Monday, 29 July 2013

Cambridge Folk Fest "Huge Success"

The 49th Cambridge Folk Festival ended in rousing style on Sunday night in what organisers Cambridge City Council have hailed as "a bumper year".

The Festival was a complete sell out (14,000 total attendees) and included performances from The Mavericks, KT Tunstall, Levellers, The Waterboys, Amadou and Mariam, Steeleye Span, Martin Simpson and Capercaillie plus a range of folk, americana, blues and world music performances across the Festival's four stages.

The festival folk say: "Performance highlights included: Bellowhead joining Levellers on stage for a run through the latter's song The Recruiting Sgt; KT Tunstall performing versions The White Stripe's Seven Nation Army performed on a kazoo and a stirring version of Don Henley's Boys of Summer; the eccentric and electric Bombay Royale performing on stage with a large inflatable elephant; a hilarious kids concert from UK comedic-poet John Hegley; landmark sets from Hertfordshire sisters The Staves who graduated to Stage 1 on their third appearance at the Festival; singer/songwriter Lucy Rose who headlined Thursday's Stage 2 and US sisters Larkin Poe who's two sets wowed the Festival audience over the weekend.

"As well as the eclectic musical offering on the stages, Festival-goers also enjoyed a range of workshops from a guitar workshop from virtuoso instrumentalist Tommy Emmanuel, reed garland making, how to play Northumbrian pipes, storytelling and children's instrument making. Attendees were also able to soak up the weekend's glorious sunshine at the Festival's duck pond and wilderness areas.

"The Festival's newest performance area, the 100-capacity ' The Den' was once again a big hit, showcasing some of the hottest rising talent in the folk and acoustic worlds including 'ones-to-watch' sets from Common Tongues, CC Smugglers and Hudson Taylor."

Saturday night at the Festival was also brought to a close with the event's third ever 'silent ceilidh' which saw the odd sight of people dancing to traditional jigs and reels whilst  wearing headphones to hear the music.

The Festival also had a great range of Scottish acts which were supported by Creative Scotland.

Sarah Brown, Executive Councillor for Community Wellbeing said: "2013 has been a bumper year. We are delighted to have once again sold all the tickets for the event in what has been a difficult year for UK Festivals. We'd like to thank all the artists, traders, staff, sponsors, volunteers and of course, the audience for their support and involvement in creating such a great atmosphere and making it such a huge success. We look forward to welcoming everyone again next year for the 50th anniversary in 2014."

The 2014 Cambridge Folk Festival runs from 31 July to 3 August. Tickets go on sale on Monday 2 December.

Kate Doubleday goes Wild!

Click to enlarge poster
Kate Doubleday whose haunting, lyrical music is inspired by nature, will be taking her songs to their source this summer with a 
series of musical evenings at Wildlife Trust reserves around the country.

Kate and her fellow musicians are to perform at a few specially chosen nature reserves during August. Her gentle songs are evocations of the nature and wildlife that have inspired her thoughts and where better to 
hear her than in the countryside, away from the intrusions of the 21st century.

Kate is no stranger to unique settings for her performances having already staged tours in RSPB bird hides and alongside Welsh 
waterscapes. This time the concerts will be in state of the art wildlife visitor centres built to complement their natural surroundings.

Kate is joined by Marie Smith on cello and vocals, Trevor Lines on bass and ukelele, and Dan Wilkins on guitar and kora. They will be performing songs from the EP Pied Flycatcher and their forthcoming album.

The Wildlife Trusts  Wild-away Tour
  • 13 August  7pmThe Attenborough Nature Centre - Nottingham NG9 6DY 
  • 14 August 7pm Westport Lake Visitor Centre - Staffordshire ST6 4RZ 
  • 15 August  7pm Brockholes Nature Centre - Lancashire PR5 08G 
  • 16 August 7pm Potteric Car - Yorkshire DN4 8DB 
  • 17 August  7pm Wigg Island Visitor Centre - Cheshire WA7 1PU
  • 23 August  7.30pm Welsh Wildlife Centre -  Pembrokeshire SA43 2TB 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

FolkStock - a festival for the equinox

Folkstock is a new one-day family-friendly acoustic music festival at Aldenham Country Park in Hertfordshire on Saturday September 21st.

