Sidmouth Folk Festival 2019: Ralph McTell, Lindisfarne, Richard Thompson, The Spooky Men's Chorale, Steve Knightley, Julie Fowlis, Seth Lakeman, Peatbog Faeries, Flook, The Young Uns & more
"The Sidmouth Folk Festival goes back to its roots in 2019 and reclaims its title for its 65th edition from 2nd - 9th August: a living, breathing tradition in itself. In a pre-eminent position in the country for its longevity, quality, breadth and scale, The Sidmouth Folk Festival celebrates its significant birthday with a re-name and new logo.
This very special week-long seaside event has been the putting the red-cliffed coastal resort of Sidmouth, East Devon firmly on the map since 1955, recognised as a huge cultural highlight in the South West region and acknowledged as a national treasure by festival goers from across the country and wider world
Visit sidmouthfolkfestival.co.uk for more information."
Info provided by the Event Organiser
Please note that the artists appearing may be subject to change.
From an early age, Ralph began his career by hitch-hiking around Europe with his guitar, emulating his hero Woody Guthrie. In the mid 60s he worked at a Cornish campsite, being maintenance man by day, entertainer by night, where he graced the stage at the 'Folk Cottage', a tiny barn in Cornwall that hosted an impromptu club, before eventually settling on the 'streets of London'. During this period, Nick Drake's last public performance was supporting Ralph at Epsom college. It was in 1969 that Ralph came to widespread attention though, thanks to an appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival where all the audience sang along to the now classic anthem 'Streets Of London', thus launching a long term career penning and performing beautiful acoustic and folk politically conscious songs.
Ralph McTell tour dates
Lindisfarne first appeared out of Tyneside in the early '70s with an instantly recognisable style - their hit records: Meet Me On The Corner, Lady Eleanor, Fog On The Tyne and Run For Home have achieved classic status. Whilst this mainstream chart success did not stay with them, Lindisfarne remained as popular as ever on the live circuit.
The '90s saw a resurgence of interest in their music and albums Here Comes The Neighbourhood 1998 and Promenade 2002 have been received as enthusiastically as anything from the band's past.
Lindisfarne tour dates
Former member of Fairport Convention and one of England's most respected singer/songwriters whose live performances are enjoyed across the world, and whose new material is on a par with the classics he wrote decades ago. Being described as 'the English Bob Dylan' is a fair comparison, only Richard is a good few years younger!
Richard Thompson tour dates
Genial buffoonery and immaculate, testosterone drenched vocals define the Spooky Men's Chorale, a ruthless bunch of larrikins based in the Blue Mountains of Australia. With a sound as warm and grainy as a slab of teak, the Spooky Men give equally loving attention to ancient Georgian table songs, tawdry anthems like Don't Stand Between a Man and his Tool, and the odd ballad of terrifying beauty.
The repertoire is largely inspired by the pointless grandeur of everyday maleness, in the shower, in the shed and after breakfast. Stage presence is imposing, black and foolishly statuesque, with a cunning taste in hats. Their studied deadpan is no act: like most blokes, they've only got the faintest idea of what's going on...
The Spooky Men's Chorale tour dates
Steve Knightley is the songwriting force behind the phenomenally successful acoustic roots duo Show of Hands as well as a fine singer and musician. From a rock background, Knightley is known for his strong narrative songs (many inspired by people and places in his native West Country) and cogent, inventive lyrics. His rock style rant Country Life and anthemic rally call Roots were both nominated for Best Original Song in the BBC Radio2 Folk Awards, whilst Show of Hands have won the categories Best Live Act and Best Duo. At the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Steve won the coveted Best Original Song category with his topical and widely acclaimed song aimed at bankers and MPs – Arrogance Ignorance and Greed. Steve's 2010 solo appearances include Glastonbury and Larmer Tree festivals.
'Bleak, witty and finely observed' (The Guardian).
Steve Knightley tour dates
Since being presented with BBC Radio 2's Folk Singer of the Year award in 2008, the Daily Telegraph's prediction that "Fowlis could be the first Scottish Gaelic crossover star in the making" has seemed increasingly prescient. Julie tours with a top-class band including Éamon Doorley on bouzouki, Dubliner guitarist Tony Byrne, highland fiddler Duncan Chisholm and bodhrán champion Martin O'Neill.
Julie Fowlis tour dates
'The musical equivalent of the bodice-ripping blockbuster' - The Guardian. Seth's live show, as with everything else he does, takes the established folk orthodoxy and turns it on its head. The spirit of the rock band meets the timeless and heartfelt subject matter of the folk tale in a blur of fiddle, acoustic guitar and foot-stomping rhythms, with Seth's unmistakable vocals riding the wave.
