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Southwell Folk Festival 2014 – “International Feast of Folk and Roots Music”

Jan 10, 2014   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

The line-up for this year’s Gate to Southwell Folk Festival (June 5-8 2014) is almost complete and, yet again, promises an international feast of folk and roots music.

Headline acts will include The Bills – the award-winning acoustic folk roots quintet from Canada’s West Coast, internationally acclaimed for their panoramic, mischievous, fiercely unpretentious sound – and Scotland’s Treacherous Orchestra, stars of the Shrewsbury Folk Festival last year.  Already one of the most entertaining acts on the festival circuit, this 10 piece roots supergroup (featuring fiddles, flutes, banjos, bagpipes and drums) were nominated for the Best Group in the 2013 BBC Folk Awards.


Plus there’ll be the acclaimed all-female folk band The Poozies and the extraordinary, ever-changing 20-years-young Feast of Fiddles, an outfit starring fiddling legends such as Phil Beer (Show of Hands), Ian Cutler (Fairport collaborator), Peter Knight (Steeleye Span), Chris Leslie (Fairport & Whippersnapper).  As one reviewer quipped, “they look like geography teachers, they play like angels”.


One of the most popular acts on the folk scene, Vin Garbutt will be making an overdue and very welcome return and there’s also the premiere of A Day’s Work, Mick Ryan’s fifth folk opera which will open the festival on the Thursday night.

Since winning the Best Original Song award for ‘The Herring Girl’ at the 2012 Folk Awards, Bella Hardy has become one of the major attractions on the British festival circuit.  Mojo magazine celebrated her debut album ‘Night Visiting’ and R2 described her 2009 LP ‘The Shadow Of The Mountains’ as simply “stunning”.  From Edale in Derbyshire, Bella and her band The Midnight Watch will be making their first appearance at the Southwell Folk Festival 2014, by which time she may well have won the Folk Singer of the Year award!

Confirming the growing international pull of the Southwell festival, the organisers are flying in The Sojourners, a much acclaimed gospel trio originally from Texas, Louisiana and Michigan but now based in Vancouver.  As leader Marcus Moseley explains, “this is real gospel, blessed with a soul that can’t be faked.  It’s music for the sinners or the saved, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey!”  The Sojourners have worked with such eminent artists such as the Dixie Hummingbirds, Dr John and The Blind Boys of Alabama so they’re bound to bring something original and different to Nottinghamshire.

Over the last seven years, the festival has grown to become the premier roots music and dance event in the East Midlands, guaranteeing more than 40 top quality performers over four days.

In addition to returning folk stars such as The Henry Girls and the excellent award-winning Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, the festival will also showcase major performers including Martyn Joseph and Stewart Henderson, acclaimed young Irish band Caladh Nua, American guitar legend Woody Mann, The Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson Big Band, The Ben Waters Band plus the mainstays of Nanci Griffiths’ band, The Kennedys, who will be performing with British songstress Edwina Hayes.


Other acts so far confirmed include  Polly & The Billets Doux, Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Jeff Warner, the Liam Robinson Dance Band, Keith Donnelly, Estonian duo Kadri Laube and Marju Varblane, the BeauBowBelles,  Skippers Alley, Hatful Of Rain, the Maccaferri Club, plus the UK’s latest folk-singing sensation, 15-year-old GraceSarah from Cambridge.

As previous visitors to the folk festival will testify, if you want to enjoy the best of folk and roots music or simply dance the nights away, Southwell is the place to be from June 5 to 8.

Early Bird reduced price tickets are now on sale for the event which, in addition to three days of international quality music and dance, promises a beer and cider festival, workshops, children’s entertainment and pub sessions throughout the town.  Tickets are available online – – or through local outlets including the Cathedral Shop Southwell, the main tourist centre in Nottingham, Woodlanders, of King Street Southwell, and RST Mices, Cartergate, Newark.

Feedback and dates for next year

Jun 13, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

Please go to the ‘Get Involved’ tab to send in your online feedback form.The festival will take place over the weekend of the 6th-8th June 2014. We will post here very soon if we decide to include Thursday 5th June

Jun 2, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments


Big Top Up – Weather Glorious and Looking Good

Jun 1, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

The site build has started with our brand new cosy sized big top  up and looking brilliant!

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May 2, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

Five thousand visitors are expected to attend this summer’s Gate to Southwell Folk Festival in Nottinghamshire bringing a welcome boost to the local economy.

Some of the best artists from the British and International Celtic, folk and roots music scenes will be performing on the site (near Southwell’s National Trust Workhouse) between June 6th and 9th including multi-award-winning headline acts such as Oysterband, Show of Hands, Home Service, Eliza Carthy & Jim Moray, Roddy Woomble and, from Canada, Genticorum and Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys.

Alongside these established acts, the Midlands’ premier music event has also attracted bright new talent like BBC Folk Award winners Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, Luke Jackson and Jess Morgan, who’s been championed by BBC DJ Steve Lamacq. Derby-born Lucy Ward – the singer /songwriter guitarist and concertina player, who featured on the BBC’s Inside Out – returns to Southwell by popular demand.

Also on the bill, there’s the newly-reformed Faustus, British folk’s best double act Tim Edey & Brendan Power and the award-winning Rura from Scotland. Ireland is well represented by multi-instrumentalist Niamh Ni Charra, sibling trio The Henry Girls and in-demand guitarist John Doyle.

Plus there’ll be many other eclectic acts such as the Derby-based acoustic collective The Open Road, Western swing combo Rip Roaring Success, fine purveyors of Celtic & English traditional folk like Newcastle’s Chloe’s Passion and Liverpool’s Galloway Culbert & Doyle, and the prohibition-era decadent jazz-swing sound of The Chuck Pinkett Quintett.

In addition to ceilidhs, musicians’ workshops and puppet shows, this family-friendly, volunteer-run community festival also promises a beer and cider festival, craft and food stalls, street theatre, sculpture in the woods and a children’s festival.

Guaranteed to provide a great long weekend of music, song, dance and fun, at the Workhouse site and other locations throughout Southwell, tickets are selling fast but still available via the website – For more information call 01636 816678.

Tunes Workshops Now Available

Apr 15, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

The book for our our popular Tunes Workshops is now available to download along with a selection of MP3s. Details available here

Provisional Workshop Programme Announced

Mar 30, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

The provisional programme of workshops is now available. More detail and more workshops to come.

The Open Road added to line-up

Mar 30, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

The latest addition to the bill are Derby based collective The Open Road

Two More Trios Added to Line-up

Mar 21, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

Two more bands,have been added to the bill. Both are  from the Liverpool/Wirral area but that’s where the similarity ends. Galloway, Culbert and Doyle play traditional English music. Rip-Roaring Success are a hot western swing combo.

Horizon Award and Young Folk Award nominee added to line-up

Mar 14, 2013   //   by mikekirrage   //   News  //  No Comments

The hugely talented up and coming singer songwriter Luke Jackson who was nominated in two categories in the 2013 BBC Folk Awards has been added to the bill.

Southwell Festival