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HowTheLightGetsIn, the world's largest philosophy and music festival, is back in Hay and bigger than ever, with the thought-provoking debates, infectiously danceable music and parties that you've come to expect.
Our music programme, Festival Live, now covers seven stages, with 300 bands, singers, acoustic artists, brilliant comics and eye-opening film-screenings.
See howthelightgetsin.iai.tv/ for full details.
Molotov Jukebox are a 6 piece, genre dodging, leviathan of an experience, poised to take the world by storm. Incorporating trumpet, accordion, violin and the sultry tones of lead singer Natalia Tena, over the most concrete and inventive rhythm section this side of Jamaica, this is a band born out of love - love of each other, love of music and a love of making whole roomfulls of people dance til they fall over (or fall in love).
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Sandi Thom's infamous debut single topped the charts in 7 countries with the ensuing album shifting over 2 million copies in 2006. Maybe it's her Celtic Spirit, or her delicate heart that makes Sandi Thom such a unique singer/songwriter in this day and age but this mysterious and yet refreshing honest artist is not only a truly gifted musician, playing piano, guitar and harmonica, but she is also a pioneer in the music industry having paved the way for a generation of digital newcomers.
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Andrew Weatherall was a dance music legend, co-founder of Junior Boys Own with Terry Farley and a superb DJ who produced and remixed albums for artists such as Primal Scream, Beth Orton and One Dove, whilst also making experimental dance music under aliases including Meek and Planet 4 Folk. He was also one half of Two Lone Swordsmen. He passed away in February 2020 at the age of 56.
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Initially inspired by the 2 Tone sound, the now legendary Ninja Tune DJ, Mr Scruff is famed for his awesome hip-hop sound, his epic six-hour sets and his sense of the comic. His sets are a mixture of deck-related wizardry and animated tom-foolery and will leave even the most hardened of anti-dance music critics grinning and boogieing the night away.
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AKA the frontman of indie troubadours Starsailor. Older, wiser – and a father – he’s looking forward to “doing something different for a while”, setting off in a different ship but touching people once again, which could include anything from writing more songs with Suzanne Vega or fulfilling a lifetime ambition to write with Shelby Lynne.
See 7 tour dates featuring James Walsh
Emmy The Great
Critically acclaimed folk singer Emmy the Great, real name Emma-Lee Moss, was initially a member of the indie folk group Lightspeed Champion, performing as their vocalist for a brief period in 2007 alongside Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine). As a solo artist, she has released three albums to great critical acclaim. Noted for her evocative and thought-provoking lyrics, and her inventive way with rhyme, her live performances have bags of vulnerability and sass in equal measures.
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Felix Martin (Hot Chip)
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Double Ivor Novello awardwinning lyricist and enigma Chris Difford has brought us characters and sketches from every day life, turning the mundane into the beautiful, the urbane into the exquisite, for over 30 years. With his partner, collaborator, friend and Squeeze co-founder Glenn Tilbrook, Chris has written some of the most enduring and best-loved songs of our time - 'Up The Junction', 'Cool For Cats' and 'Labelled With Love', to name but a few.
See 2 tour dates featuring Chris Difford
London three-piece making tongue in cheek indie pop. The Hoosiers debut single, Worried About Ray, reached number 5 in the UK charts, while their first studio album, The Trick To Life, made it to number 1.
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RM Hubbert is a guitarist from Glasgow in Scotland. He writes music about love, death, friendship, mental illness and occasionally a dog called D Bone. It's not as depressing as the previous sentence suggests. A long established figure on Glasgow's music scene, Hubbert has played guitar in cult instrumental trio El Hombre Trajeado since the early 90s. Expect a mesmerising performance incorporating elements of flamenco, samba and contemporary classical music.
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You've already heard Phildel's music, though you may not know it. Her music is a journey into the landscape of her imagination, at times beautifully enchanting, at others, raw and horrific. Her songs have been used on a wealth of TV adverts, from Marks & Spencers to Expedia, including a (particularly poignant) award-winning Persil ad and most recently Apple iPad. They have sound-tracked movies and are cited as an inspiration by Mariah Huehner, author of the True Blood and Angel comic books. They have been used in theatre productions and by celebrity fashion designer Henrietta Ludgate's live shows.
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Blending the macabre narrative and vocal performance of such songwriting heavyweights as Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Scott Walker, with melodies that permeate and resonate, Hickox’s music is unique on the British music scene.