Seth Lakeman tour dates
Based on the Isle of Skye, the Peatbog Faeries have been nominated for Best Live Act at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012 and described as 'the future of Celtic dance music'. They incorporate many influences which take them from traditional jigs and reels through jazz, hiphop, reggae and more. Their inventive and unique approach always brings to their audience a true flavour of traditional Scottish music whilst offering a high octane experience - so be prepared to get on the dancefloor!
'Nothing prepares you for the high octane music of the Peatbog Faeries' - The Scotsman.
Peatbog Faeries tour dates
The flutes of Brian Finnegan and Sarah Allen, the guitar of Ed Boyd and the bodhran of John Joe Kelly weave and spin traditionally rooted tunes into the breathtaking sound of the groundbreaking band Flook. This group possesses a rare blend of fiery technical brilliance, delicate ensemble interaction and a bold, adventurous musical imagination. A unique combination of traditional styles and instrumentation with more contemporary beats and sounds makes Flook one of the most innovative Celtic groups in Britain today.
Flook tour dates
The Young 'uns have proved themselves a unique proposition - writing and performing a cappella or subtly accompanied songs that tell it how it is alongside traditional songs from their native North-East and further afield.
Renowned for their pitch perfect harmonies and rapid fire humour, their live show undeniably has the human touch. A decade of performance around the country, national radio sessions, more than 40 festival appearances (Cambridge to Glastonbury) and increasingly acclaimed album releases has delivered a gregarious, sharply honed, pull no punches act that clinched the Best Group trophy at both the 2016 and 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Beguiling audiences around the world, they seamlessly switch from beautiful ballads to brilliant banter, from profoundly poignant songs to infectiously irreverent humour. This, combined with their passion for storytelling and commitment to maintaining the tradition of social commentary, has led to five star reviews, live sessions on BBC Radio 2 and 3 and documentaries on Radio 4 as well as countless sold out shows and festival appearances throughout the UK, Canada and Australia.
The Young Uns tour dates
Widely acknowledged as one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world, Martin Simpson's interpretations of traditional songs are masterpieces of storytelling. His solo shows are intense, eclectic, spellbinding and deeply moving. His own song writing has produced some real gems, from the truck-stop epic Love Never Dies, to the profoundly moving Never Any Good. His career includes collaborations on stage and record with June Tabor, Kelly Joe Phelps, Jackson Browne, Danú, Martin Carthy, Cara Dillon and many more. Simpson is a very regular nominee in the BBC Folk Awards and received Musician of the Year in 2002 and 2005.
Martin Simpson tour dates
Fiddle player Sam Sweeney is probably best known for playing with Bellowhead, but like most folk musicians plays with a multitude of different outfits, including Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party, Hannah James & Sam Sweeney, The Full English, Eliza Carthy’s Wayward Band and a number of other acts.
After picking up his first fiddle at the age of six, Sam showed prodigious talent, winning the Wiltshire Folk Association Young Folk Award, and the In The Tradition Award at the the age of eleven.
Sam Sweeney tour dates
Le Vent Du Nord (Wind from the North) perform traditional Québécois music in French which is heavily influenced by Celtic music from both Ireland and Brittany. The group use a very diverse range of musical instruments augmented by Québécois Foot Percussion presented via a most entertaining, energetic and engaging stage show. Renowned as ambassadors of Francophonie, Le Vent du Nord are also largely acknowledged as one of the key groups in Quebec’s traditional folk music revival.
Le Vent du Nord tour dates
An Anglo-French sensation playing self-penned and traditional music from anywhere, creating exciting acoustic dance music, which is equally good to sit and listen to. Featuring top-class players Andy Cutting, James Delarre, Tania Buisse, Julien Cartonnet and Barnaby Stradling.
Topette tour dates
Sam Kelly is a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning Cornwall-based singer, song-writer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. As a young child, Sam spent many a night enraptured, listening to his Irish grandfather tell folk tales, sing folk songs, and play folk tunes on his melodeon. Having caught the bug, Sam has dedicated his life to rediscovering and renewing the sounds of his Gaelic heritage, and creating exciting new music that transcends the boundaries of traditional and popular music.
Already known for touring as a trio with Jamie Francis (banjo) and Evan Carson (percussion), Sam now also has a six-piece band; The Lost Boys, to help his songs reach their full potential. Joining Sam, Jamie and Evan are Ciaran on fiddle and guitar, Graham on cello, and the exceptional Toby Shaer (John McCusker band, Heidi Talbot band) on flutes, whistles, and cittern. Expect to hear haunting harmonies, soaring tunes and melodies, and instrumental performances of the highest calibre, all led by Sam´s expert vocals. You´ll be sure to leave a gig with your feet tapping and face beaming!
Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys tour dates
Hannah James' Jigdoll combines music, song and innovative clog dance in a beautiful show exploring the life of the travelling player. Jig Doll, the wooden dancing dolls used as a metaphor for the project, is more than a concert, featuring newly-composed music in a magical setting woven around percussive dance.
Hannah James' Jigdoll tour dates
The Shee bring Electro-harp, accordion, fiddles, flute, mandolin and three powerful voices together with their diverse range of individual musical influences to produce an adventurous brew of Folk, Gaelic and Bluegrass.
Shona Mooney on fiddle/viola; Olivia Ross on fiddle/vocals; Amy Thatcher on accordion; Lillias Kingsman on flute/fiddle; Rachael Newton on harp/fiddle/vocals and Laura Salter on mandolin/vocals.
The Shee tour dates
A young and exciting folk duo, performing a wide variety of traditional and modern songs and tunes, many of them self-penned, and playing fiddle and bouzouki. Charming and multi-talented, Winners in 2011 of the BBC2 Folk Awards for Best Duo
Nancy Kerr & James Fagan tour dates
Blackbeard's Tea Party combine fiddle, melodeon and voice with the interlocking grooves of two hand percussionists, a distorted electric guitar, and funk-inflected bass patterns. Though their music often takes traditional tunes and songs as the starting point, it's clear that Blackbeard's Tea Party is not for folk purists. Theirs is a gutsy take on folk which aims to renounce the trendy twee of bands like Mumford and Sons in favour of folk's darker and more primitive origins, all by way of classic rock, funk and dance music. The resulting arrangements are often quirky and boisterous. This playfulness - along with their anarchic and ebullient stage show - has won Blackbeard's Tea Party a small legion of fans.
Blackbeard's Tea Party tour dates
Lady Maisery comprises Hazel Askew (The Askew Sisters), Rowan Rheinagans (Fidola) and Hannah James (Kerfuffle, Demon Barbers)) – a striking trio whether singing spellbinding a cappella or accompanying themselves on accordion, harp and violin. They are also one of the first groups in the UK to have revived the tradition of “diddling” or singing tunes, nearly defunct in England but still prevalent in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe.
Lady Maisery tour dates
Are they classical? Are they folk? Are they a category not even dreamed of yet by the reviewers? The answer to all three questions is undoubtedly YES - and they're a lot more besides. Belshazzar's Feast starts with traditional folk music, adds a touch of classical and jazz, throws in a bit of music hall and tops it all off with wry humour. Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Faustus) on voice, fiddle and oboe plus Paul Hutchinson (Hoover The Dog) on voice and accordion 'play like no-one else you've ever heard', says Mike Harding (BBC 2 Radio), 'Their music is breathtaking and wickedly inventive.'
Belshazzar's Feast tour dates
An outstanding folk singer/songwriter who has some magnificent songs to his name and who is also probably this country's finest squeezebox player.
'One of the finest squeezebox players in Christendom. An outstanding singer, a notable songwriter... He's in a class of his own for the life he instils into whatever issues from his squeezeboxes' (Folk Roots).
John Kirkpatrick tour dates
Aberdeenshire folk singer Iona Fyfe, has become one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland. A finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2017, Iona embraces the repertoire of her native North East throughout the UK and Europe.
Iona Fyfe tour dates
Singer, songwriter, melodeon, banjo, dulcimer and bouzouki player, bandleader, broadcaster, teacher, step dancer, club organiser, sallow-faced wit, raconteur and all-round good guy. He's probably best known for his richly varied solo work, stretching across the whole range of the folk umbrella from the English tradition to dance tunes to his own devastatingly potent original songs.
Pete Coe tour dates
'A fine singer and multi-instrumentalist, involved with collecting songs & developing new directions for folk presentation, e.g. The Widows Uniform and other adaptions from Kipling. Very much in the Premier Division of English folk musicians. Especially recommended for Real Folkies.' (Stortfolk Music Club)
Brian Peters tour dates
Emily and Hazel Askew are a young duo making waves on the folk scene with their energetic brand of English folk music. Using fiddle and melodeon, they play and sing with an infectious enjoyment and love for the music, winning them fans wherever they go. From rhythmic foot stomping tunes to powerful interpretations of songs and ballads, their playing always guarantees to engage and inspire those who hear. They've spent the last couple of years playing at venues across the country, from top festivals and folk clubs to London's National Theatre and National Portrait Gallery. "Hazel's rich gutsy voice and inventive melodeon playing combined with the skill of Emily's singing fiddle or soulful cello are a new force to be reckoned with!" - Stirrings Magazine. "What the Askew Sisters do so well is tell the story and allow the music accompanying to help that story-telling along." - EDS Magazine.
