Folk legend Peter Knight has been announced for East Anglia’s fast-rising festival FolkEast which returns to Suffolk for a fifth year this August.The three day festival takes place at the glorious 300-acre Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall, the home of Major Philip Hope-Cobbold, between August 19-21.
Few fiddlers can hold a candle to the iconic 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, Knight has turned his full attentions to his boundary blurring Gigspanner trio conjuring up a completely distinctive sound.
Now living in south-west France, the London-born musician will be centre stage at FolkEast for “An Audience with Peter Knight” and will also be hosting a violin masterclass.
Also joining the line-up will be the hugely popular John Spiers – one of the leading squeezebox players of his generation. With the final curtain falling on the mighty multiple award-winning band Bellowhead as well as the duo Spiers & Boden, “Squeezy” is pursuing a new solo route. ‘Britain’s best known exponent of melodeon and concertina’ will perform a solo show at FolkEast and host a melodeon workshop.
Also just announced are captivating Yorkshire duo O’Hooley & Tidow Innovative, witty and moving, Belinda and Heidi have been described as “lionhearted trailblazers of contemporary music and songwriting”. Nominated for Best Duo at the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, The Guardian has praised their “boundless songwriting and exquisite harmonies that truly shine.”
FolkEast will be packing a punch with no less than seven 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees (including irrepressible patrons The Young ‘uns, looking to retain their Best Group title). Other nominees are Eliza Carthy (Folk Singer of the Year); Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts (Best Duo) Sam Kelly (Horizon Award) Andy Cutting and Dan Walsh (Musician of the Year) and Sam Carter (Best Album for Salvor – his False Lights collaboration with Jim Moray) – an act whose first ever appearance was at FolkEast.
The event boasts three powerhouse band headliners – the musical whirlwind that is Eliza Carthy’s Wayward Band, a rare appearance by seven-piece Blowzabella and an exclusive UK festival performance by Irish supergroup Usher’s Island.
Usher’s Island unites two ground-breaking generations of Irish musicians. The revered figures of Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Paddy Glackin link the band’s heritage back to the glory days of Planxty and The Bothy Band while two of today’s leading heirs to these pioneers – signature guitarist John Doyle and virtuoso flautist Mike McGoldrick – bring their experience of Celtic and other international roots styles to the potent mix.
Adding to the Irish flavour will be an appearance by the engaging Dublin singer and bouzouki player Daoiri Farrell.
Daoiri, who has performed alongside some of the greatest names in Irish folk, from Christy Moore to Dervish, became All Ireland Champion Singer at the Fleadh in County Derry in 2013 and won the Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections last year with the Irish trad band Four Winds.
See Daoiri performing The Creggan White Hare www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrW8rC89DJA
Also announced are Cambridge-based band The Willows, feted for their “absolutely gorgeous sound” by Bob Harris, offering a mellifluous melding of Americana, bluegrass and English folk, from foot stompers to ballads.
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 folk from the East would meet at harvest time for “a bit of a do”, this gathering has Suffolk running through it like letters in a stick of rock – from its locally sourced fare in The Imagined Suffolk Food Village to its festival ales from Lowestoft brewery Green Jack, its own newspaper The Eastfolk Chronicle and its Suffolk Punch horses.
Other attractions are an instrument makers’ festival, the FolkEast Art Arcade, donkey rides, children’s activities, yoga, poetry, storytelling, foraging walks and talks, horse drawn carriage rides and tours of Glemham Hall by Major Philip Cobbold himself. Its six stages include St Andrew’s Church, the open air Sunset Stage and the hidden woodland Soapbox Stage which is run entirely by solar power from a double decker bus. In Suffolk’s 2016 ‘Creating the Greenest County’ Awards, FolkEast were runners up in the Sustainable Tourism category.
Leading names announced for this stage are Norwich-based singer songwriter Jess Morgan; the gypsy folk touting Solana and powerful political singer songwriter Grace Petrie who recently toured with Lady Maisery and O’Hooley & Tidow in the line-up Coven.
Building on a growing collaboration, festival patrons The Young’ uns will appear on the main stage together with members of Aldeburgh Young Musicians performing music from Suffolk folk singers including Bob Hart who released the seminal Songs from Suffolk album in the Seventies.
Also confirmed are London-based contemporary folk band Effra, the trio TReD, Shetland/Devon duo Ross Couper and Tom Oakes and Bristol sea shanty group The Roaring Trowmen.
Previously announced actsinclude singer songwriter Chris Wood, award winning singer songwriter Luke Jackson, Scottish folksters Rura and previous BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners Moore, Moss and Rutter.
Punk poet and songwriter Attila the Stockbroker who supported acts like The Jam and New Model Army in the Eighties, will be offering his sharply observed verse while North Essex poet Martin Newell will join forces with East Anglia’s The Hosepipe Band who have composed music for some of his longer poems.
FolkEast will be stepping up its dance programme with a plethora of Morris sides. For the first time there will be a dedicated dance venue hosting daily ceilidhs and workshops. The Swing Museum, a quartet performing Hot Club Style Swing from the 1930s and 1940s, will also provide the music for the festival’s first Tea Dance.
Coming on board this year as a media partner will be BBC Radio Suffolk who have chosen FolkEast as their Suffolk festival for 2016.
Advance weekend tickets are available price £115(adult), £98 (full time students, senior citizens) and £65 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 £320. A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under and optional camping is included with all weekend tickets, with a £25 charge for campervans and caravans.
Located close to the A12, the festival will also be running shuttle buses to the site from Wickham Market station.