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London singer-songwriter and pianist. Think Jacques Brel in English plus a pinch of Rufus Wainwright, Tom Waits and Nina Simone.
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By The Rivers
By The Rivers have firmly put themselves on the radar with their Pop, Soul & Reggae fusion sound with an Afrobeat twist. The 6 piece band from Leicester, expertly avoid the constraint of one genre, whilst bringing to the table a distinctive sound wave of clean cut rhythms and hypnotic horns. They are a band known for their electrifying live shows; being hailed 'One of the best live acts in the UK' by BBC Introducing's Dean Jackson. Festivals including Glastonbury, Bestival, Shambala and Boomtown have been the setting for such performances, earning them a place among Foals, Jessie Ware & others as one of the Top 5 Future Rising Stars to be seen on Glastonbury Festivals Pyramid Stage, as chosen by the BBC.
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Bristol indie/electro pop duo Meadowlark are Kate McGill (vocals, keys) and Daniel Broadley (guitar, synths). The captivating pop melodies of Kate’s crystalline vocals accompanied by electronic flourishes combine to form a rich, heady atmosphere.
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Gabby Young is a bold, uninhibited yet sensitive singer-songwriter who is comparable to the likes of Rose Kemp, Carla Bozulich and perhaps even Amy Winehouse. Although classically trained, her diverse musical tastes include pop, rock, folk, jazz, funk and experimental and that shines through in every song. Critics are agreed, Gabby Young is a true original.
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Acoustic indie-folk anthems.
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Having caused dancefloor mayhem from the Scottish Islands to the South of Italy, Sheelanagig are probably the most fun you can have with a fiddle, flute, guitar, double-bass and drums. They are as physically relentless on stage as their music is – playing a unique and energetic blend of Folk, Jazz and World Music. Festival favourites at Glastonbury and Green Man their live show encompasses street theatre, elements of storytelling and acrobatics, and is sure to provoke a reaction – frenzied dancing and stage invasions are hazards on a really good night. They are a truly spellbinding band to see live.
See 2 tour dates featuring Sheelanagig
A collection of rogues and misfits surfing a tidal wave of horns, fiddles and guitars! Rapidly exploding from the Balkan Brass genre they emerge as an anarchic orchestra of passion and originality. So enter the big top and be immersed in the winding world of the hurdy-gurdy, the sonorous land of the tuba and the exotic realm of the duduk. Be ready to be engulfed by a wall of mesmerising virtuosity and a whirlwind of frenzied dancing. You may enter unknowingly but you will leave spellbound!
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The Gypsy Queens
The Gypsy Queens started out as buskers and now they play a lots of gigs, frequently at exclusive private for some of the richest and most famous people on the planet. Didier Casnati is the lead singer, guitarist and the soul of the band, a master storyteller who revells in audience interaction, singing to them, with them, at them, in a dynamic, energetic and utterly charming way. They draw from a huge repertoire of classic songs.
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CoCo And The Butterfields
If anyone ever doubted the ability of music to re-route people's lives, a page from the formative days of CoCo and the Butterfields will soon turn that around. It's 2012 in the town of Canterbury, where Tom Twyman has a plane ticket in his hand, for the journey to the new life he's mapped out for himself in Australia. Dulcima Showan, meanwhile, has just left sixth form college and is all set for art school in Dublin. Neither of them ever makes it, because by now they're in the early stages of a band that has other plans for them. CoCo and the Butterfields have been on a steady and unmistakable upward incline since then, developing an enviable reputation for their exhilarating live shows as their inclusive, acoustic-based sound has ripened to maturity. During the ride, they've played to enthusiastic audiences all over the UK and Europe, both at their own gigs and countless festivals, as well as headlining at London's O2 Academy. They also signed a prestigious 2016 publishing deal with peermusic. For all its elements of folk and Americana, this is admirably unconventional modern pop, and it's reached new levels of sophistication on their Monsters EP.
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Blaenavon Male Voice Choir
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A London based pop / soul singer and songwriter whose breakthrough came in late 2012 when her single 'Making Me Fall' spent four weeks on the BBC Radio 2 A-List. Still only 22 years old, she then kicked off 2013 touring with ex-Razorlight star, Andy Burrows, and then supported Mick Hucknall's UK tour, before then supporting Rod Stewart on his UK/EU arena tour.
