Nizlopi are not the only act at this year’s Purbeck Folk Festival to have had a number one record, but they’re the only ones to have opened for Christina Aguilera, Jamie Cullum and Damien Dempsey, to have Ed Sheeran open for them and to have joined Billy Bragg on stage. Having split in 2010, five years after the runaway success of the platinum-selling, chart-topping The JCB Song, Nizlopi reformed last summer to play a few festivals and remembered they really liked being Nizlopi, which is why Luke Concannon and John Parker are playing more shows this year.
“Nizlopi blew the place apart at the Festival Organisers Conference last November,” says Purbeck Folk Festival director Paul Burke. “Their songs are great and their performance charismatic and theatrical. We liked them when they were new and we are delighted they have reformed. “Nizlopi will be perfect entertainment for the fun-loving audience at Purbeck Folk Festival.”
Nizlopi, named after a Hungarian girl that Luke had a crush on at school, got together in the late 1980s in Leamington Spa and went about building themselves a solid fan-base the old-fashioned way – by playing lots and lots of gigs wherever they could. Their first album, Half These Songs Are About You, came out in 2004 and was followed in June the next year by a single, The JCB Song, which flopped. Badly. Reissued a couple of weeks before Christmas, The JCB Song was then picked up by Radio 2 and hit the top of the charts a week later, outselling its nearest rival, Westlife, by two to one. Aided by Monkeehub’s memorable animated video it went on to sell more than half a million copies across Europe. Two more albums – Make It Happen and Start Beginning – followed in 2008, but after taking 2009 off to contemplate the future, early in 2010 the pair announced they were to go their separate ways.
However, much to the delight of their many fans, a tentative reunion last summer has seen a rekindling of the Nizlopi flame and the boys are now recording again and will bring a mix of old and new material to Purbeck this year.
Running over the Bank Holiday weekend, 21-24 August, on a 600-acre sheep farm in the heart of the beautiful Isle of Purbeck, the Festival – which won the Fatea Music Award for Countryside Festival Of The Year – is four days of fine music, great food, fancy dress, comedy, film and magic on Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coastline.
Latest additions to the bill also include:
:: Gren Bartley Band – Formed around Gren Bartley’s astonishing guitar playing and poetic songwriting, the band add stunning four-part harmonies and intricate string arrangements to genuinely beautiful material. The future of folk is here today!
:: Dan Whitehouse – Birmingham singer songwriter whose second album, Reaching For a State of Mind, will only add to his list of admirers that have already favourably compared him to the likes of Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Donovan and Colin Blunstone.
:: Martha Tilston & the Scientists – The daughter of folk legend Steve Tilston, Martha grew up with the likes of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn as family friends. Her songs reveal a range of influences, but delivered in a style that’s all her own.
:: Tinderbox – Having brought their son Aidan into the world, Bournemouth-based Monique Houraghan and Dan Tucker are not straying too far from home but they are back on the road. With four albums to their name, they can count the likes of 6Music’s Tom Robinson and folk legend Johnny Coppin among their fans.
:: Big Tent & the Gypsy Lantern – Winners of last year’s Purbeck Rising, Purbeck Folk Festival’s new talent showcase, this Birmingham-based outfit are on the up and released their debut album, Richest Man Today, last year to widespread acclaim.
:: Peter Knight’s Gigspanner – Hailed as “another milestone in folk’s rebirth of cool”, Gigspanner’s broad spectrum of influences draws on Franch, Cajun, Eastern European, African and Aboriginal music all held together by Steeleye Span’s legendary fiddle player.
:: Amadaou Diagne Band – Born into a large Griot family of Sabar drummers and praise singers, multi instrumentalist Amadou Diagne has played percussion for the likes of Youssou N’Dour and Jimmy Cliff. With his own band he continues to explore the rhythmic possibilities of the guitar while enhancing his reputation as a thrilling live performer – Purbeck won’t know what’s hit it!
Now in its sixth year, Purbeck Folk Festival’s inclusive booking policy ensures an eclectic mix of outstanding, original young folk, established roots, traditional and world music in a fun, family-friendly environment. The four stages are contained in the farm’s barns and a marquee venue that hosts the Purbeck Rising final and open mic sessions
But there’s much more than music on offer with a host of additional entertainment that includes a comedy line-up, an on-site cinema programme, art interventions and workshops, a fancy dress parade, a poetry slam, kids’ activity pen and a beer festival with 40 local real ales, 20 ciders and even a Dorset pils lager!
Weekend tickets (Fri-Sun) include free camping are on sale at just £90 (£45 12-17 years, £10 4-11 years, under 4s free). Day camping is available on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at £10 a night on arrival. A limited number of Festival day tickets will also be available.
Located in the village of Langton Matravers between Corfe Castle and Swanage, the land at Wilkswood Farm is devoted to conservation and environmental protection of a wide range of habitats. There’s a handy bus to Corfe Castle/Wareham and Swanage every hour both ways, while Harmans Cross station is a 15-minute walk away where you can catch the steam train to Swanage or Corfe Castle.
Purbeck Folk Festival, 21-24 August, Wilkswood Farm, Langton Matravers, Swanage, BH19 3DU. Box office: 023 8071 1818 www.purbeckfolk.co.uk