It is the flagship event of the Folkstock Arts Foundation, a new Community Interest Company which has been set up by Helen Meissner to provide acoustic musicians with marketing, mentoring and masterclasses and it has iconic fiddle player, Dave Swarbrick as Patron. 

Folkstock Acoustic Festival was borne out of a desire to showcase as many strands of acoustic, folk and roots music in one joyous event on the autumn equinox, which is September 21st 2013. We aim to promote artists to the public and the music industry and offer a credible showcase for recently signed or emerging folk, roots and acoustic acts as well as a vehicle for entertaining the community via live music and associated activities to aid creativity and self expression.  You are assured of catchy and beguiling songs, harmonies to melt into and stunning lyrics. All performed to virtuoso level with inspiring dedication.

Folkstock has a mission to be an 'old fashioned' and relaxed family day out, with the additional bonus of being a joyous fusion of many different strands of acoustic, folk and roots music, with over 70 artists, half of which are from the local area. Ranging from BBC award winning artists and those who have sessioned on Bob Harris's BBC Radio 2 shows, through to local artists who are being offered their first festival slots and everything in between. You may not have heard of most of them, although you will be left wondering why as they are so good ! This festival will be a stepping stone for the many unsigned independent musicians and I am sure that most will go on to gain the recognition and boost they need to break into the national consciousness.

Folkstock Acoustic Festival will incorporate two main stages and two tented stages of acoustic, folk and roots music. It will have BBC award winning performers alongside emerging local acts as well as old fashioned stalls, ceilidhs, morris dancing, arts and crafts in a friendly supportive  environment.
There are also areas dedicated to specialist interests such as local breweries and real ale, foodie treats and pop up street vendors who cook to order, champions of organic and sustainable living as well as activities for children and dancing, songwriting and ukulele workshops and sessions in the bar for all.

As you can see, there will be an array of gorgeous music, delicious food, crafty stalls, community interest groups, dancing, singing and drinking! Childrens' activities and entertainment means your charges needs will be able to be accommodated ( under your watchful eye) buying you goodwill to indulge your musical tastes.
The two main stages will incorporate a range of acoustic, folk and roots music, with the Main Stage being for more traditional folk performers and the other being for Alternative Folk. Alt Folk means they are slightly more cross genre and often using folk related instruments, but  incorporating rock, pop, electronic and contemporary influences which are very on trend at the moment and it is immediately accessible music with strong hooks, choruses and lyrics, delivered with professionalism and passion.

The 'Turn up the Sun Stage', run by talented and award winning musician Marina Florance, will be providing a stimulating and jaw dropping selection of guitar, ukulele, fiddle and double bass wielding artists who are all gathering momentum and respect across the country. Catch them here while you can!
The ‘Folkstock Presents’ stage is going to be offering a range of quality solo acoustic musicians, who are engaging and committed performers, who all write and perform their own material, to an exceptionally high level. For some of them this is their first festival but they are all experienced performers and we can't wait to see the day unfold.
There will be a supportive, inclusive atmosphere and an area for seated appreciation of the music. This tented stage will benefit from tables and chairs for people who wish to get away from the madding crowd and enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of cake ( which will be available nearby ) before heading back out into the festival's fray.

Tickets are for sale via the website -

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Fall in for FolkCast's next Crackler!

Calling all musicians and poets: we are on the hunt for songs and verse of season for our Autumn special, which will be released in September. 

The Autumn Crackler will mix the most beautiful, vibrant and evocative music of the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with poetry and other readings which sum up the end of summer and the fall into winter.

As always, we focus on music from the fields of folk, folk-rock, singer-songwriter and roots - but other genres will also be considered if they go with the flow.

So, if you have music which is recorded - either original songs or covers - that has an autumnal theme, a time of change, of the darkening of days, of dark deeds and of Halloween, and would like it heard by an audience of thousands all around the world, send it along to FolkCast. Or if you have written poetry which celebrates that most bitter-sweet season, please get in touch.

Monday, 22 July 2013

"New" Moon for Fairport

Fairport Convention's
Rising For The Moon: Deluxe Two-Disc Edition
A new deluxe edition of Fairport Convention’s 1975 album, Rising For The Moon, is set to be released on August 26th. Rising For The Moon marked the only studio recordings by the line-up which saw Sandy Denny return to the group in 1974.

