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Cambridge Folk Festival: New names announced for summer 2019

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Cambridge Folk Festival has announced another raft of artists joining the bill at Cherry Hinton Hall.

The new names include Sarah Darling, Daoiri Farrell and his All-Star Celtic Session Band, Andrew ‘Roo’ Panes and Jack Broadbent.

Sarah Darling (8829414)
Sarah Darling (8829414)

Antoinette Jackson, chief executive of the city council, said: “With an incredible mix of established names and rising talent, this year’s event will be just as exciting for dedicated lovers of folk as it is for young people, students and families who are venturing out to the festival for the first time.”

Cambridge Folk Festival, which takes place from August 1 to 4, has also commissioned an one-hour long, narrative folk ballet, The Sisters of Elva Hill.

The project has been produced by award-winning folk musician and Musical Director Lucy Ward.

The festival takes place at Cherry Hinton Hall from 1-4 August 2019 and headliners include Calexico and Iron & Wine, Lucinda Williams and From Bamako to Birmingham featuring Amadou and Mariam and Blind Boys of Alabama (Sunday).

The Unthanks (9383460)
The Unthanks (9383460)

Making the trip from across the Atlantic is US country singer and songwriter Sarah Darling. Well known to live music fans, Sarah has been a favourite of the last four years at the hugely popular C2C festivals. Her new album Wonderland will be released in June.

Since ditching his day job as an electrician, Irish singer and bouzouki player Daoiri Farrell is no stranger to a collaboration or two and has assembled his All-Star Celtic Session band together for Cambridge Folk Festival. The collective includes a veritable who’s who of Celtic maestros that includes Michael McGoldrick, Donal Lunny, Niamh Dunne, Seán Óg Graham, Donald Shaw and Robbie Walsh.

Currently on tour throughout Europe and North America, Dorset native Andrew “Roo” Panes will be wooing audiences at Cherry Hinton with material from his three albums and EPs.

One to watch will be the incredible slide guitar skills of blues rocker Jack Broadbent. Hailed as “the master of the slide guitar” by Montreux Jazz Festival, Jack has also been championed by the legendary Bootsy Collins. Jack has spent the past year wowing international audiences with his unique blend of virtuosic acoustic and slide guitar (played with a hip-flask!), and poignant folk and blues inspired lyrics.

Graham Nash (9383443)
Graham Nash (9383443)

Bringing a touch of comedy to the festival is folk parody band The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican. Playing mainly acoustic instruments, they take popular songs and twist them in their own hilarious ways.

Ryan Young, who is a young fiddle player from Scotland, has exploded onto the traditional scene in the last 18 months - one of a 'new wave' of young players bringing fresh and inventive ideas to traditional Scottish music. Ryan's fiddle playing is brimming with fresh melodic ideas, an uplifting rhythmic drive and a great depth of dynamics and precision. Ryan Young started playing with Jenn Butterworth as a fiddle and guitar duo after Jenn heard that Ryan was having to play unaccompanied and offered to join him. They have been playing extensively throughout the UK and Europe since.

Katie Doherty's latest project is a collaboration with fellow North East based musicians Dave Gray and Shona Mooney. Performing as Katie Doherty and the Navigators, theatre composer Katie will be performing with (founder member of folk supergroup The Shee) Shona and Världens group member Dave.

Kerri Watt is the Scottish singer-songwriter currently riding high on the wave of popularity of UK Americana music. Having toured with Ward Thomas, Starsailor, Embrace, Nina Nesbitt and Coldplay, Glaswegian Kerri will be another highlight of Cambridge 2019.

The first thing that grabs your attention about Northern Ireland singer songwriter Amy Montgomery (apart from her Bohemian look) is her raw and beautiful voice honed from relentless busking throughout Ireland. Her vocals seem to channel the spirit of Janis Joplin and Grace Slick whilst also acknowledging her all-time favourite Alanis Morissette.

Gruff Rhys (9383457)
Gruff Rhys (9383457)

Lucy Ward is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Derby. She plays guitar, ukulele and concertina but considers her voice to be her first instrument. When not writing music for theatre and film, Lucy revels in being on stage and will be a true gem not to be missed in August.

Aiming to raise the tent roof and awareness of the importance of mind healthcare, is musical collective SING4SANE, led by Melissa James. The music and mental health initiative aims to bring together members of the public to sing and build connections among those with an understanding of, and empathy towards, mental health struggles.

Cambridge Folk Festival has commissioned a new artistic piece that will be performed for the first time at Cherry Hinton Hall this year. It is a one-hour long, narrative folk ballet, The Sisters of Elva Hill. The project has been produced by award winning folk musician and Musical Director Lucy Ward. The choreographer is Debbie Norris who has a background in narrative ballet.

Also announced today is Cambridge Folk Festival’s collaboration with this year’s Canadian East Coast Music Awards (ECMA). CEO of the ECMA Andy McLean is very happy to be working together: "Huge congratulations to those successful East Coast artists chosen to perform this summer at the world renowned Cambridge Folk Festival, one of the longest running and most famous folk festivals in the world. It's an amazing opportunity for ECMA artists to reach the UK market, and we are very proud of our developing partnership with the Cambridge Folk Festival who continue to demonstrate their support for East Coast Music/Canadian Style. Good luck to the performers and have a wonderful summer, Cambridge!"

Calexico and Iron Wine (9383438)
Calexico and Iron Wine (9383438)

Artists confirmed to cross the Atlantic from Canada are Juno Award winner and alternative folk musician Old Man Luedecke, fellow Nova Scotians Ben Caplan and Mo Kenney. Also announced to showcase are Newfoundland folk trio The Once and singer-songwriter Dylan Menzie hailing from Prince Edward Island.

New names added

Sarah Darling

Daoiri Farrell’s All-Star Celtic Session feat. Michael McGoldrick, Donal Lunny, Niamh Dunne, Sean Og Graham, Donald Shaw and Robbie Walsh

Roo Panes

Jack Broadbent

The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican

Ryan Young and Jenn Butterworth

Katie Doherty & the Navigators

Kerri Watt

Amy Montgomery

Lucy Ward


The Two Princesses

Already announced

Lucinda Williams

José González

Nick Mulvey

Richard Thompson

Ralph McTell


Fisherman’s Friends

Lisa O’Neill

Lil’ Jimmy Reed & the A Team


Nancy Kerr, James Fagan & Friends

Sam Sweeney


Jarrod Dickenson

Karine Polwart

Calexico and Iron & Wine

Amadou & Mariam and Blind Boys of Alabama

Graham Nash

The Unthanks

Gruff Rhys

Robert Finley

Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening

The Rails

McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle

Siobhan Miller

Holy Moly & the Crackers

The Tweed Project

Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra

How to book

Cambridge Folk Festival takes place at Cherry Hinton Hall 1-4 August 2019. Stage 1 headliners are Calexico and Iron & Wine (Friday), Lucinda Williams (Saturday) and From Bamako to Birmingham featuring Amadou and Mariam and Blind Boys of Alabama (Sunday). Stage 2 headliners are Ralph McTell (Thursday), Robert Finley (Friday), Tunng (Saturday).

Ticket information:

Full festival ticket: (£179), Thursday (£29.50), Friday: (£73.50), Saturday (£73.50), Sunday (£73.50).

Booking: www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk/ Cambridge Live Box Office 01223 357851

Camping at Cherry Hinton Hall and Coldham’s Common is available. Glamping at Coldham’s Common is also available. Concession tickets (disabled access and carer, Under 21, Cambridge City Resident) are available. Please see the website for more information and full ticket prices: www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk

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