FolkEast stage a sessions event in June as festival primer
- Credit: John Heald
With FolkEast, one of the country’s top roots music festivals, on course to return this August, organisers are celebrating by staging a curtain-raiser weekend of shows in June in front of a live audience with real time streaming.
Over the weekend of Saturday June 12 and Sunday June 13, some of the finest names in folk will head to Blaxhall village hall for the latest staging of ‘The Blaxhall Sessions’.
FolkEast co-organiser John Marshall-Potter started the Sessions in 2018, in collaboration with Alan Bearman, to complement the FolkEast festival, which takes place just two miles away in the grounds of Glemham Hall, and to salute the folk heritage of a unique Suffolk village.
Blaxhall may be regarded as a rural backwater by some but its name is synonymous with the history of folk music and dance.
Traditional Suffolk folk singers have been making their voices heard at The Blaxhall Ship Inn, a stone’s throw from the village hall, from the 1950s, through until the 1970s – some of it recorded for posterity, including the BBC’s short film The Ship: Here’s a Health to The Barley Mow (1955).
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To enable social distancing, just 50 tickets are being sold for each concert.
Co-organiser Becky Marshall-Potter said: “Blaxhall Village Hall is delightfully small so to make it Covid secure, the audience will be delightfully small too. But you can enjoy the amazing artists we have lined up by buying a ticket for the live stream of each concert and interact as an audience member from the comfort of your own home. We can guarantee a top weekend of first class folk.”
The Blaxhall Sessions’ Line-up
Saturday: Katherine Priddy and Martin Simpson
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Opening the weekend of intimate gigs will be one of the bright new names in the genre – hypnotic singer songwriter Katherine Priddy whose debut album The Eternal Rocks Beneath is released on June 25.
The great Richard Thompson described the Birmingham-based performer’s music as ‘the best thing I’ve heard all year’ in MOJO magazine.
Katherine’s afternoon show on June 12 will be followed by an evening performance by a legend of the scene - Martin Simpson, universally acclaimed as one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players and a mesmerising singer-songwriter.
Sunday: Jez Lowe and Eliza Carthy
Sunday afternoon sees another stalwart of the folk scene, County Durham’s Jez Lowe, taking to the stage.
One of the most respected and imaginative songwriters in the UK, nobody nails the North East quite like Lowe or can bring it so vibrantly to life in savvy songs, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, but always on the money.
The final act of the weekend will be the great Eliza Carthy with her Trio (guitarist David Delarre and melodeon player Saul Rose).
A member of the Waterson-Carthy dynasty and a queen pin of the English folk revival, Eliza is a dynamic live performer with a powerful voice and fantastic fiddle skills whose work – whether performing a centuries –old ballad or a new self-penned song - has influenced a whole generation of young musicians.
Afternoon tickets are priced at £14 and evening session tickets at £16 (tickets to watch online are £12 and £14 respectively). No tickets will be in sale at the door but you can buy a maximum of six tickets in advance if you want to be there in person. Tickets can be booked online.