Whatever the weather this May Bank Holiday (Sat 5th – Mon 7th May) you can expect it to be warm and dry at Bristol Folk Festival this year which takes place indoors (indoor camping as well!). Plus, a stellar lineup is promised with some of biggest names in British folk music. There will be 40 hours of non-stop music on the main stage, the Fred Wedlock Stage and – offering a platform to local and new talent – the Isambard’s Kingdom stage.
Show of Hands who celebrate their 20th anniversary this year will headline the opening day with their special guests –award-winning Scottish singer songwriter Karine Polwart and Rodney Branigan – while across at Bristol’s O2 Academy Newton Faulkner will be performing a sold-out show as part of the festival.
Sunday promises to be equally entertaining with Derry songstress Cara Dillon (read our 2010 interview here), along with her special guests who are all luminaries on the Celtic music scene – exceptionally talented flute legend Michael McGoldrick, together with Donal Lunny and Máirtín O’Connor.
On Bank Holiday Monday the Celtic theme continues but this time fused with the spice and dominant rhythms of Africa as the Afro Celt Sound System make what is due to be their only summer festival appearance this year to ensure the event’s flamboyant finale.
The enviable line-up also includes the winner of the 2012 Horizon Award (Best Newcomer) at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – Derbyshire’s unique Lucy Ward; the winners of the festival’s 2012 Isambard Folk Award (co-sponsored by Folk Radio UK & Songs from the Shed) for emerging talent – Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker – and Somerset teenager Kitty Macfarlane, famous for her “Bus Song” featured on Radio 4.
Other exciting young acts will include Essex Mawkin who recently released a stunning new album, Lady Maisery, Cole Stacey, 17-year-old singer-songwriter Luke Jackson, Blair Dunlop, Moore Moss and Rutter, The Young’Uns and last year’s Isambard winners, the Welsh surf-folk band Under the Driftwood Tree.
A brilliant line-up of dynamic duos include: Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston, O’Hooley and Tidow, Maggie Boyle and Paul Downes, Sam Sweeney and Hannah Martin , Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts, Duotone, Alan Doyle and Dave Garner, Walsh and Pound, Wales’s Amy Wadge & Pete Riley and ex Waking the Witch members Patsy Matheson and Becky Mills.
Other leading names include the hugely popular alt-country band ahab, Cornwall’s 3 Daft Monkeys and Ruarri Joseph, Scotland’s Rory McLeod & Band and Rua McMillan Trio (who also host a ceilidh), the mysterious Ghosts from the Basement, Joe Tilston, Ewan McLennan, Robbie Boyd, Benji Kirkpatrick, Emily Wright, Solarference, Steve Turner and James Froud Band.
The festival will be awash with Morris sides from all over the South West while throwing some theatre and literature into the mix will be “The Bard of Windmill Hill” (Trevor Carter) and a performance of the mummers’ play “ The Lionheart and Prince Albert”. Plus workshops, poetry, a mummers’ play, open-mic sessions, real ale and a market spread across three floors of the Colston Hall.
Great value weekend tickets are available price £80 (£70 concessions) and £250 for a family ticket (two adults and two children aged 5-15). Day tickets are available at £30 (Saturday), £35 (Sunday) and £40 (Monday) with a £2 concession for 5-15s, students, pensioners, disabled and unwaged).Under 5s go free.
Price-beating stand-alone concert tickets for both Cara Dillon’s evening session, including opening sets by Dave Garner and Alan Doyle and Ruarri Joseph are available (£16 advance) and also for Afro Celt Sound System (opening sets by Benji Kirkpatrick and 3 Daft Monkeys) price £18.
Indoor camping is at the impressive St Mary on the Quay church, just a stone’s throw from the venue, at just £12 a night or £30 for the three nights. (under 5s free). Camping tickets are available from the Colston Hall box office.
We have a pair of weekend tickets for the event to giveaway. For a chance to win them just email us (alex [at] folkradio.co.uk) with “BFF” in the subject title along with your name. The winner will be notified by email. CLOSING DATE: 1st MAY