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May 29, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

A host of star names from the global roots, folk and acoustic music scenes have joined the impressive international line-up for this month’s Gate To Southwell festival. 

Aside from catching Britain’s best-loved troubadour Billy Bragg – in concert on Thursday June 4th with The Hot Seats – there’s the only UK festival appearance by Celtic legends Clannad, on Friday June 5th, supported by BBC Folk Award 2015 winners The Young’uns plus the internationally-renowned Urban Folk Quartet.

This year’s festival, at the new site near Southwell Racecourse, has attracted some of the most exciting bands in Celtic, roots and traditional music including a string of highly-regarded American acts.  Alongside The Hot Seats (Virginia), there’s The Railsplitters from Colorado, Mark Rodgers & Mary Byrne from New York and San Francisco’s Blind Willies.

Confirming the festival’s growing reputation as the Midlands’ premier roots music event, the international flavour will be enhanced by appearances from Mallorcan stars BOC, Scotland’s Manran, Australian globetrotters Cloudstreet, Ireland’s We Banjo 3, and globally-inspired acts such as Ranagri and The Baghdaddies.  There’ll also be youthful alternative sounds from Maia, Clutching At Straws, Worry Dolls, Kings & Folk and The Rheingans Sisters, highly-regarded local acts The Rusty Suns, Swing Gitan and Maniere Des Bohemiens plus Leicestershire’s rising son Skunk Boy Project.

Alongside Billy Bragg, there are plenty of other strong singer-songwriters and original voices on show at Southwell including Anthony John Clarke, Edd Donovan, Sephty from Newcastle and Devon’s hotly tipped duo Moon Brother.

Traditional music fans will warm to the presence of reunited English vocal trio Artisan, The Tweed Project (combining Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar with the Mischa Macppherson Trio) and the hugely-influential partnership Chris Wood & Andy Cutting.  Multi-award winner Wood will also appear solo whilst Cutting performs in a new ‘super trio’ alongside Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr.  Festival favourites CoCo & The Butterfields also join the bill plus fifty-piece extravaganza The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble.

There’ll also be great family entertainment including the puppet magic of Pickled Image, the awesome Dan The Hat, music workshops from Maia and The Young’Uns, the brilliant storytelling of Walk The Lines and children’s music and dance from Cloudstreet and Johnny & The Raindrops.

Weekend, day and single concert tickets are available – Billy Bragg plus supports on Thursday (£20), Clannad plus supports on Friday (£25) – plus Teaser Tickets can be purchased in advance (£15 adults) or for £20 on the gate.   To enhance the experience, and boost business in Southwell too, there’ll be free buses running all weekend from mid-morning til 1245am between the festival site and the town centre.

For full details of artists, family entertainment and other events visit the festival website –  It promises to be a fantastic long weekend of international music, top comedy, ceilidhs, great food and craft stalls and a beer and cider festival.






Blind Willies

May 8, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

New booking announcement: San Fransisco’s Blind Willies set to play Sunday 7th June. “Glory be, they sound like a mutant of The Holy Modal Rounders and Violent Femmes, which is just dandy.” fROOTS, UK

blind willies 1

Last day of discounted tickets!

May 7, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

Today, Thursday 7th, is the last day of discounted tickets. From tomorrow all tickets will be full price, so don’t delay! We also have availability of single day and concert tickets – Billy Bragg on Thursday (£20) and Clannad on Friday (£25). Click here for more information on tickets.




Apr 30, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

We have just made the decision to extend the availability of discounted tickets to 7th May.

So you now have until election day to get cheaper tickets for the festival – vote Gate to Southwell for the best in roots and acoustic music from across the world!



Clannad tickets now available

Apr 28, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

We have released a limited number of Friday evening tickets giving you the opportunity to see Clannad, supported by the fantastic Urban Folk Quartet and the newly crowned BBC Folk Awards “Best Group” the Young ‘uns. Clannad’s only summer UK gig – tickets £25


New site photos

Apr 24, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

We have just taken some pictures of the new fields, adjacent to Southwell Racecourse, click here to see them.


Festival public transport update

Apr 23, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

We have made arrangements for some additional buses to and from Nottingham over the festival making it easier than ever to come and go if you don’t want to camp. Rolleston train station is right next to the site with access to Nottingham and Newark, and we have a shuttle bus running between the centre of Southwell and the festival site across the weekend. See here for details, or check the website under FAQ.

GTSF transport_001


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.



Southwell Goes Global!

Jun 6, 2014   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

This year again we are providing, via Micro Video, a live stream of the festival.
This is made available free-of-charge via the internet and the streaming allows for text messages to be sent in to us so that in between the performances, we can broadcast messages from family and friends around the world on the giant video screens either side of the main stage!

HTML5 player for Apple, Android and Mobil


We are up and running!

Jun 5, 2014   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

Blue skys are welcoming the first arrivals and the music has started! Tickets are still available at the gate for the weekend or just one day at a time….what are you waiting for?!


Southwell Festival