One of Britain’s most uncompromising and committed singer songwriters, Chris Wood brings gravity and grace to any bill that bears his name, which is why Purbeck Folk Festival is delighted he’ll be joining previously announced headliners Eddi Reader, The South and Lloyd Cole this year.
The title track from Chris’ latest album, None the Wiser – an angrily articulate lament for modern Britain – was nominated for Best Original Song at the recent BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, a title he has previously won for One In a Million and Hollow Point, about the shooting of John Charles de Menezes in 2005. He has also previously won Album of the Year (for Trespasser) and twice been named Folk Singer of the Year.
A lifelong autodidact with a background in church music, he is self-taught on guitar and violin – and his independent streak shines through in his composition and studio work. Always direct and unafraid to speak his mind, his songwriting has been praised for its surgical clarity. He cites his major influence as “Anon”.
“Chris Wood moves easily between spellbinding stories in song to engagingly hilarious grumpy humour,” says Purbeck Folk Festival director Paul Burke. “One of the UK’s most gifted folk artists – and a definite highlight of this year’s festival – he’s a great performer and distinctive songwriter whose style draws on historical, literary and folk influences with spellbinding stories and uncanny reflections of real life in England today.”
Running over the Bank Holiday weekend, 21-24 August, on a working sheep farm in the heart of the beautiful Isle of Purbeck, the Festival – which recently won the Fatea Music Award for Countryside Festival Of The Year – promises 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:
Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo – BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning singer-songwriter Emily Barker and her band the Red Clay Halo released their fourth studio album, Dear River, last July to widespread acclaim. Blending classical, rock, country and folk influences to stunning effect, Emily has also written the award-winning themes to hit BBC dramas Wallander and The Shadow Line and performed with Frank Turner at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.
CoCo & the Butterfields – Truly a colourful, energetic and crowd-stamping act to be reckoned with, CATB perform their a unique fusion of folk, pop and hip hop that’s known as ‘Fip Fok’ to their fans. They’ve wracked up more than 250,000 YouTube hits and shared stages with the likes of King Charles, Bastille and The Pogues.
Caravan of Thieves – If Django Reinhardt, the cast of Stomp and The Beatles had a party at Tim Burton’s house, Caravan of Thieves would be the band they hired. Mixing gypsy jazz rhythms, acoustic guitars, upright bass and violin with mesmerising vocal harmonies and fantastic stories, it’s theatrical and humorous, musical and intense. You have been warned.
John Langan Band – With a collection of tunes that take a vertigo-inducing reel around European and American acoustic traditions delivered with a jagged, punky and irresistible edge, the Glasgow three-piece have been winning friends and influencing audiences the length and breadth of the country with their debut album, Bones of Contention.
Aimée MacKenzie – Having impressed Purbeck’s 2012 headliner KT Tunstall, teenager Aimée came back last year and wowed Steve Knightley from Show of Hands who signed her up to open for their Festival of Folk this September. But first she’s coming back to Purbeck with her younger brother and sister.
Alex Roberts – A storyteller in the age-old tradition, Alex Roberts is a balladeer, a poet and a writer of impressively prolific output. His fifth studio album, Love & Supernatural was released late last year.
ODi – Irish duo ODi have toured all over the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and the USA over the last few years. Expect two new EP releases in the second part of this year, followed by an album in 2015.
Now in its sixth year, the 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!
Until March 31, weekend tickets (Fri-Sun) include free camping are on sale at just £80 (£40 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, Wilkswood Farm has 600 acres of land 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