In 1969 the “classic” Fairport line-up recorded and released three albums (What We Did On Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking, Liege & Lief) all within a single year, and at the end of that frenetic period Sandy Denny quit the band. Following a spell with the short-lived Fotheringay, Sandy embarked on a distinguished solo career before being drawn back into Fairport. She ‘officially’ re-joined in February 1974 during a four night stint at LA’s Troubadour. A remarkable live recording by Fairport with Sandy from those legendary shows is finally released for the first time as the second disc on this new edition of Rising For The Moon.

By 26 January 1974, when Fairport became the first rock band to play the Sydney Opera House, the Nine line-up (Dave Swarbrick, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks, Trevor Lucas, and Jerry Donahue) had been augmented by Sandy Denny, now married to Lucas.  The resultant Fairport Live Convention (released in America as A Moveable Feast) confirmed how much the band had benefited from having Sandy back on board. Yet only weeks later, Sandy was more fully integrated into the band and the LA Troubadour dates present Fairport are at the top of their game. Such was the band’s parlous financial situation, they couldn’t afford to purchase the tapes from Wally Heider’s Mobile. Over the years odd selections trickled out but it was only on 2010’s definitive 19CD Sandy Denny box-set that the tracks featuring Sandy were properly mixed. Now, with the additional performances by Trevor Lucas and Dave Swarbrick included, fans can enjoy this brief but memorable line-up at its absolute best.
Fairport '75: (l-r) Sandy, Trevor, Swarb, Bruce, Peggy, Jerry
The setlist at the Troubadour is also unusual in that it was substantially different to the songs performed on Fairport Live Convention. In fact the recording features several songs the band never performed again including: Trevor Lucas’ ‘Ballad Of Ned Kelly’ originally on the ‘Fotheringay’ album, and ‘Down Where The Drunkards Roll’ (Trevor had sung background vocals on the original version on Richard and Linda Thompson’s I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight). Sandy performs a passionate version of Dylan’s ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’ and her own ‘Crazy Lady Blues’ performed here with an added verse. And, dipping into the Fairport back-catalogue, a haunting ‘She Moves Through The Fair’.

Further highlights include ‘Solo’ and ‘Like An Old Fashioned Waltz’ from Sandy’s third album, a spirited cover of Dylan’s ‘Down In The Flood’. Swarb delivers an effortless ‘The Hens March through the Midden’ and a spirited ‘The Hexamshire Lass’. Sandy’s signature ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’; a magisterial ‘Matty Groves’; plus the band rocking out on ‘Six Days On The Road’ and ‘That’ll Be The Day’.

With Sandy back in the band, Island Records made a greater commitment to Fairport’s next studio recording and, to that end, Glyn Johns was brought in as producer for Fairport’s 10th studio album. Johns’ pedigree was impeccable: Rolling Stones, Beatles, the Who, the Eagles… and he was emphatic that he wanted the new sessions to include only original material and no covers or traditional material for the first and only time on a Fairport album.

The album was recorded at Olympic Studios in two blocks. The first sessions began in December 1974, but during a break in January, Dave Mattacks quit and was replaced by ex-Grease Band drummer Bruce Rowland, who played on the remaining tracks and stayed on for the tours following the album release in June 1975.

Sandy Denny is the lady in red
The album included songs from all members of the band although seven of the album’s eleven tracks were penned in whole or partly by Sandy. Johns made them rehearse the new material, then sifted through to find the best and, on many levels, Rising For The Moon was indeed a triumph. Sandy is in fine vocal form; the band gels instrumentally and songs like the title track, ‘Stranger To Himself’ and ‘One More Chance’ (featuring blistering guitar from Jerry Donahue) are among Fairport’s best ever. Swarb’s ‘White Dress’ was sufficiently strong to be chosen as the album’s only 7” single.

Even Sandy - though happy with the finished album - recognised that the financial and personal strain it had put on the band made a split inevitable and by the end of 1975, first guitarist Jerry Donahue, then Sandy and Trevor decided to leave the group. The original Rising For The Moon is now ripe for reappraisal whereas at the time it raised the question was it a Sandy Denny album or a Fairport album? Of course it’s both and, whichever way you look at it, one of Fairport’s and Sandy’s best and most underrated records.

