Folk legends Spiers and Knight return to the Suffolk festival that saw their exclusive debut
A unique collaboration between folk legends Peter Knight and John Spiers, seen for the first time at FolkEast 2016, will return to the fast-rising East Anglian festival this August.
The three day festival at the glorious 300-acre Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall witnessed the debut performance of the pair on the Broad Roots stage on opening night last year – an undisputed highlight of the event.
Few fiddlers can hold a candle to Knight whose presence has enriched the British music scene for more than four decades. Since his departure from folk-rock’s iconic Steeleye Span at the end of 2013, London-born Knight, now living in France, has turned his full attentions to his boundary blurring Gigspanner trio conjuring up a completely distinctive sound.
Hugely popular John Spiers is one of the leading squeezebox players of his generation. With the curtain falling on the mighty multiple award-winning band Bellowhead as well as the duo Spiers & Boden, “Squeezy” is busy pursuing a new route with a solo album in the pipeline.
In its sixth year, FolkEast will be packing a punch with an eclectic line up of folk and world music acts including BBC award-winning headliners Jon Boden and Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees Nancy Kerr, Kris Drever and Dorset duo Ninebarrow and of course FolkEast’s irrepressible patrons The Young ‘uns.
Jon Boden is one of the outstanding folk performers of his generation – having won 11 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, more than any other artist. This is a chance to see him striking out on his own after the Bellowhead juggernaut shuddered to a halt last year. One of his first solo festival performances, he will headline the main Sunset stage on Friday night in a genre-hopping set that promises to get FolkEast off to a buoyant start.
Winner of the Horizon (Best Emerging Act) award at the 2016 Folk Awards, East Anglian-born Sam Kelly will bring his Lost Boys band and unmistakable voice to the main stage on Saturday night, building on their success last year.
New names announced include the mighty Martin Simpson, the ace guitarist and songwriter who skilfully melds British and American roots music and has been nominated an astounding 23 times in the Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Also announced is the top traditional English folk singer Fay Hield who will appear with her trio comprising Ron Harbron and Sam Sweeney. The former Witches of Eastwick band member is known for her Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party line-up and for steering the award winning multi artist project The Full English.
India Electric Co (Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe), more usually found around the world opening for Midge Ure (and appearing as his band) bring their genre defying sound back to FolkEast while Ben Savage and Hannah Sanders, a duo who gained plaudits galore with their debut album Beneath the Sun last year, are also on the bill. Ben will also appear with popular Cambridge-based band The Willows, who make a welcome return.
Bringing their bold and brilliant Basque country folk music to Suffolk will be Korrontzi while other newly announced names include London-based duo Alma, innovative multi instrumental trio Three Cane Whale, drawing influences from folk and minimalist music and the female folk song foursome Norfolk Broads who went down a storm last year.
More female folk exponents will be the trio Moirai (Jo Freya, Sarah Matthews and Mel Biggs) with their colourful palette of sounds and song whilst gypsy jazz quartet Swing Museum will provide a tea dance set.
With the Sunday headliner still to be announced, the line-up will also include acclaimed singer guitarist Michael Chapman, esteemed veteran duo Martin Carthy & John Kirkpatrick and an outstanding duo from the younger generation, Will Pound and Eddy Jay, who made waves with their debut album Ignite last year.
Lau, three times winners of Best Group at the Folk Awards, have also been announced. The acclaimed trio comprises Martin Green, Aidan O’Rourke and Kris Drever. Drever’s song If Wishes Were Horses is nominated for Best Original Track at the 2017 Folk Awards.
Nominated in the same category is former Folk Singer of the Year Nancy Kerr, for her song Fragile Water ; Nancy will be heading to FolkEast in the star-studded trio of Simpson, Cutting and Kerr. Melodeon ace Andy Cutting won Musician of the Year at the 2016 Folk Awards – the third time he has won the title.
Keeping the Irish flag flying will be the stand out Damien O’Kane Band. Coleraine-born Damien’s exciting modern spin on traditional Irish folk music saw his latest album Areas of High Traffic nominated for Best Album at the 2016 Folk Awards.
Irish traditional folk band Beoga (Gaelic for ‘lively’) are also Suffolk-bound. The Antrim five piece collaborated with Ed Sheeran on his new album, Divide. They joined Sheeran at studios in Suffolk last year to record two tracks, Galway Girl and another about Wexford, where Ed has strong family roots.
One of the most singular events on the UK festival calendar, FolkEast was launched five years ago by husband and wife John and Becky Marshall-Potter.
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”, the festival offers a refreshingly different line-up across six stages (including St Andrew’s Church, the open air Sunset Stage and the hidden woodland Soapbox Stage), Suffolk food fare, two authentic ‘village’ pubs serving festival ales plus possibly the smallest pub in the UK, The Halfway Inn.
TICKETS : Advance weekend tickets are available price £115(adult), £100 (full time students, senior citizens) and £70 for Youth tickets (12-17 year old) which must be purchased with an adult ticket. Family weekend tickets for two adults and two 12-17 year olds are £342. A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping is £12 per tent with a £24 charge for campervans and caravans.
Located close to the A12 (from where the famous FolkEast decorated tree can be seen), the festival will also be running shuttle buses to the site from Wickham Market station.