Award-winning acts announced in Suffolk music festival line-up
- Credit: Emily Fairweather
FolkEast, one of Suffolk’s leading festivals, is returning to party mode this summer after being forced to scale back its showcase event last year because of Covid restrictions.
The eighth FolkEast will return to the grounds of the Elizabethan Glemham Hall between August 20 and 22 in a streamlined, spacious and safe way, say organisers – with most of the original 2020 line-up preserved.
Festival regulars will see a change of site layout to allow for a one-way system and just two open-air stages – the main Sunset stage and Moot Hall– plus a large, airy workshop space.
Although the much-loved covered venues - Soapbox, Broad Roots and Dance tent –will be absent, they will be back in 2022, and elements of their creativity and uniqueness will be present on site.
Organisers Becky and John Marshall-Potter said that with the easing of restrictions about to go ahead, they are looking forward to bringing FolkEast back this August, thanks to a £80k award from the Culture Recovery Fund.
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Becky said: “It is so exciting to be gearing up to getting artists and audience back together again, along with our great crew, volunteers and stall-holders. This year will clearly be different and we have had to make some difficult decisions in order to adapt to the ever-changing situation.”
She added that the festival will be carefully following Covid guidelines, and will adapt as situations evolve to ensure safety for both performers and audiences.
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Tickets purchased for 2020 can be automatically carried over to this year and ticket costs are frozen at last year’s prices – £120 for a weekend adult, with free admission for children aged 11 and under. There will also be a limited number of camping tickets available.
Headlining Saturday night areGrammy Award-nominated supergroup Afro Celt Sound System. They are past masters at fusing electronica with traditional Irish and West African music, producing a scintillating, high energy stage set. Formed back in 1995 by producer-guitarist Simon Emmerson, they won Best Group at the 2017 Songlines Music Awards.
Alongside the event’s hugely popular, multi award-winning patrons, The Young’ uns (Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle), the line-up will include the sublime, seamless partnership of Welsh harpist Catrin Finch with Senegalese kora maestro Seckou Keita. The exquisite pair clinched the Best Duo/Group award at the last BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, with Keita also winning the coveted Musician of the Year title.
FolkEast loves its Celtic connections, and this year will be no exception with Ireland represented by the excellent, Dublin-born traditional singer and bouzouki player Daoiri Farrell.
Flying the flag for Scotland will be three superb acts. Headlining the Sunday night are Drever-McCusker-Woomble, which sees master fiddler John McCusker joining forces with Orkney-born singer songwriter Kris Drever and Idlewild’s lead singer Roddy Woomble.
Named the Best Live Act at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2018, the quintet Elephant Sessions will head to Suffolk from the Scottish Highlands with their unique brand of indie folk to headline the Friday night, while powerhouse sextet of female instrumentalists The Shee (including BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year 2017, harpist Rachel Newton) are sure to have the wow factor with their adventurous blend of Scottish folk, Gaelic song and bluegrass.
Folk legend Peter Knight will bring his six-strong Gigspanner Big Band to the party. The Big Band takes his original Gigspanner trio (himself, Roger Flack and Sacha Trochet) and fuses them with the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Duo’ winners Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin (Edgelarks) and erstwhile Bellowhead star John Spiers to make something truly special, bursting with invention, enigma and grace.
Though all the musicians have played FolkEast in their separate guises (including the memorable debut performance of Knight and Spiers as a duo) this is the first time the full-strength Big Band has headed to Glemham Hall.
Adding to the rich mix will be ‘eclectic art rock band’ Hannah Moule and the Moulettes, instrumental trio Three Cane Whale, Elbow Jane, Topette, The Hut People, Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith, MG Boulter and the new-look Trials of Cato (original members Tomas Williams and Robin Jones now joined by Polly Bolton.)
As always, the festival will be offering fine Suffolk fare, with two authentic ‘village’ pubs – The Cobbold Arms and Hop Inn - serving competitively-priced, locally-sourced ales and ciders (including Suffolk-based Green Jack Brewery’s festival ale Jackalope Ale, a salute to the festival’s mystical mascot The Jackalope) which every year keeps a beady eye on the event from the centre of the site.
The FolkEast Art Arcade will also return with local arts and crafts along with ‘Instrumental’, featuring a wide range of instrument makers.
Becky said that everyone is looking forward to welcoming music fans back to Glemham Hall.
“FolkEast 2021 will be different and we want to be able to provide a safe place where we can gather to enjoy amazing music, entertainment and most importantly, each other’s company. We can’t wait to bring the FolkEast community back together again – we know how much everyone has struggled this year and it will be a momentous occasion when we open the FolkEast gates once more.”
Weekend tickets are now on sale until June when daily tickets will be offered until August 13.
All tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information:go to the website.