Feb 16, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

Britain’s most successful protest singer BILLY BRAGG and legendary Celtic band CLANNAD are among the headline acts set to play the Gate To Southwell Festival 2015 in Nottinghamshire this summer. With an even more eclectic range of roots and acoustic music the East Midlands’ premier event will be moving to a new home for 2015, near Southwell Racecourse from June 4th to 7th

Billy Bragg


For over 30 years Billy Bragg has walked in the troubadour footsteps of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and has worked with many great names in popular music including Paul Weller, Natalie Merchant and Kirsty MacColl (who famously covered his song ‘A New England’).  His ‘Mermaid Avenue’ albums with the American alternative country band Wilco received huge acclaim in the States, and he had a UK number one single with The Beatles’ She’s Leaving Home’. 

A former squaddie turned political activist and fine songwriter (‘Levi Stubbs’ Tears’, ‘Sexuality’, ‘We Laughed’) Billy’s equally at home onstage with his band The Blokes or on the panel of BBC’s Question Time.  He’ll be the star turn on Thursday June 4th.



Following Moya Brennan’s celebrated cameo appearance at last year’s Southwell festival, she returns with the classic Clannad line-up to headline on Friday June 5th.  Alongside her brothers Ciaran and Pol, and her uncles Noel and Padraig, the original line-up is augmented by drummer Ged Lynch (The Icycle Works, Peter Gabriel) and keyboard maestro Ian Parker (The Hollies, Tom Robinson Band). Clannad received Lifetime Achievement recognition at last year’s BBC Folk Awards and, throughout their 45 year career, they’ve won Grammy, BAFTA, Ivor Novello and Celtic prizes for albums such as ‘Macalla’, ‘Anam’ and 2013’s ‘Nadur’.  Along the way they’ve had international hits with the themes from Harry’s Game and Robin of Sherwood, ‘In A Lifetime’ (with Bono), and ‘I Will Find You’ from the soundtrack to The Last Of The Mohicans

Announcing their strongest line-up to date, for 2015 the festival is moving to a better-drained, more user-friendly site close to Southwell Racecourse.  

According to festival director Mike Kirrage, “the new site gives us greater options.  It’s flatter, has better access and is bigger than before. We’ll have the opportunity of an extra outdoor stage when the sun shines.  But all the familiar fringe events will carry on, including the Saturday dance procession and Minster concert. 

“We’re hoping all the residents and businesses of Southwell and the surrounding order will continue to support this brilliant local event.  We’ll continue to provide great music, a great atmosphere and all you have come to love about the Biggest Little Festival In Britain.”

 We Banjo 3


There will be a strong International flavour headed by Irish Celtic/bluegrass crossover stars We Banjo 3  headlining on Saturday, the highly-acclaimed Hot Seats from Virginia USA, Scottish roots rockers Manran, The Railsplitters from the Colorado Rockies, the raw Spanish folk brilliance of BOC from Mallorca, a welcome return for Cloudstreet from Australia and one of the last of the golden generation of authentic bluesmen still performing, Lil’ Jimmy Reed from Alabama. The home based talent on display includes two eagerly anticipated reunions, English vocal trio Artisan and the hugely influential Chris Wood and Andy Cutting. Multi award winner Wood will also appear solo whilst Cutting also performs in the new ‘super trio’ alongside Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr. The celebrated Urban Folk Quartet, Teeside’s cult harmony band the Young’uns, festival favourites Coco and the Butterfields, also appear, whilst the new collaboration The Tweed Project and the 50 piece extravaganza The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble represent the new young face of folk and acoustic music.

There’ll be free buses running all weekend from the festival site to and from the centre of Southwell plus better transport links with Nottingham, Newark and beyond.    A limited number of Early Bird discount tickets will be available until March 6th  via the festival website – – so those wanting to guarantee a great long weekend of international music, top comedy, children’s entertainment, ceilidhs and folk dancing, family fun, fantastic food and a beer and cider festival should book now or contact 01636 816678.



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Southwell Festival