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Josephine And The Artizans
Josephine and The Artizans are an 11 piece band that fuse classical with hip-hop and rock and consist of three rappers, a string trio, a heavy rhythm section and a lead classical singer. Josephine founded the band at Westminster University, where she studied with one of the current members, Gregory Madge (guitarist).
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Smerin's Anti-Social Club
Smerin's Anti-Social Club have been tearing up the South Coast with their brass-heavy blend of funk, dub, latin and ska music since 2001. Starting out playing at their own ever popular events at the Talking Heads in Southampton, they have progressed to regular club gigs in Cardiff and London, and toured round Cornwall and the South West gaining a large following along the way. The 10 piece lineup use the raw ingredients of ska, funk, dub, drum'n'bass and swing to full effect in their epic, brass-heavy instrumentals. Regular guest vocalists - including sassy Aussie songstress Nuala Honan - are bringing new dimensions to the band, but their sound still ripples with the unmistakeable energy, colour and humour that has always defined their unmissable performances
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Since signing to Sony Classical at the age of 12, Cardiff-born Charlotte's versatility has made her a huge commercial success. Her breakthrough album, Voice of an Angel, established her unique talents as a soprano, and by the age of 16, she had become the world's most successful classical crossover female artist. After moving on to her 'Crazy Chick' pop phase, she then created a fresh new sound which has been described as "a mix between Kate Bush and Florence Welch", showcasing the vocal range and power of the woman who has sold more than 10 million records. She has also been wowing audiences with her 'Late Night Pop Dungeon' project, a ten-piece band performing cover versions of intelligent pop classics, ranging from Bowie to En Vogue.
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Fight The Bear
Ska, rock, punk and indie fusion from Bishops Castle. "Fight The Bear describe themselves as 'six years old, over 500 gigs hardened, over 75,000 miles travelled, six countries explored'. During the summer they added 'BBC Introducing Stage - T in The Park' to their massive list of gigs as well as being Radio 1s 'Tip of the Week', and an excellent job they did as well. You would think after 500 gigs as a band you might start getting fed up of each other, but not these guys (well, they didn't show it at least)". - Dan Lucas, BBC Introducing.
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Reggae band Laid Blak was created when producer DJ Bunjy and MC Joe Peng joined forces to conquer the '90s jungle and rave scenes. Before long, 5 more members were added and after being scouted and signed to Island Records founder Chris Blackwell's label, the band were hailed by the press as the UK's leading Reggae band and the essential live festival act. They have supported acts such as John Legend, Julian Marley and Massive Attack.
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Carrie Tree performs delicate, soulful melodies with poetic lyrics that embrace the room with waves of emotion. She has been a known name on the UK alternative/green festival scene for several years playing regularly at festivals like Glastonbury, Sunrise, Shambala and Buddhafields. Carrie has toured and/or collaborated with the likes of Damien Rice, Fink, Duke Special, Rumer, Carly Simon, Ben Taylor, Martha Tilston, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Miriam Makeba's band. Carrie began composing at 14 and accompanies her exquisite vocals with piano, guitar, djembe and flute.
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Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer Nominee & all-purpose idiot, Sam Fletcher "...mixes gags with lo-fi flipchart drawings, inventions and magic tricks...a true indie comic" - Time Out.
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Ahir Shah is one of comedy's brightest new talents, whose sharp brand of stand-up features a blend of socio-political awareness, energetic delivery and jokes. 'Destined to be one of the brightest stars in the British comedy firmament... a frighteningly intelligent gagsmith' (The Scotsman) 'An intense, exciting performer whose act crackles with wit, his energy holding the audience captive until lights out' (FringeGuru) 'A sophisticated comedian with an elegant, eloquent style that probes beyond the superficial' (Chortle) 'Charismatic and of rewardingly cerebral approach' (The Guardian) 'Catch him now... he's going stellar' (The List).
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Sion Russell Jones
Space folk from parallel dimensions, infused with quirky lyrics and catchy melodies. Sion is also one half of popular duo 'Ginge & Cello Boi'.
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House Of Hats
House of Hats have been playing together since 2012 and have gone from strength to strength since then. With a style likened to Crosby, Stills and Nash - Fleet Foxes and Fleetwood Mac, they have since gone on to tour Holland, play to a regular packed residency in hometown Brighton and released their highly anticipated debut album 'This Love' in March 2014. Most excitingly the band toured the USA in mid June 2014 and played to enthusiastic audiences across the east coast.
