It’s the tenth anniversary of the Gate To Southwell Festival next week (from Thursday June 9th to Sunday June 12th) and, to celebrate this great East Midlands music occasion, plenty of talented young local artists will be given the opportunity to shine alongside international stars.
Attracting musicians from as far a field as Canada and the USA, and with headline acts such as Appalachian hillbilly heroes Hayseed Dixie (Friday), the great English roots band Show Of Hands (Saturday) and legendary Scottish vocalist Eddi Reader (Sunday), the Gate To Southwell Festival will get off to an explosive start with a firework party and the launch of a new Arts Council-backed “alternative” stage.
The opening night party on Thursday 9th features one of Ireland’s greatest traditional folk acts Kila headlining the main stage alongside Jim Moray and Sam Carter’s new band False Lights. Plus, the alternative stage will feature diverse acts such as the Latin passion of Alejandro Toledo’s Full Attack Band and Glaswegian alt-country stars James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band.
Also on the bill are Nottingham’s highly-rated rising indie sons Same Streets – an exciting four-piece rock & roll band featuring young musicians from Arnold, Beeston, Long Eaton and Southwell. With James Gooch on guitar and vocals, Jacob Harris on guitar, Isaac Bloomfield on bass and backing vocals and Seb McNish on drums, Same Streets have already supported The Enemy at Rock City and had their music played by Huw Stevens on Radio One. They’ve also guested alongside established bands such as Red Faces, Rifles, Sherlocks and Fronteers, and their growing reputation on the circuit for incendiary performances has made them a band to look out for this year.
“Our main influences include the Rolling Stones, Iggy & The Stooges, the Las and David Bowie,” says drummer Seb McNish. “We’ve got a great summer ahead of us. There’re a few festivals including Southwell, Dot To Dot and the Isle of Wight.”
Another youthful local act appearing at the festival for the first time is upcoming singer-songwriter Jake Burns. Originally from Mansfield but now living in Burton Joyce, Jake’s debut EP ‘California Bound’ has received great praise from critics and plenty of radio play. Its lyrics name-check many of his American inspirations and influences, including Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and David Crosby.
“I think I own every Simon & Garfunkel record there is,” admits Jake, “and I still find myself listening to them from time to time. Paul Simon was and still is my musical hero but I also listen a lot to Conor Oberst and Crowded House at the moment.”
Also appearing at next week’s festival, there’s highly-acclaimed sweet-voiced Nottingham singer-songwriter Tiger. Recently turned eighteen, she supported Canadian band The East Pointers in Southwell earlier this year and also delivered an impressive showcase at Rough Trade Records. Self-penned tracks such as ‘Contender’ and ‘Let Me Hold You’ also earned her a slot on the BBC Introducing East Midlands show.
Added to this array of local talent, there’s also Cheshire And The Cat, the seven piece Future Sound of Nottingham finalists who’ve previously played Glastonbury, Dot To Dot and Soundwave in Croatia. Over the past few years, they’ve built a reputation mixing soul and funk with breaks of reggae and rock. With new material in the pipeline and a whole new repertoire of songs, 2016 will see the Cats step up to an even higher level.
Last but not least, one of Nottingham’s most exotic sounding and best-loved acts, Maniere Des Bohemians, return to play Gate To Southwell with their hot brand of Django Reinhardt-inspired and Stephane Grappelli-influenced Gypsy Jazz and Eastern European swing.
With five different music stages, great family entertainment, plus the usual fine mix of food and drink tents, a craft fair, a beer and cider festival plus pub sessions in town, the tenth Gate To Southwell is guaranteed to be an unmissable Midlands event.
For more details visit the website – www.gtsf.org
Bob Dylan has just celebrated his 75th birthday (May 24th 2016) and, fashionably late, there’ll be a special tribute concert at the upcoming 10th Gate To Southwell Festival on Saturday June 11th.
Backed by a fantastic festival band, led by Jim Moray of False Lights, there’ll be special guest performances of Dylan classics by Steve Knightley, Jackie Oates, The Henry Girls, Canada’s Meaghan Blanchard, California’s Ooks Of Hazzard plus Mick Ryan & Paul Downes and Pete Morton.
