fabulous festival act with half-a-dozen albums under its belt. The band's live show is an eclectic fusion of dub, techno and folk. Ralph McTell Another legend, singer-songwriter Ralph performs his first full solo set at Cropredy for many years. His rich voice, virtuoso guitar and unique songs will cast spells and make magic. Ralph will also join Fairport for a few numbers during their set. Fairport Convention and special guests. As always, the festival will end with a spectacular three-hour set by Fairport Convention and a galaxy of musical guests. Fairport's Cropredy set gives the band a chance to really stretch its wings and roam far and wide through a repertoire stretching back over forty years. You never know who'll turn up to play with Fairport: for instance, Robert Plant was among the guests on stage last year. * Plus more bands to be announced *
Tickets for Fairport's Cropredy Convention are now on sale with substantial discounts for early purchase. As in previous years, the festival offers three-day (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) tickets, two-day (Friday and Saturday) tickets, and Saturday-only tickets. Prices for tickets purchased before 1 June 2009 are:
  • Three-day tickets £78
  • Two-day tickets £68
  • Saturday-only £48
Prices for tickets purchased between 1 June and 31 July 2009 are:
  • Three-day tickets £82
  • Two-day tickets £72
  • Saturday-only £52
Prices for tickets purchased after 31 July 2009 (including at the gate) are:
  • Three-day tickets £86
  • Two-day tickets £76
  • Saturday-only £56
Children under 12 years old are admitted free provided they are accompanied by an adult ticket holder. Camping is charged per vehicle (up to five occupants). For added convenience and security, tents are erected next to the camping party's vehicle. Note there is no increase in camping charges this year. Three-day camping costs £30 per vehicle, two-day camping is £25 per vehicle, and camping on Saturday night is free for people with a festival ticket. Motorcyclists, cyclists and backpackers arriving on foot can camp free of charge. For extra ticket information, please consult the 'Tickets and Camping FAQ' on Fairport's website: Tickets can be ordered online from Postal ticket purchase from PO Box 8413, Bilsthorpe, Notts, NG22 8WY ( And for my own guide to camping and the whole Cropredy experience, click here and for caravanning at the festival info, go here. - Phil )

Monday, 9 March 2009

Moya Brennan in London

GIG NEWS. A rather breathless Press Release arrives.... MOYA BRENNAN + SPECIAL GUESTS UNION CHAPEL, LONDON – THURSDAY 26TH MARCH When you walk the windswept hills and endless beaches of Donegal it all makes sense. Timeless, elemental and carried heavenwards in soulful breath, Moya's voice reaches out to the farthest places but still touches the soul. She sings with an angel's voice, arousing a passion in every listener. Her music refreshes and heals, exciting the senses, bringing a sense of calm to tired hearts. Always fresh, forever just a dream away, Moya captures the essence of her homeland in all its cascading beauty, mystery and contradictions. Yet she sings from the heart to a world where hope, faith and joy are not just a dream. ‘Heart Strings’ is Moya’s first ever live solo recording and features the prodigious talents of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and in Germany in October 2007, the fourteen tracks include three classic songs from Moya’s days as the voice of Clannad, including ‘Harry’s Game’, ‘I Will Find You’ and ‘In A Lifetime’. See her live at: Union Chapel London Thursday 26th March Doors 7pm £21 adv For tickets contact: 
 Ticketmaster 0870 534 4444 /
 Ticketweb 0870 771 2000 / 
See Tickets 0871 2200 260 /