Gate To Southwell (4th-7th June 2015) in Nottinghamshire has continued to evolve since its humble origins in 2007 during which time the festival has continued to build on their annual success. This year sees the festival moving to a better location near Southwell Racecourse which offers better drainage and because it is slightly bigger, means all the camping and caravans can be right next to the main field – an added bonus for sure.
With the anticipation of an improved festival site they’re also getting excited over their line-up and rightly so as they announce their headliners. This year will see protest singer Billy Bragg taking to the Southwell stage and for those that read Paul’s live review of his milestone show at London’s Hammersmith Apollo will know they’re in for a treat. In short, as Paul described him “Billy Bragg; grey militant, fist-in-the-air folkie, political Country boy, soppy old sod. Brilliant.”
If that wasn’t enough their second headliner is a family band formed way back in 1970 in Gweedore, County Donegal. They would go on to take the world by storm with their own unique brand of Celtic fusion – the legendary Clannad. They have been proving that their heydays are far from over by following their 2013 studio album Nádúr, their first in 15 years, with globetrotting tours and a lifetime achievement award at last year’s BBC Folk Awards. The Gate to Southwell crowd will get to see the return of Moya Brennan, who appeared at last year’s festival, alongside her brothers Ciaran and Pol, and her uncles Noel and Padraig, the original line-up is augmented by drummer Ged Lynch (Icycle Works, Peter Gabriel) and keyboard maestro Ian Parker (The Hollies, Tom Robinson Band).
There will be a strong international flavour to this year’s line-up with 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 & Andy Cutting. Multi-award winner Wood will also appear solo whilst Cutting performs in the new ‘super trio’ alongside Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr. Plus the celebrated Urban Folk Quartet, Teeside’s cult harmony band The Young’uns and festival favourites Coco & The Butterfields join the bill with a new collaboration The Tweed Project and the fifty-piece extravaganza The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble represent the young face of folk and acoustic music. Here’s a video taster with some vintage video that was difficult to resist:
You can purchase early bird tickets until March 6th.
More here: southwellfolkfestival.org.uk