The festival, at Southwell racecourse in Nottinghamshire, kicks off on Thursday June 9th with a special firework party, Irish folk headliners Kila and False Lights on the main stage, plus the launch of the Arts Council-backed alternative stage featuring Glasgow’s James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band, Nottingham’s Same Streets and Latin stars Alejandro Toledo’s Full Attack Band.
On Friday night (10th) Appalachian hillbilly rockers Hayseed Dixie headline a great evening of international music. As well as the Dylan Tribute, Saturday also sees the return of festival favourites Show Of Hands plus diverse acclaimed and award-winning acts such as Vishten from Canada, Mawkin, The Teacups, rising Cornish stars Flats & Sharps and the Jackie Oates Trio. Sunday (12th) will be headlined by the wonderful Eddi Reader with support from the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, Moulettes, The Jeremiahs, BBC Folk award winners Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys and much more.
There’s also a Southwell Slam poetry competition on the Sunday afternoon to find the Festival Bard for 2016. Budding writers, poets and performers should email Southwellslam@gmail.com to enter.
With five different music stages, great family entertainment, a fine mix of food and drink tents, a craft fair, a beer and cider festival plus pub sessions in town, the 10th Gate To Southwell is guaranteed to be an un-missable long Midlands weekend.
Visit the Gate To Southwell website for more details on festival events – www.gtsf.uk. Or book tickets via http://bit.ly/1TTMFlA
There’ll be an explosive start to the Gate To Southwell festival on Thursday June 9th. To celebrate the tenth birthday of the Midlands’ premier acoustic and roots event, there’s an evening of great music plus a firework display at the site near Southwell Racecourse. The fireworks, and free buses between Southwell and the festival site, have been sponsored by Gusto Homes/Becher’s Court, the new development on Southwell’s Burgage.
The opening night party features one of Ireland’s greatest traditional folk acts Kila headlining alongside Jim Moray and Sam Carter’s new band False Lights. Plus there’s the festival’s new “alternative stage” featuring diverse acts such as the Latin passion of Alejandro Toledo’s Full Attack Band, multi-instrumental harmonious four-piece The BeauBowBelles from London, Nottingham’s highly-rated rising indie sons Same Streets, and Glaswegian alt-country stars James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band.
“It promises to be a great start to the 10th birthday weekend,” says festival director Mike Kirrage. “We’ve come a long way since the first festival with less than 500 people attending. This year we’re expecting around 4000 visitors to Southwell over the four days and we’re increasingly attracting great artists from all over the world.”
Following Kila on Thursday, the festival continues with American hillbilly stars Hayseed Dixie headlining on Friday (10th) and English folk roots favourites Show of Hands making a welcome return on Saturday evening (11th). Scotland’s Eddi Reader will bring the tenth celebrations to an emotional and entertaining close on Sunday night (12th).
“We’re extremely grateful for the help we receive to make the festival run smoothly and be successful,” says Mike Kirrage. “There’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes from our committee, stewards and many other volunteers and we really value the support we get from the people and businesses of Southwell and the surrounding region. Long may it continue.”
With five different music stages, great family entertainment, plus the usual fine mix of food and drink tents, a craft fair, a beer and cider festival plus pub sessions in town, the 10th Gate To Southwell (June 9th-12th) is guaranteed to be an unmissable Midlands event.
*To help promote the 10th festival there’s an advance pop-up gig in Nottingham this Saturday night (May 14th) featuring the highly-entertaining Penny Black Remedy with support from Cheshire & The Cat. The venue is Spanky Van Dyke’s at 17 Goldsmith Street, Nottingham NG1 5JT. Doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets £10. Venue contact: 0115 924 3730.
HOMEGROWN TALENT JOIN INTERNATIONAL STARS AT 10th GATE TO SOUTHWELL FESTIVAL JUNE 2016
A bright new wave of young English musical talent will shine at the 10th anniversary Gate To Southwell Festival next June.
Alongside multi-award-winning headline acts Hayseed Dixie, Show Of Hands, Scotland’s Eddi Reader and Ireland’s Kila, the Midlands’ premier acoustic and roots event will showcase eagerly-anticipated performances from acclaimed homegrown talent including young singer-songwriter Ange Hardy, rising bluegrass stars Flats & Sharps, the youthful acapella quartet The Teacups, Birmingham’s inspiring and entertaining Conservatoire Folk Ensemble (returning by popular demand) and, one of the most acclaimed acts of 2015, Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys.
