The Voice star Sally Barker at Purbeck Folk Festival

Sally Barker

Armed with a voice that makes grown men cry – and that includes her mentor Sir Tom Jones – star of BBC’s The Voice, Sally Barker is the latest addition to the bill at Purbeck Folk Festival.

With six solo albums to her name and a touring career that has seen her open for the likes of Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention, not to mention being a founding member of revered all-female folk outfit The Poozies (she left to start a family in 1996 and was replaced by Kate Rusby), Sally is no stranger to the music business. But in the wake of her heart stopping performances on The Voice earlier this year that took her all the way to the final and consistently left all four judges with tears in their eyes, Sally is pursuing her musical career with renewed vigour and jumped at the chance to play at Purbeck alongside previously announced headliners Turin Brakes, Eddi Reader, Lloyd Cole, The South, Nizlopi, Chris Wood and Idlewild Acoustic.

“There I was, thinking what a fantastic line-up we had, all complete, no space left on the bill,” says Purbeck Folk Festival director Paul Burke. “Then out of the blue an email arrived from Sally Barker. I have loved her singing for a long, long time – and then voted for her on The Voice.   “We didn’t think twice, just emailed back: ‘You wuz robbed. Come and play at Purbeck!’ Booking Sally is the icing on the cake for this year’s Festival. Thrilled!”

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, arts and crafts, film and magic on Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coastline.

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.

Other recent additions to the bill include:

:: The Furrow Collective – Four award winning young folk singers and multi-instrumentalists bring a breath of fresh air to some fine traditional songs.
:: Roving Crows – A powerful and lively take on the Celtic tradition that has seen them named Fatea’s Band of the Year.
:: Moscow Drug Club – A heady blend of Hot Club de France, Weimar cabaret, Nuevo tango and Gypsy jazz, MDC will blow minds.
:: Flats & Sharps – Fiery bluegrass all the way from … Cornwall!
:: Sound of the Sirens – Footstomping, furiously catchy, two-girl folk-rock.
:: The Jack Ratts – Fully fledged cowpunk sextet named after a fine south coast cider and a legendary smuggler.
:: Lizzie Nunnery – Quite simply one of the most powerful and captivating voices at work in the folk field at the moment.
:: Louise Jordan – Endorsed by Vogue magazine, Louise is a multi-instrumentalist possessed of a fine voice and intensely honest songs.
:: Winter Mountain – A duo from the shores of Cornwall and Donegal that met on a Chicago-bound train and put it all in the songs.

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 40 local real ales, 20 ciders and even a Dorset pils lager!

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

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