After a two-year absence, the Cambridge Folk Festival returns to Cherry Hinton Hall from today (Thursday July 28) until Sunday (July 31).
As always, there will be a wide variety of acts on display over the four days, ranging from the irresistible pop-flamenco groove of the mighty Gipsy Kings to the fiery blues of that force of nature that is Seasick Steve, from the timeless folk-inspired hits of Suzanne Vega to the stunning traditional styles of Irish legends Clannad.
And you can listen to the protest songs of Billy Bragg, or the “party band” Chico Trujillo, whose sound, although rooted in classic cumbia, mixes influences such as reggae, bolero and rumba.
One of the oldest folk festivals in the world, it dates back to 1965 and attracts around 14,000 people, many of whom return year after year. Enjoy live coverage of the festival on Cambridge 105 radio from today. The station will be backstage throughout the event with artist interviews and live performances.
Here are some of our movies to watch:
Clannad – Sunday July 31, stage 1, 5.15-6.15 p.m. The legendary Irish band took their In a Lifetime Farewell tour, which began just before the pandemic, around the world. In more than 50 years of musical creation, the family collective – singer Moya Brennan, her brothers Ciarán and Pól Brennan and her uncle Noel Duggan (his other uncle and bandmate Pádraig Duggan died in 2016) – counts Bono among its biggest fans. and have sold over 15 million records worldwide. They also provided the theme for the popular 80s TV series, Robin of Sherwood. Read our interview with Moya here.
Suzanne Vega – Friday July 29, stage 1, 8:40-9:40 p.m. Widely considered one of the finest composers of her generation, Suzanne Vega became a leading figure in the folk music revival of the early 1980s when she sang what have been called contemporary or neo-modern folk songs. folk of his own creation in the clubs of Greenwich Village. . Since the release of her critically acclaimed self-titled debut album in 1985, Suzanne has performed to sold-out concerts at many of the world’s most prestigious venues. His best-known songs include Lucas, Tom’s dinner and In Liverpool. Read our interview with Suzanne here.
Nick Hart – Sunday July 31, Club Tent, 4:35-5:15 p.m. The talented singer and multi-instrumentalist, whose work with English folksong has earned him a reputation as one of the most acclaimed performers of his generation, has a deep respect for the nuances of traditional song and his live performances. captivating testify to the importance he places on storytelling. In 2021, Nick won the Cambridge Folk Festival’s Christian Raphael Prize, awarded to foster the development of artists, and will play this year’s event as part of the prize. Read our interview with Nick here.
spelling songs – Saturday July 30, Stage 1, 6.05-7.05 p.m. A sort of folk ‘supergroup’, Spell Songs – boasting an impressive roster of some of the genre’s biggest names – is a musical companion to The lost words and The lost spells, books by acclaimed author Robert Macfarlane and award-winning illustrator Jackie Morris. The collective, which will be joined on stage by Jackie, creates an enriching listening experience that intersects music, literature, language and art, as a call to reawaken our love of nature. Read our interview with Jackie Morris here.
Katherine Pridy – Sunday July 31, Stage 1, 12:05-12:50 p.m. Since his release with his first EP Wolf in 2018, the Birmingham-based singer-songwriter has become one of the most exciting names on the UK scene. Declared “The best thing I’ve heard all year” by Richard Thompson, who later invited her to join him on his 2019 Irish tour and 2021 UK tour, the haunting voice of Katherine and her distinctive guitar style saw her sell out. a flagship tour and support world-class artists including The Chieftains, John Smith and Vashti Bunyan. Read our interview with Katherine here.
Beans on toast – Thursday 28 July, Club Tent, 6.40-7.30 p.m. The Essex-born folk songwriter is a one-off performer, twisting an age-old genre with a DIY approach and becoming something of a cult figure in the process. A festival favorite (he’s played Glastonbury every year since 2007) and a prolific writer and performer, the quick-witted musician has written and recorded 14 albums and he’s played every bar, club, venue, pub, festival , parties and honky-tonk you can think of. Read our 2021 interview with Beans on Toast here.
They Bailey – Saturday July 30, Stage 2, 5.45-6.35 p.m. One of the hardest working women in blues, rock and roots music, the Bristol-based singer, songwriter and bandleader has worked her way to the forefront of the UK blues and roots scene. His third album Shine in the half light came out earlier this year and is packed full of solid originals brought to life by the A-list group of Elles. This is another significant step forward in a successful career already loaded with awards and acclaim. Read our 2021 interview with Elles here.
to look at – Saturday July 30, Stage 2, 8:05 p.m.-8:55 p.m. After a 14-year recording hiatus, the wildly popular band released their latest album, Again, in April 2019. With the flutes and whistles of Brian Finnegan and Sarah Allen, the guitar of Ed Boyd and the bodhran of John Joe Kelly, the group skillfully weaves traditional tunes into a captivating sound. Flook was shortlisted for Best Folk Group at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards in Ireland in 2019 and Again was nominated as Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, also in 2019. Read our interview with Flook from earlier this year here.
Billie Marten – Sunday July 31, stage 1, 1:10 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. Born Isabella Sophie Tweddle, this talented singer-songwriter got her start in music thanks to her parents surrounding her with music from Nick Drake, John Martyn, Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, Kate Bush and Loudon Wainwright III. The family lived in the pastoral hills of Ripon, North Yorkshire, where Billie grew up in and around the Dales. Read our 2021 interview with Billie here.
Other recommended acts: Seasick Steve (Friday, stage 1, 10:10 p.m.-11:25 p.m.), Chico Trujillo (Saturday, stage 1, 10:25 p.m.-11:25 p.m.), and Billy Bragg (Sunday, stage 1, 6:40-7:40 p.m.).
Besides the main stages, The Den provides a platform for artists under 30 to advance their careers, while The Hub is another special space for young musicians to take part in workshops, sessions and perform. The club tent sees local clubs from across the county, including the Cambridge Folk Club, performing throughout the weekend.
The festival has won several awards over the past 50 years, including the BBC Radio 2 Good Tradition Award in 2014 and the A Greener Festival Award in 2016, for its ongoing commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.
Don’t miss our full Folk Festival coverage and reviews online and in the next week Cambridge Independent. For more information about the festival and to book tickets, visit cambridgelive.org.uk.folk-festival.