Purbeck Rising talent contest returns to Purbeck Folk Festival

Purbeck Folk Festival’s annual talent contest Purbeck Rising is now an established fixture on the UK folk scene. Started in response to the hundreds of applications received from bands and artists wanting to play the Festival, Purbeck Rising offers an opportunity for new acts to play at an award winning festival with a main stage slot and a day’s studio recording up for grabs.

Big Tent and the Gypsy Lantern, winners of last year's Purbeck Rising
Big Tent and the Gypsy Lantern, winners of last year’s Purbeck Rising

Last year’s winners, Big Tent and the Gypsy Lantern have since toured the UK twice, appeared at the prestigious Tower of Song festival in their native Birmingham and been shortlisted for Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent showcase.

“Winning Purbeck Rising meant so much to us,” says George Kirkham, Big Tent and the Gypsy Lantern’s Bournemouth-born percussionist. “It has brought us closer together as a band and gave us a platform on which to go forward and tour. There are some very exciting things in the pipeline, including a European tour next year and our biggest national tour this autumn.

“We love Purbeck Folk Festival – the setting, the people and the bands. Entering Purbeck Rising gave us the chance to meet and work with other upcoming acts and we’ve carried on working with them throughout the year. We’re really looking forward to coming back to Purbeck this year.”

Last year’s finalists were so impressive they’ve all been invited back to play the Festival this year.

“Purbeck Rising worked brilliantly last year,” says festival director Cath Burke. “We couldn’t believe it – not only the number of entries, but the standard was really high as well. One of the prizes was to come back and play at this year’s Purbeck Folk Festival, but the finalists were so good that we have invited them all back to play a formal spot.”

One of those finalists last year, Bournemouth-based trio Kadia, have taken giant strides and seen their profile grow since last year’s Purbeck Rising.

“It looks like Kadia are becoming something really special,” says festival director Paul Burke. “Songwriting, instrumental prowess, compelling melodies and arrangements – and the guys can sing!”

To enter this year’s Purbeck Rising artists should email a link to a YouTube video to info@purbeckfolk.co.uk before 22 July with the subject ‘Purbeck Rising’. The best 10 acts will be put up for public vote between 3 and 10 August, with the five most popular acts going through to a live final at Purbeck Folk festival on 23 August.

The five finalists get weekend tickets to Purbeck Folk Festival for themselves and a guest each. The contest will be decided by public vote and a panel of experts with the winning act invited back to play a main stage set next year, as well as a spot at the 2015 Folk on the Quay festival in Poole and a day’s recording at Sizzle Studio in Bournemouth.

Headlined by Turin Brakes, Eddi Reader, Lloyd Cole, The South, Nizlopi, Chris Wood, Idlewild Acoustic and The Voice finalist Sally Barker, Purbeck Folk Festival runs 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, arts and crafts, film and magic on Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coastline with 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.

Music aside, Purbeck Folk Festival boasts a host of additional entertainment that includes an on-site cinema programme, art interventions and workshops, a fancy dress parade, a poetry slam, kids’ activity pen and a beer festival with more than 50 local real ales – including Buzz Lightbeer, the Festival’s very own golden honey beer – some 20 ciders and even a Dorset pils!

Until 30 June, weekend tickets (Fri-Sun) including 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


* After 30 June weekend tickets are £100 (£50 12-17 years, £20 4-11 years, under 4s free)