The Askew Sisters tour dates
Sid and Jimmy are an emerging duo who play traditional folk music predominantly from the British Isles. They tell stories of hardship, joy, murder and celebration held together with driving banjo and guitar arrangements and close vocal harmonies.
Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith tour dates
Emily is fast gaining a reputation for her songwriting and 'lark like' voice. Inspired by the darker underbelly of folklore and balladry, Emily weaves harmony rich narratives of both the magical and the monstrous.
Emily Portman tour dates
Broom Bezzums - Mark Bloomer and Andrew Cadie - have been tearing up and down German autobahns since 2007, spreading their infectious music and wooing new fans with their congenial storytelling.
Firmly established in Germany, their music is play-listed on several national radio stations, has been heavily featured in the music press and lauded in the broadsheets.
Mark and Andrew are occasionally joined by guest singer Katie Doherty. Her spellbinding voice melds effortlessly with their harmonies.
Broom Bezzums tour dates
A native of New York City, Jeff Warner sings traditional American and English folk songs which are rich in local history and sense of place. He also offers banjo tunes, dancing jig dolls and sailor songs.
Jeff Warner tour dates
Storyteller, word wrangler, crowd tamer Debs’ powerful storytelling brings together the poetic and the irreverent, the ancient and the defiantly modern. Armed with a quick wit, already laugh and a way with an audience, Debs has fast become one of the UK's most acclaimed Performance Storytellers, regularly playing venues such as the Royal Opera House, the British Library, the Southbank Centre and Shakespeare's Globe.
Storyteller for Shakespeare's Globe, Storyteller in Residence at the English Folk Dance and Song Society, double nominee at last year's British Awards for Storytelling Excellence, Debs is a force of nature, a teller not to be missed.
'Stunning! A storming set of great stories, superbly told!' (Nell Phoenix).
Debs Newbold tour dates
Granny's Attic are a folk trio from Worcester, England who met and formed at secondary school in 2009 and have since been regularly playing a variety of gigs including festivals, local events and gigs across the country.
They play a range of English, Irish, Scottish traditional music, as well as some of their own compositions. Each member plays a variety of instruments, with the main line-up being melodeon/concertina; guitar; and fiddle/mandolin.
Granny's Attic tour dates
Esteemed Turkish singer and star in the revival of rebetiko, the bitter-sweet, devil-may-care songs of an exiled underclass, sung in hash dens and cafe aman music houses of Athens, Piraeus and Istanbul of the turbulent 1920s.
Cigdem Aslan tour dates
Jim is a young folk singer/musician from East Devon who performs an exciting mixture of traditional and contemporary songs including many of his own compositions.
Jim Causley tour dates
Gwenifer Raymond is a Welsh multi-instrumentalist, originally from Cardiff but now residing in Brighton, England. Gwenifer began playing guitar at the age of eight shortly after having been first exposed to punk and grunge. After years of playing around the Welsh valleys in various punk outfits she began listening more to pre-war blues musicians as well as Appalachian folk players, eventually leading into the guitar players of the American Primitive genre. She has since been playing her own moody and often-times manic original American Primitive styled compositions on guitar and banjo around the UK.
Gwenifer Raymond tour dates
The National Youth Folk Ensemble launched in October 2016, bringing together 17 of the most talented young folk musicians from across England. During the year, the 14-18 year old musicians participate in four intensive weeks of music-making in different parts of England, working with folk luminaries such as Sam Sweeney (Artistic Director 2016-17), Rob Harbron, Jenn Butterworth, Sarah Hayes and Saul Rose. Expect modern arrangements of folk tunes from England and beyond, alongside new compositions drawing on traditional music, all created and performed by these rising stars.
National Youth Folk Ensemble tour dates
A diverse sound drawing on influences from British folk roots, Brazilian, Cuban and African music.
Chris Hoban tour dates
Fabulous music and inspirational tales, seamlessly linked with relaxed good humour. Mike is a prizewinning fiddler and a powerful and engaging storyteller, singer and songwriter
Mike O'Connor tour dates
Author Matthew Crampton is a London-based writer and folk singer. Previously, he worked as a speechwriter in London and Hong Kong. Matthew is known in folk clubs for performing traditional songs, monologues and music hall classics. He also sings with the shanty group The London Lubbers.
