East Anglia’s fast-rising “new kid on the block” festival, FolkEast is back for a fifth year this August, proving why it is nothing like other music festivals.
The three day festival will return to the glorious 300-acre Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall, the home of Major Philip Hope-Cobbold, between August 19-21.
And it will be packing a punch with no less than six 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees and three powerhouse band headliners: the musical whirlwind that is Eliza Carthy’s Wayward Band, a rare appearance by seven-piece Blowzabella and an exclusive UK festival performance by Irish supergroup Usher’s Island.
They will spearhead the line-up for one of the most singular events on the UK festival calendar, launched five years ago by husband and wife John and Becky Marshall-Potter.
Some festivals are much like the next. Mirror headliners and nothing to denote where in the country you are once you’re inside the gates.
Not FolkEast. True exponents of ‘the road less travelled’ it showcases Suffolk with a keen eye, giving a real sense of place.
Rekindling the ancient Eastfolk Moots on the Glemham Hall estate where for three days a year the folk from the East would meet kith and kin at harvest time for “a bit of a do”, this gathering has Suffolk running through it like letters in a stick of rock – from its locally sourced fare in The Imagined Suffolk Food Village to its suppliers, its arts and crafts, its own newspaper The Eastfolk Chronicle and its Suffolk Punch horses.
Other confirmed acts include FolkEast’s irrepressible patrons The Young’ uns (Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes).
Popular winners of the 2015 Best Group title at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and just nominated for the same title in 2016 they will be staging a performance with Aldeburgh Young Musicians at FolkEast and hosting the Broadroots Stage where they will interview some of the performers – recorded for a live podcast. David Eagle, the trio’s comedic genius, will bring the Saturday night to a riotous close when he performs his exclusive DJ Set “The Young’uns in the Mix“, mixing traditional folk songs with memorable pop and rock classics.
Andy Irvine will give a solo performance as well as his band appearance and Andy Cutting will take to the stage in both Blowzabella and the fizzing new Anglo-French quintet Topette!
Performances by fearless singer songwriter Chris Wood and banjo star Dan Walsh (2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year nominee who recently starred at Folk at the Froize) promise to be highlights as well as award winning Scottish folksters Rura (boasting three BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalists), and previous BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners Moore, Moss and Rutter.
Two of the finest young voices on the circuit – Kent’s award winning singer songwriter Luke Jackson and Norfolk’s former Britain’s Got Talent finalist Sam Kelly (with his band The Lost Boys) are also among acts to seek out. Sam is nominated for the Horizon Award for best emerging act at this year’s Folk Awards.
Yes it’s a music festival with folk music at its core but be careful how you interpret that – there’s a lot more going on besides music. FolkEast just feels right – in 10 years’ time I reckon you’ll wish you’d have been there from the start. – Grapevine Magazine
Top duos appearing will be BBC Folk Awards Best Duo nominees Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts new act John Dipper and Dave Malkin and The Hut People while engaging singer songwriter Sam Carter returns to the place where he and Jim Moray launched the stand-out band False Lights (nominated for Best Album at the 2016 Folk Awards).
Suffolk performers will include The Broadside Boys, The Busking Sharks, the duo Shorelark, The John Ward Band and Halesworth-based singer songwriter Daisy Vaughan. The Soapbox Stage, curated by local promoter Amy Wragg will introduce up-and-coming musicians and poets from the region.
Coming on board this year as a media partner will be BBC Radio Suffolk who have chosen FolkEast as their Suffolk festival for 2016. They will have an on-site presence throughout the three days.
FolkEast will be stepping up its dance programme with a plethora of Morris sides from The Witchmen to Ouse Washes. There will be a dedicated dance venue hosting a wide range of events including daily ceilidhs, workshops and late night dance sessions. Other workshops will cover song, instruments, writing, art and heritage crafts.