Recently described as “absolutely brilliant” by Mike Harding, as a teenager Sam was a runner up on Britain’s Got Talent, losing out to Ashleigh and Pudsey the dog in 2012!! His presence in June, alongside diverse other bright young acts, will build on Gate to Southwell’s growing reputation for developing new talent. In previous years, The Young’uns and Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar have used the festival as a career springboard. In common with these two award winning acts Sam has great audience rapport, which will no doubt be boosted by Ciaran’s presence in his current band.
There’s also the “folk rock explosion” False Lights, a new band featuring award-winners Jim Moray and Sam Carter, who take the spirit of the Sixties and create fresh sounds somewhere between Fairport Convention, Radiohead and Queens Of The Stone Age. BBC folk radio DJ Mark Radcliffe described their 2015 debut LP ‘Salvor’ – recorded in deepest Lincolnshire – as “quite brilliant”. Jim’s sister, the singer and fiddler Jackie Oates – previously of the Unthanks and The Imagined Village – returns to Southwell with her trio, following the success of her own album ‘The Spyglass & The Herringbone’.
Further developing the festival’s international reputation for eclectic acoustic roots music, there are great names from much further afield. Following an autumn reconnaissance trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada, by two of the festival organizers, there are the first English appearances by the extraordinary French-Canadian multi-instrumental trio Vishtèn and the flame-haired country singer- songwriter and superb guitarist Meaghan Blanchard.
Plus, being flown in specially to headline at The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain, the following weekend, Southwell welcomes the bizarre Californian nine-piece act Ooks Of Hazzard whose covers of rock classics by Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd have brought the uke players “worldwide attention” (according to the LA Times).
Other acts already announced to appear at the tenth festival celebrations, which runs from Thursday 9th until Sunday 12th June 2016, include the popular trad-Irish-meets-Americana of Donegal’s The Henry Girls, the electrifying dance energy of Hérétique and the “charismatic psychedelic classical folk” of Brighton’s Moulettes.
The Jeremiahs combine traditional and contemporary sounds to create their own brand of Urban Folk music. Since founding in 2013 the quartet have trailblazed across Ireland and Europe playing some of the top venues and Festivals.
Joe Gibney Vocals/whistle
Brian Corry Tin whistle/Flute
James Ryan Guitar/Bouzouki
Jean Christophe Morel Fiddle/Mandola
“One of the freshest bands in Irish traditional music” Séan Laffey Irish Music Magazine
’Superb musicians who engage with their audience to produce a memorable show, definitely not to be missed. Irish Music at its very best.’ Charles Devlin, Director Ireby Festival”
We have teamed up with Liftshare to make car-sharing to the festival easier. Details on our website here:
Folk Radio UK has published the first in a series of reviews of Gate to Southwell 2015. Here is their intro, and link to the review
“In part one of our live review of Gate to Southwell Festival Johnny takes in top performances from Ranagri, The Hot Seats, Chris Wood, Billy Bragg & The Young’uns. It was, without a doubt, a superb festival and we have more to come! ”
WE BANJO 3, BOC, THE RAILSPLITTERS, CHRIS WOOD, COCO & THE BUTTERFIELDS & MANY MORE – 5th & 6th June 2015
Gate To Southwell Festival weekend (Saturday/Sunday)
If variety is the spice of festival life then there was no better place to be than Southwell in Nottinghamshire. In brilliant sunshine, on a new site near the racecourse, the Gate To Southwell event built on the successes of Thursday (Billy Bragg) and Friday (Clannad and The Young’Uns) to deliver a truly eclectic international mix of acoustic and roots music, plus great family entertainment and some of the most ferocious folk dancing in town by sides such as the Anstey Morrismen, the Witchmen and Nottingham’s own Whip The Cat and Mortimers.
Following the traditional Saturday procession, and taster pub performances by acts including Granny’s Attic, The Rusty Sunsand Said The Maiden, the centre of attention became the festival site. Given the high quality and great entertainment value of the diverse artists on display across four different stages, it was tough deciding which to focus on. There were even magical moments for children, with the irreverent puppetry of Pickled Image, the masterful juggling hilarity of Dan the Hat, as well as popular distractions from water zorbing, trampolining and climbing through to creative musical and craft workshops. And let’s not forget the top quality folk dance-off by local primary schools on Sunday and the fancy dress parade led by sci-folk band Maia.