Matthew Crampton tour dates
Singer/songwriter influenced by funk, folk/roots and soft rock singing playing guitar, keyboard and mandolin.
Ben Walker tour dates
Keith plays both English and Anglo concertinas, providing distinctive and evocative song accompaniments. He sings in a harmony duo with Lynne Heraud and also in the maritime trio Three Sheets To The Wind with Derek Gifford and Geoff Higginbottom.
Keith Kendrick tour dates
Guitar playing folk legend who played in 'Gawain' with Steve Knightley and later forged a partnership with Phil Beer at college, which continues as 'Show of Hands' today.
Paul Downes tour dates
Based in Greenwich, South London, Kirsty is one of the most arresting and unconventional new young singer-songwriters on the UK folk roots
scene. Kirsty’s music is heavily anchored in the folk tradition with jazz and classical backwaters. But it has a much wider reach, with her
influences ranging from Cara Dillon to Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush.
Kirsty Merryn tour dates
Using piano, guitar and trademark mountain dulcimer, Kim Lowings sings songs of love, loss and rebellion; tales old and new. Best known for her work with The Greenwood, Kim brings a modern twist to tradition.
Kim Lowings tour dates
Growing up in County Durham, Harri Endersby’s music has been heavily influenced by the region’s crowd of prestigious folk singers and musicians, her lyrics being firmly rooted in the world of story-telling. Her new album ‘Homes/Lives’ presents a transition in style, beginning with acoustic, stripped-back tracks whilst gradually introducing electronic instrumentation and beats as the album progresses. This interweaving of genres has been inspired by Harri’s love of Icelandic electro-folk.
Harri Endersby tour dates
Renowned folk dance band Whapweasel have been delighting and exhausting the folk dance enthusiasts for the last 20 years. This solid eight piece folk rock dance band have over that time notched up 6 albums of enthralling, turbo-charged dance music attracting rave reviews and packed dance floors and the accolade of Dance Band Of The Year at the Radio Two Folk Awards.
Whapweasel tour dates
Banter is the latest creation of Simon Care as a concert and ceilidh band and is made up of Nina Zella, Simon Care, and Tim Walker.
Described as 'the UK's smallest big band, Banter take classic English folk music and drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Banter tour dates
A very talented group of folk musicians who play music from England and Europe.
Token Women tour dates
An excellent ten-piece band with music to blow you away. Guitars, melodeons, saxophones, fiddles, recorders and Jews harp weld together. Nick Walden is their marvellous, witty, erudite caller.
Committee Band tour dates
A new band of experienced musicians who play traditional English and Welsh dance music. With a line-up of 3 violins, accordion and bouzouki, they offer a lyrical alternative to drum-based ceilidh bands.
Boldwood tour dates
This raucous 8 piece band combines a group of diehard folkies with some of the finest young jazz and classical musicians in the south to create an exciting live show you won’t forget!
Threepenny Bit tour dates
On banjo, fiddle and accordion, The Gloworms' vibrant sounds explores the wealth of traditional english dance music.
The Gloworms tour dates
Well-loved singer and musician with a wide range of traditional and contemporary material.
Sandra Kerr tour dates
John Dipper is a respected and established performer and composer. Steeped in the traditions of Southern England, he has a unique playing style and a deep understanding and passion for indigenous culture.
John Dipper tour dates
As a singer, oboist, violinist, composer and arranger Paul has performed and recorded extensively with BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winners and nominees Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast and Faustus.
Editor of the Bellowhead Songbook, and Hampshire Dance Tunes, Paul’s composition commissions include; The Seven Joys of Mary for the Choir of Somerville College, Oxford; The Hartlepool Monkey for Streetwise Opera (nominated for a BASCA award) and Kites, Cars and Cor Anglais, commissioned by BBC Radio 4 for the series Playing the Skyline. His latest publication is Community Choirs Folk, for Faber Music.
Since 2001 Paul has directed the Andover Museum Loft Singers, a non-auditioning community choir. He was awarded a First for his Masters in Traditional Music, and in 2007, received a 75th Anniversary Award from the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
Paul Sartin tour dates
A fine melodeon player in the English tradition who also plays guitar and mandola and has a powerful rich voice too.
Ed Rennie tour dates
Jacquelyn Hynes is a freelance London based multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator. She plays silver and wooden flutes, sax, piano and pipes, and also composes
Jacquelyn Hynes tour dates
Award winning folk-rock. From the anthemic to the intimate - a joyous explosion of passion & melody. Music made by the people and shared by the people. With hearts and souls tuned to the songs which came before them, Merry Hell bring you new words and music forged from their own experiences, from the lows and the loves of their lives.
Merry Hell tour dates