Emily Barker to showcase Vena Portae side project at Purbeck Folk Festival this month

It may be the height of summer, but this August Bank Holiday Purbeck Folk Festival also offers the perfect antidote to the season. While most festival-goers are happy to be hot and willing to take their chances with sunburn, for those who seek the coolness of the shade main stage star Emily Barker will also be showcasing her side project, Vena Portae in the dimmer light of the intimate Duck Shed venue.

Vena Portae

Taking their name from a short vein that carries blood into the liver, Vena Portae is a three-piece Anglo-Swedish-Alt-Folk-Retro-Pop collaboration between Emily, storyteller/composer/performer Dom Coyote and actor/musician Ruben Engzell. They recorded their debut album in the depths of a Swedish winter and decided to wait until summer to release it, along with a single, Summer Kills, tellingly remixed by Peter Morén, of Peter Bjorn and John fame.

“The Sunday at Purbeck should be quite a day for fans of Emily’s band,” says festival director Paul Burke. “We loved an album released a few months ago by her multi-instrumental band member, Gill Sandell. After Emily’s late afternoon concert on the High Barn, Gill performs on the Fire Stage in the evening. It was icing on the cake when Emily’s manager contacted us to offer Vena Portae as well.

“Emily Barker is one of the most inspiring and perceptive songwriters we have come across. She played our very first Purbeck Folk Festival at Steeple Leaze in 2009. At the time she was unknown but, with her four-piece band, she performed an outstanding set and we’ve wanted to welcome her back ever since.”

Emily Barker is a BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning singer-songwriter whose fourth studio album with the Red Clay Halo, Dear River, was released last summer 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 at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony with Frank Turner who guests on their wicked murder ballad Fields of June.

Now in its sixth year, Purbeck Folk Festival’s inclusive booking policy ensures an eclectic mix of outstanding original new folk, as well as established roots, traditional and world music in a fun, family-friendly environment. This year the headline acts include Eddi Reader, Lloyd Cole, Sally Barker from The Voice, The South, Idlewild Acoustic, Turin Brakes, Nizlopi and Chris Wood. The four stages are contained in the farm’s covered barns with a marquee venue that hosts open mic sessions.

Full line up:


Eddi Reader, Nizlopi, Martha Tilston Band, Furrow Collective, ODi, Dan Whitehouse, Moscow Drug Club, Flats & Sharps, Macaferri Club, Winter Mountain, Murphy’s Lore, Drew Allen, Big Tent & the Gypsy Lantern, Kadia, Beth Johnstone, Tim Somerfield, East Creek Union, Djambo, The Jack Ratts, Threadbare Ravens, Tred, Aimee McKenzie


The South, Idlewild Acoustic, Sally Barker, Sarah Savoy, Phil King Band, Gigspanner, Martha Tilston Band, Roving Crows, John Langan Band, Gren Bartley Band, 4Square, ODi, Lizzie Nunnery, Louise Jordan, Threepenny Bit, Sarah Savoy (workshop), Sound of the Sirens, Macaferri Club, Big Tent & the Gypsy Lantern, Kadia, Mother Ukers, Catherine Burke Band, Feral Beryl, Kaia Vieira, Virginia


Turin Brakes, Lloyd Cole, Blair Dunlop, Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo, Caravan of Thieves, Coco & the Butterfields, Chris Wood, Amadou Diagne Band, Gren Bartley Band, Alex Roberts, Tinderbox, Polly Paulusma, Fearne, Aimee MacKenzie, Ian Brown, Will McNicol, Flats & Sharps, Gill Sandell, Emily Barker (solo), Tori Read, Kate Lomas, The Jimmy Hillbillies, Ceilidh Band, Quinns Quinney, Krista Green, Inu

But there’s much more than music on offer with a host of additional entertainment that includes an on-site cinema programme, art interventions and workshops, a fancy dress parade, bushcraft skills, pig roast, a poetry slam, kids’ activity pen and a beer festival with more than 70 local real ales and ciders.

Until August 20 weekend tickets (Fri-Sun) include free camping are on sale at just £100 (£50 12-17 years, £20 4-11 years, under 4s free). Day camping is available on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at £10 a night on arrival.

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

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