On the main stage on Saturday night, there was an atmospheric splendour about the performances of Chris Wood and Andy Cutting followed by group of the moment, Galway’s We Banjo 3. Wood – who also performed brilliantly solo on Sunday afternoon – is a genius on fiddle and guitar and one of the finest songwriters of modern times; he combined with Cutting’s magic melodeon to create a mesmerizing and affecting blend of traditional English and French folk music. In contrast, the two sets of brothers who make up We Banjo 3 (yes, there’s four of ‘em!) worked wonders mixing traditional Irish sounds with cutting edge banjo-powered bluegrass Americana. Believe me, live they’re as excellent as their acclaimed ‘Gather The Good’ CD suggested.
As if this wasn’t enough there was a double-bill of comedic anarchy and global frenzy on the second stage. CoCo And The Butterfields combined banjos, fiddles and double bass with mad Scandinavian horns and an overactive beatboxer. Onstage they looked like refugees from a weird variety of different genre bands, but together they summoned up a whirlwind of influences. Great energetic performers, their recent single ‘Warriors’ had echoes of Adam Ant and House Of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ gets a mad folk rap makeover here.
Hot on their heels came BOC, an eight-piece band from Mallorca – playing outside Spain for the first time – who must have swallowed the entire musical history of Europe and Northern Africa. Eastern European gypsy dance rhythms might be at the very heart of what they do, but there’s metal, ska, klezmer, Spanish folk and a whole host of other exotic ingredients in their very strange but irresistible soup. It’s no wonder Southwell has such a growing reputation for spotting emerging talent, having given The Young’Uns their first festival break six years ago, confident that music fans who flock to the festival are always appreciative of original talent.
Elsewhere – more low key but equally intriguing, there were plenty of original young talents on display, such as Leicester’s The Skunk Boy Project with his ukulele and thoughtful, funny, even spiritual lyrics on songs such as ‘Fourth On My List Of Evil Dictators’, and also Harry Skully from Leeds University who won the Open Mic competition singing traditional songs in the style of a young MacColl.
One of the greatest strengths of this year’s festival was the sheer quality of American bands performing at Southwell and in the UK for the first time. Following the Appalachian sounds of the Hot Seats from Virginia, came the beautiful, intimate and melancholic songs of Mark Rogers and Mary Byrne from Brooklyn. Add to this the entertaining Americana rock of San Francisco’s Blind Willies and we were already being spoilt for choice. But then came The Railsplitters, a two guys two gals roots band with a country twang from Colorado featuring great names like Lauren Stovall on guitar and Dusty Rider on banjo. Together they delivered a brilliant set of past and present classic bluegrass; among them, ‘My World’ was one of the sweetest country tracks of recent years.
Yet all these performances were matched by homegrown UK talents such as highly-entertaining Celtic folk rockers Manran, featuring extra fine fiddle, accordion, flute, and Highland pipes, the stylish Tweed Project – a youthfully brilliant blend of Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar with the Mischa Mcpherson Trio – and last but not least the remarkable Conservatoire Folk Ensemblefrom Birmingham, led by Joe Broughton of the Urban Folk Quartet. Given the responsibility of delivering an upbeat energetic finale to the festival late on Sunday night, the Conservatoire featured around 50 of the brightest young folk musicians in the country. As a result, the main stage was absolutely rammed with a global fusion of roots musics, and bouncing with such boundless energy and fresh talent that the big marquee crowd was overwhelmed with musical enthusiasm and appreciation.
Without doubt, it’s been a fantastic few days in Southwell in early June 2015. But it’ll be a really hard act to follow in 2016! Can’t wait…
Len Brown 2015
2017 Line up
The line-up so far:
Le Vent du Nord
The Changing Room (feat. Tanya Brittain & Sam Kelly)
The East Pointers
Attila the Stockbroker
The Ooks of Hazzard
Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin
Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley
Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage
The Rubber Wellies
James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band
Alden Patterson & Dashwood
Idiot & Friend
Dana Immanuel & the Stolen Band
Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra
Follow our Spotify playlist to hear artists as they are added.
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