The Young’uns and Aldeburgh Young Musicians celebrate Suffolk singer Bob Hart



The culmination of a collaboration between FolkEast, its multi award-winning patrons The Young’uns and Aldeburgh Young Musicians promises to be one of the highlights of Suffolk’s 2016 FolkEast festival.


Performing on the main stage on the opening night (Friday, August 19) The Young’uns trio (Michael Hughes, Sean Cooney and David Eagle) will be joined by a 29-strong line-up from Aldeburgh Young Musicians (AYM) in the official premiere of The Life & Songs of Bob Hart.


Shaping the musicians of tomorrow across all genres, AYM brings together exceptional young talents aged 8-18 in its high calibre programme at Suffolk’s Snape Maltings. See video:

Since becoming patrons of FolkEast in 2014 The Young’uns have gone on to win Best Group two years running at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, tour Australia and Canada and make numerous TV and radio appearances, recently including a spot on BBC-tv’s Springwatch from RSPB Minsmere.


Building on a growing partnership with Aldeburgh Young Musicians – initiated by FolkEast – they will revisit traditional songs performed by Suffolk folk singer Bob Hart (1892-1978) whose seminal Songs from Suffolk album was released in the Seventies, recorded at his home by Topic Records.

Hart was born in 1892 at Sotherton, near Southwold and worked as a fisherman on a Lowestoft trawler, where he learned many of his songs. Later, as a recruit in the 9th Suffolk Regiment, he was wounded at the Somme in 1916.

Settling at Snape on his return from the battlefields – and at one time Benjamin Britten’s gardener – he worked at The Maltings until he retired 40 years later, and was often to be found singing at Snape’s The Crown as well as Leiston’s Everyman Folk Club and Butley’s Oyster Inn. He died aged 86 in 1978.


* Hear Bob singing The Miner’s Dream of Home

The hour long show on the Sunset Stage will see the ensemble performing many of the songs Bob used to sing including Cod Banging-O, The Scarlet and the Blue, All Jolly Fellows That Follow The Plough and The Barley Mow punctuated with episodes from Hart’s life story, narrated by Sean Cooney.

The overture songscape leads into Graeme Miles’s Sea Coal, about the coal harvesting tradition on beaches around The Young’uns native Hartlepool which links into Bob’s story. There are also songs in Gaelic (taught to them by BBC Radio 3’s Mary Ann Kennedy) and original compositions by the young musicians based on Hart’s poetry.


One of the most moving segments will be when the performers weave their voices in to the sound of Hart’s original recording of The Scarlet and The Blue. See performance video

Completing the set will be some new Young’uns songs from the pen of Sean Cooney including the outstanding Dark Water, about Syrian refugees swimming the Aegean Sea to a new life.


Says Sean: “It’s been such an honour to put this show together – it’s one of the most rewarding projects we have ever been involved with. To work with such an extraordinary group of young musicians has been a rejuvenating and inspiring experience – their enthusiasm for making music has been infectious.

“To be able to tell the story of Bob Hart – an ordinary man living through extraordinary times – through the songs he sang and words he wrote, has been incredibly moving.”

Becky Marshall-Potter, who organises FolkEast with husband John says: “We are delighted that we have been able to join forces with AYM to bring this unique performance to the main stage this year – something that is so pertinent to Suffolk.


“Facilitating collaborations with artists and providing a platform to showcase their work is something very important to FolkEast.

“It has been great to see how the relationship between our patrons and AYM has grown through workshops and sessions to the point where they are able to stage this brilliant complete work together.  Festivalgoers are in for a treat.”


The three day festival takes place on six stages at the glorious 300-acre Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall, the home of Major Philip Hope-Cobbold, between August 19-21.


This year’s 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,  uniting two ground-breaking generations of Irish musicians.

Other top names include fiddle genius Peter Knight, formerly of folk-rock’s iconic Steeleye Span, whose presence has enriched the British music scene for more than four decades, and 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.

Full line-up details here

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. Advance day tickets are £40 (adult), £25(youth) £35 (concessions) or £120 (family).

A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under and optional camping is included with all weekend tickets. Located close to the A12, the festival will also be running shuttle buses to the site from Wickham Market station.