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Orlando Seale And The Swell
Orlando Seale And The Swell started out as a collaboration between Orlando's band and orchestral players from The Southbank Sinfonia. For the Sinfonians it was an opportunity to explore a very different sort of playing and creating from their orchestral work, this collaboration became The Swell, making songs of night and the city, the lost and found on the underground, the club-card redeemers seeking salvation in supermarkets, and all the beautiful morons stumbling about the city. 'If Jeff Buckley was still alive, and if he had been English, and if he had discovered orchestras, that’s probably what he would have aimed for.' Gunilla Karlson-BBC London
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Maddie Jones, a singer and songwriter from South Wales, has made her mark on the live music scenes in Cardiff, Bristol and London. Influenced by everything - from folk to funk, to life itself - her music is eclectic and contrasting.
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Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emma Stevens is a regular on the British airwaves with Radio 2 playlisting tracks from both her debut album ‘Enchanted’ and 2014’s ‘Waves’. Championed by the station’s figureheads, Terry Wogan and Chris Evans, Emma headlined the BBC Introducing stage at ‘Festival in a Day’ in Hyde Park and played the main stage at CarFest. Dubbed “the best of 2013” by iTunes, Emma has also charmed tastemakers and blogs – Louder Than War described her music as “It’s pop, it’s folk, it’s indie, it’s kitsch, it’s wonderful”. She has toured with the likes of The Kooks and Feeder, and worked with a variety of artists including Kate Nash, Passenger and Jenn Bostic.
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The Zen Hussies
'Bath's future supergroup' - not really jazz at all, despite the large horn section, but don't go wasting time discussing it... This is one of the most original Bath bands in a long time and great fun with it! Horn heavy Swing-Ska-Jazz-Blues-Boogaloo. Original stomp and boogie!
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Possibly the best psychedelic trance DJ in the world with Cydonia and Atomic Records.
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London Afrobeat Collective
London Afrobeat Collective (LAC) is a twelve piece dance music explosion.
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“Stark glitchy electronics juxtaposed with warming acoustic cello and violin, and semi pop vocals.” – God Is In The TV Abi Wade creates a musical collaboration between limbs, strings and vocal chords. Using cello, vocals, orchestral arrangements, choral ensembles, location samples, synths and piano, her music is seamlessly sewn together, each beat, melody and bass line exactly in its place, to create songs that pull the heart strings and a performance that will beguile and intrigue. While it is hard to liken her to any former artist, similarities have been drawn to Arthur Russell, Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush.
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Jesse And The Brackish Breeze
A folk band from the wild welsh borders. The band consists of four – sometimes five - members.
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A quietly powerful performer.
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Matthew & Me
From Totnes in Devon, Matthew & Me draw influences from the likes of Mogwai and Sigur Ros. Their music touches the ethereal with haunting vocals and electric, acoustic rock.
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Defying genres and breaking musical boundaries, Tantz fuse the Eastern European Jewish folk sounds of Klezmer with ska grooves, hip hop grooves, and reggae grooves (in fact any grooves they can get their hands on).
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Manière des Bohémiens
Manière des Bohémiens play improvised Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli influenced Gypsy Jazz and Eastern European swing. Gypsy jazz played with the jaunty abandon of a misspent youth, an abusive PE teacher and a broken heart and arranged for 6 young virtuoso musicians who travel around playing the violin, guitar, double bass and accordion whilst dipping in and out of Parisian alleyways and eastern European brothels, absorbing pieces of the colourful lives they meet along the way.
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"Haunting vocals, oozing with the pain of heartache and beautifully humble production make Jazz's records an enthralling listen. A storming live presence leaves no excuse to miss the experience of seeing her live." - Music Week
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Martha is a captivating performer, an enchanting young singer-songwriter blessed with a gloriously clear and seductive voice. Her songs are exquisitely melodic and rooted in environmental, human and social issues as well as celebrating love, inner peace and the natural world. 'A sparkling repertoire of self-penned songs' -Timeout. 'She has probably the purest voice I have heard and at times it sent shivers up and down my spine' - Lee Allen, BBC.
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Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip DJ Set), The Moulettes, The Roving Crows, Electric Swing Circus, Christian Pattermore, Alison Levi, Krome Angels, Aubrey Fry, Kizzy Meriel Crawford, Funky Dung DJ, Golden Boys, Sixteen Tambourines, Thrilogy, Mista Trick, Toyfa