Mar 18, 2018   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

There’s a perfect blend of international artists, festival favourites and music legends lined up for this year’s Gate To Southwell in June (7th to 11th).   Adding to the fine mix there are also some talented Midlands acts including the megafolk of Birmingham’s Destroyers, the stunning harmonies of Lincolnshire’s Winter Wilson, the country blues of Derbyshire’s Rogue Embers, the bluegrass Americana of North Lincolnshire’s The Life And Times Of The Brothers Hogg – one of last year’s festival highlights – plus the fantastic folk-country of the highly-rated Rye Sisters also from Lincolnshire.  Throw into this regional music stew the extraordinary land-locked pirate prog-rock-meets-world-music of Nottingham’s Seas Of Mirth and clearly there’s something for even the most eclectic and eccentric of tastes.

Derby’s Josh O’Keefe might sound like an unlikely contender for the role of the next Bob Dylan or the heir to Woody Guthrie, yet his raw politically-charged songwriting, his harmonica-playing and his powerful gravelly vocals are already attracting high praise and respectful comparisons.   One critic suggested that he sounded as if his voice had been “crafted from many decades of nicotine, hard-living and alcohol in the Deep South”.  Only in his mid-20s, Josh has moved to the Nashville skyline to inhale the ghosts of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and already has a new record deal.

One of America’s most successful and established singer-songwriters, Gretchen Peters, will be among the Gate headline acts.  Grammy-nominated and recently inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, her 2015 UK tour sold out and featured an acclaimed performance at Glastonbury.  She’ll be appearing in the Southwell Big Top on Saturday June 9th.

Also already booked for the East Midlands’ premier roots and acoustic event are hugely-successful veteran Geordies Lindisfarne, award-winning folkies The Young’uns, one of Ireland’s greatest singers Cara Dillon (performing with special guests), Danish roots stars Habadekuk, brilliant Devon guitarist and singer-songwriter John Smith, acclaimed Canadian fiddlers The Fitzgeralds and 2017 BBC Folk Singer of the Year Kris Drever.  There’ll also be a special Blues Night (Thursday 7th) to mark the festival’s opening and this will feature Britain’s number one R&B band Nine Below Zero, authentic Louisiana bluesmen The Lil’ Jimmy Reed Band and the UK’s best slide guitarist Johnny Dickinson.

Joining the eclectic, international bill there’s Scotland’s Blue Rose Code, the Canadian jazz-meets-klezmer-meets-folk of The Boxcar Boys, acclaimed Southwell regulars Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, 2017 BBC Group of the Year The Furrow Collective, those irresistibly entertaining Canadian hillbillies Ol Savannah, the traditional Celtic dance fused with funk & jazz of Dallahan, much-loved global troubadour Rory McLeod, the Canadian roots rock of James Keelaghan & Hugh McMillan, highly-rated harmonious Celts Mongoose and the award-winning songstress Vikki Clayton (who’s performed with both Fairport Convention and Fotheringay).

While charismatic Jeff Warner, one of America’s foremost performers and interpreters of traditional music, returns following his excellent appearance in 2014, Truckstop Honeymoon – fusing bluegrass, punk rock and soul with music hall jazz and rock & roll – will be welcome newcomers to Southwell in June. They took to the road in 2005 after their New Orleans home, and their recording studio, were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  Since then, they’ve settled in Kansas but still continue to travel the world with their four kids.

Last but not least there’s the East Anglian Americana of The Shackleton Trio, promising folk duo Harbottle & Jonas, the alt-folk harp and guitar of Brighton’s Ellie Ford and her band, and the bright young box and fiddle partnership of Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley.   These diverse acts will add to the great party atmosphere at this most family-friendly of festivals, which also features workshops, ceilidhs, dance displays, children’s entertainment, a craft fair plus great food and drink tents.

Tier Two tickets (at discounted prices while stocks last!) are available for this four-day event in beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside from Thursday June 7th to Sunday June 10th.    Follow this link to Gate To Southwell 2018 to find out more – www.gtsf.uk

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Gate to Southwell Festival