Preview: Cambridge Folk Festival – 25, 26, 27, 28 July 2013 1

Preview: Cambridge Folk Festival – 25, 26, 27, 28 July 2013

With now less than five weeks to go before Cherry Hinton Hall once more opens its gates to 14,000 visitors, the 49th annual Cambridge Folk Festival looks like it will be yet another sell-out.  Inspired by the Newport Jazz Festival and now standing proudly just one year short of its half century, the event is firmly established as one of the longest running and most famous folk festivals in the world. Located just to the south east of Cambridge city centre and set in the beautiful grounds of the Grade II listed Victorian country house that is Cherry Hinton Hall, the festival has evolved from its traditional folk roots to encompass a much wider interpretation of that musical term whilst still staying true to its more conventional origins.

Running alongside the ceilidhs, Morris dancing and reed garland workshops, will be a stage launched two years ago and dedicated to emerging talent. On consecutive nights The Den plays host to Marika Hackman, Hudson Taylor, Blue Rose Code and The Young Folk, all cut from a wildly divergent folk cloth and each playing their songs of darkness and light.  And for every progressive clog dancing workshop, instrument making 097and storytelling session there will a contemporary folk big band called Bellowhead (pictured here at last year’s Hop Farm Festival), the recently reformed The Mavericks, and to end the three and a half days in what promises to be typical rousing fashion, The Waterboys.

But like so many other festivals it may be all that lies in between that will be of particular interest and delight. Thursday evening welcomes first Willy Mason and then Lucy Rose to the second stage. She has quickly traversed that big divide from emerging to established with a quiet determination and maturity that is equally reflected in the ease with which she crosses traditional folk and popular music.

Friday heralds the arrival of artists onto the main stage; as the day unwinds expect something special from last year’s Mercury Prize shortlisted Sam Lee, a singer of songs, lover of nature and restless spirit to whom a line can inextricably be drawn from The Watersons and Fairport Convention (represented here by Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick the on Sunday) and the 907agenesis of today’s great British folk movement.  Power and passion will be in similar evidence when The Levellers take to the stage later in the evening but it is the couple who are listed to appear immediately before them who may well steal the day’s entire limelight. Amadou and Mariam (pictured left and captured below at the ATP Festival in May 2010) are Mali’s first musical couple; they produce an exquisite amalgam of Malian blues, djembe rhythms and an irresistible take on popularised musiques du monde. As they thread together songs taken from every stage of a career which now spans over thirty years with the unbridled joy of just living, theirs is music of and for the world.

And Saturday and Sunday will be no less diverse; no less exciting. Amongst many others, the former showcases the Cajun stomp of BeauSoliel avec Michael Doucet, contemporary folk pioneer Jim Moray and his Silent Ceilidh (achieved here with the assistance of headphones), Irish 486asongstress Heidi Talbot (pictured at last year’s Great British Folk Festival in Skegness) and KT Tunstall who veers into hitherto uncharted alt-country territory with her new album Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon and continues the great custom of Scottish artists to appear at the Cambridge Festival.

And in keeping with previous years, Sunday will see repeat performances – this time round Heidi Talbot and BeauSoliel both return to live action – whilst the Sabbath will also feature inaugural shows from such as Valerie June who will blend bluegrass, blues and a bucketful of soul and whose debut album Pushin’ Against A Stone is appositely released through Sunday Best Records, and Mud Morganfield. As Muddy Waters’ eldest son he has much to live up to but makes a pretty good fist of keeping the Chicago blues alive and kicking. Here he is featured at the 2011 Rhythm Festival in Bedford maintaining his father’s legacy, playing Willie Dixon’s ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’:

A full list of who is playing when can be found here:

But if you want a piece of this action, though, you had better be quick. Saturday tickets have already sold out and the remaining days are soon to follow suit. Get yours here:

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.