Now enriched on this Deluxe edition by 21 additional tracks - including a beautiful, previously unreleased performance of ‘White Dress’ discovered in the LWT archive, there is also an alternate mix of ‘Dawn’; a studio demo with Sandy and Trevor of ‘What Is True’; and Sandy’s home demos of ‘After Halloween’, and ‘King And Queen Of England’, the latter written for the album but never recorded.

The album reviews at the time were largely positive. The Guardian judged the album “their best for six years… it ought to re-establish Fairport as a significant British band.” In the end it wasn’t to be, the rigours of touring and financial problems essentially driving the band to split. 

A truncated Fairport went on to record their final album for Island, Gottle O’ Gear, in 1976, Jerry Donahue went off to work with Joan Armatrading; Trevor produced Sandy’s 1977 album, Rendezvous; but within a year Sandy was dead. Despite her solo success, the Sandy many of her admirers remember with most fondness is the lady who fronted Fairport Convention during their glory years. 

So here then, are the beautiful songs she wrote and the music she made with the band second time around.


01: RISING FOR THE MOON  ( 4.08 )
02: RESTLESS   ( 4.01 )
03: WHITE DRESS   ( 3.44 )
04: LET IT GO  ( 2.00 )
06: WHAT IS TRUE ?   ( 3.33 )
07: IRON LION   ( 3.27 )
08: DAWN   ( 3.42 )
09: AFTER HALLOWEEN   ( 3.38 )
10: NIGHT-TIME GIRL   ( 2.56 )
11: ONE MORE CHANCE   ( 7.58 )


12: WHITE DRESS ( 3:24 ) Live on LWT – 9/8/1975
14: WHAT IS TRUE ? -  STUDIO DEMO ( 3:16 )


01: DOWN IN THE FLOOD    ( 3:13 )
02: BALLAD OF NED KELLY ( 3:59 )
03: SOLO ( 5:40 )
04: IT’LL TAKE A LONG TIME ( 5:35 )
09: SIX DAYS ON THE ROAD ( 3:38 )
11: JOHN THE GUN ( 5:10 )
13: CRAZY LADY BLUES ( 3:54 )
15: MATTY GROVES ( 7:05 )

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Phoebus rises again

In 1972, Lal and Mike Waterson released ‘Bright Phoebus’, their only album ever to feature original rather than traditional songs, with guests including Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson and Maddy Prior.

This October, you can hear members of the legendary Waterson Family, Martin and Eliza Carthy, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley, Oliver Knight, John Smith and Kami Thompson pay homage to the release and the duo’s work at the Bright Phoebus Revisited Tour. 

The short tour begins in London at the Barbican 11th October and culminates in Bristol on the 16th October. Songs from the album will be performed live for the very first time, along with previously unheard and unreleased songs by Lal and Mike. 

‘Bright Phoebus’ has long been acknowledged as one of the finest achievements of the British folk revival, mixing poetic ballads of life, death, love and longing with a humorous and surreal world view. It was a significant stage in Lal and Mike Waterson’s illustrious career, which you can learn more about in our In-Depth history on The Watersons. 

The up-coming tour gives fans new and old the chance to experience the album, which has remained out of print for many years, live from a collective of phenomenal musicians. 

You can be part of the experience at one of the dates below: 
The concerts will be directed by Kate St John, a composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with everyone from Lou Reed to Philip Glass and The Waterboys. Kate has also collaborated extensively with New York producer Hal Wilner on concert tributes including ‘Came So Far For Beauty’ (Leonard Cohen) and ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ (Johnny Depp), as well as Damon Albarn’s opera, ‘Monkey’.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Calling all Cropredy Conventionists!

Get the inside scoop on Fairport's Cropredy Convention 2013 with the FolkCast festival preview podcast. 

Starring are exclusive interviews with Fairport fellas Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol, plus special features and loads of music from this year's line-up to get you in the festival mood. 

Peggy talks us through the music, Simon chats about the organisation of the festival, and we meet Cropredy stalwarts Fair-mobility and saucy superfans The McBastards, plus we've a focus on the Village Fringe.

Let the Cropredy Countdown begin! 

Download the podcast or listen online now, for free, at