When: 2nd – 5th August 2018
Where: Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge.
In exactly three weeks time, Cambridge Folk Festival returns for what will be its 54th consecutive year to the very familiar and most picturesque surroundings of Cherry Hinton Hall which lies just to the south-east of Cambridge city centre. It is one of the longest-running and most highly regarded folk festivals in the world and one look at this year’s tremendous line-up tells you all you need to know about its continuing success.
Over the course of its three full days and four glorious nights, more than 100 acts will perform across Cambridge Folk’s five main stages and performance areas in what surely has to be one of the festival’s strongest bills in many a year. Looking forward to the event, God Is In The TV has chosen 10 acts that we are incredibly excited about seeing at this year’s festival:
Drever, McCusker and Woomble
Appearing on Stage 2 on the opening night and in continuing what is that grand old Cambridge Folk tradition of notable Scots musicians performing at Cherry Hinton Hall are Kris Drever (vocalist and guitarist with folk trio, Lau), John McCusker (regarded as Scotland’s foremost fiddle player) and Roddy Woomble (frontman with revered indie-rock band Idlewild). Having reunited to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their landmark album Before The Ruin, expect to hear some really great tunes from that most contemporary of folk records.
Cambridge Folk festival has long held a strong commitment to supporting new and rising talent and the place in which to enjoy seeing such potential stars of the future is The Den. An intimate marquee tent betwixt and between Cherry Hinton Hall itself and the site’s delightful duck pond, The Den will play host to some 30 acts over the weekend, including the progressive acoustic music of the York-based trio Stillhouse who combine mandolin, guitar, double bass and vocals to quite mesmerising effect.
John Smith Trio
There is nothing ordinary about John Smith. The English folk guitarist and singer has played with them all – including John Martyn, Davy Graham, and John Renbourn as well as David Gray, Lisa Hannigan, and Lianne La Havas – and yet still found the time to carve out a huge reputation for himself in his very own right. Here he takes to Stage 2 on Friday as part of a trio and it promises to be something quite extraordinary.
First Aid Kit
Closing the main stage on Friday night and in what is an undoubtable coup for the festival will be the supreme Swedish folk duo of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg. Four albums into their ten-year career and with their transcendental harmonies and soaring melodies firmly intact, First Aid Kit just continue to go from strength to strength.
Last year the role of guest curator was first introduced at Cambridge Folk Festival. Jon Boden made an excellent fist of the job. This year it is the turn of Rhiannon Giddens, probably best known for her work with the old-time string band from Durham, North Carolina, Carolina Chocolate Drops. Her chosen acts for 2018 are the many and varied talents of Peggy Seeger, Kaia Kater, Birds of Chicago, Amythyst Kiah and Yola Carter and in addition to introducing each of them onto the stage, Giddens will also be performing herself on the main stage on Saturday.
In its 54 year history, Cambridge Folk has travelled very far from its fundamental traditional English folk roots. Songhoy Blues are a perfect example of just how far this festival’s net is now cast, both in global and musical terms. Songhoy Blues come from Timbuktu deep in the heart of the West African country of Mali and their sound takes their deep desert blues and fuses it with elements of rock, reggae and even hip-hop. They appear on the main stage on Friday.
Stick In The Wheel
Come Saturday it will be the turn of East London’s Stick In The Wheel to grace the main stage. Fronted by singer Nicola Kearey and guitarist/producer Ian Carter the quintet released their second studio album Follow Them True earlier on this year. The English folk music the band play has a pronounced political edge to it and is steeped in the culture and heritage of the East End communities from whence they come. Expect pride, passion and polemic in powerful abundance.
Two years ago and having just put in a sterling set on the festival’s second stage, Darlingside then stepped onto the main stage to plug a gap that had been unexpectedly left by the last minute withdrawal through illness of soul legend Charles Bradley. The indie-folk quartet from Cambridge, Massachusetts seized this unexpected opportunity with their gorgeous four-part harmonies and their brilliant cover of the Smashing Pumpkins ‘1979’ which saw the four men all singing around one single microphone still lingers long in the memory. It was a performance that sees them elevated onto Stage 1 on Saturday this year by right.
A man who will have travelled farther than most to get to Cherry Hinton Hall come the first weekend in August will be the Australian singer-songwriter, William Crighton. He released his second album Empire back in May to tremendous acclaim and Sunday’s crowd at Stage 2 will have the chance to see and hear if some of those artistic comparisons to Tom Waits and Nick Cave are really true.
And then who better to bring this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival to a resounding close on Sunday night than a man whose recording career now stretches back almost as far as the festival itself. The two-time Grammy winner, American singer-songwriter John Prine continues to write and perform dramatic folk-inspired music of the highest order. It is little wonder that a judge no less than Bob Dylan once described Prine‘s music as “pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree.”
For information on all of the artists who will be appearing at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival and how to buy tickets for the event, please head HERE
And, finally, HERE is a link to some photos from last year’s Cambridge Folk Festival