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Author: Folk Festival 2020

Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson is an indie/folk singer/songwriter from South-East England, writing lyrically-driven songs that feature his intricate guitar playing and powerful vocals. He has been touring extensively for the last four years, performing all over the country to great response. Most recently, Zach released his single, New Blockbuster, which has gained extensive radio play and critical acclaim: BBC Introducing described the track as ‘Brilliant’. He was voted the 2019 Thame Town Songwriting Competition winner, as well as ‘Best Newcomer’ at the ‘Graham Steel Music Awards 2017’. Zach has supported artists such as Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar (BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners) Luke Jackson (BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee) and The Black Feathers at sold out shows. Zach has performed at a large number of festivals, including Trinity Folk Festival, The Big Feastival and Walton Folk Festival, after which, he was praised in a Folk Radio article.

Zach released his second EP, ‘While We’re Still Here’, in March 2019, including the singles ‘New Blockbuster’, ‘Small Town’ and ‘Heartstring’. Most recently, he released a collaboration EP with Claudia Stark, celebrating the release with a sold out Guildford launch show.

Guitar and a voice, you’re going to love it

BBC Introducing 2019

The performance that stood out for me in the courtyard was Zach

Folk Radio 2018

Zach is an exciting new talent who writes great songs and has an engaging stage presence.

GSMC 2017

Beautiful Music

Oxjam Bracknell 2016
The Undoing of Polly Button

The Undoing of Polly Button

The Undoing of Polly Button is a new folk-opera written by Katherine Fear. It is a musical retelling of the tragic life of Mary Green a Nuneaton resident, inspired by the 2019 publication of a book of the same name by local author Stephen Moore.

Janice Burns and Jon Doran

Janice Burns and Jon Doran

Janice Burns & Jon Doran are a folk duo based in the North-East of England who formed in 2017 after discovering their shared love for traditional song. Their compelling storytelling comes alive through tight vocal harmonies and thoughtful interplay between mandolin and bouzouki. A connection with vibrant repertoire captures feelings of familiarity, unveiling a respect for tradition whilst remaining relevant. Gathering songs from a range of sources, their work is a celebration of their own musical and geographical backgrounds, embracing the differences that connect them.

The clarity and blend in their voices and their beautifully honed playing captivated the sell out audience at Folklub Newcastle to the point that you could hear a pin drop. They have invested fully in their craft and their sound as a duo and the results are breathtaking.’  

-Katie Doherty (Katie Doherty and the navigators)

The Wilderness Yet

The Wilderness Yet

The Wilderness Yet combines the acclaimed talents of folksinger Rosie Hodgson, traditional fiddler Rowan Piggott, and guitarist-flautist Philippe Barnes. Independently, they have earned audiences’ esteem as consummate musicians; together, they weave a tapestry of traditional and self-penned songs with a charm and familarity that is usually only found in seasoned line-ups.​

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan

Long standing, well loved Anglo-Australian duo. Multi BBC Folk award winners including the inaugural Horizon award and Best Duo 2003 and 2011.

The sheer abundance of distilled poetry on display is inspiring. And when it unravels in such a moving lyrical way, such as this, it will remain in the audience’s minds for a long time.

Spiral Earth
Will Pound's A Day Will Come

Will Pound’s A Day Will Come

Depicting the traditions of a continent, acclaimed harmonica and melodeon player Will Pound takes a musical journey across the states of the European Union to discover and unveil the diversity and common ground of traditional music and song. From the lively Swedish polska to the upbeat Italian tarantella, the lilt of the Irish jig, to buoyant French boures, relentless rachenistas from Bulgaria and the rip-roaring Spanish jota, these tunes have travelled, evolved and merged as Europeans have enjoyed freedom of movement and expression: a shining example of the strength and joy in unity .With Polish poet Bohdan Piasecki and a live band featuring Jenn Butterworth (Songs of Separation, Kinnaris Quintet), multi-instrumentalist Jude Rees (Jim Moray, RSC, Pilgrims Way), bass player and beatboxer John Parker (Nizlopi) and fiddle player Emma Sweeney (Michael McGoldrick Band).

A flat out genius

Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
Nancy Kerr

Nancy Kerr

Already a respected interpreter of traditional material, Nancy’s emergence as a writer of rare style has drawn comparisons to William Blake in her reawakening of a radical folk mythology as a backdrop for contemporary narratives about love and conflict, motherhood, migration, hardship and jubilation, and the tensions between rural and urban life.

Nancy is one of the most celebrated folk musicians of her generation, and has to date won 6 Folk Awards from BBC Radio 2: 2015 FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR • HORIZON AWARD 2000 • BEST DUO 2003 and again in 2011 with James Fagan • BEST GROUP 2014 with The Full English • BEST ALBUM 2014 with The Full English. Nominated Best Original Song 2011 for Queen of Waters. Winner Best Album (Spiral earth 2011) for Twice Reflected Sun (Navigator041).

Warwick Castle - Warwick Folk Festival 2020

New Decade: NEW SITE!

CASTLE PARK

At the start of its fifth decade, Warwick Folk Festival is excited to be moving for its 41st festival…closer to town and adjacent to the castle. Its new more accessible site, will be the Castle Park. This wonderful new home is in an area dedicated to the festival closer to town with beautiful views across the banks of the Avon and even the chance for glamping.

The Young 'Uns

The Young’uns (Saturday)

Teesside trio The Young’uns have always had the human touch. In the space of little more than a decade – and just five years after giving up their day jobs – they have become one of UK folk music’s hottest properties and best- loved acts.

Stockton Folk Club’s star graduates clinched the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Group’ title two years running (2015 and 2016) and the last years have seen them spreading the net, taking their unique act and instant audience rapport to Canada, America and Australia.

With their strong songs, spellbinding harmonies and rapid fire humour, they have achieved one of the trickiest balancing acts – an ability to truly ‘make them laugh and make them cry’, while cutting straight to the heart of some of our most topical issues.

In 2017, they unveiled their fourth studio album Strangers – playing their strongest suit to date. Bold, profound and resonant it showcased the growing talents of Sean Cooney, fast becoming one of folk’s finest songwriters.

Together with Michael Hughes and David Eagle, Cooney has come up with a collection of folk songs for our time, all sensitively arranged by the 30- something trio – looking back at wartime heroes here, offering a news report for the 21st century there, turning the spotlight on injustice and ultimately celebrating the indomitable human spirit.

In 2018, Strangers was crowned ‘Best Album’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. In the same year, The Young’uns produced and presented a new and unique piece of modern folk theatre. The Ballad Of Johnny Longstaff is the story of one man’s adventure from begging on the streets in the north of England to fighting against fascism in the Spanish Civil War, taking in The Hunger Marches and The Cable Street Riots.

It’s a timely, touching and often hilarious musical adventure following in the footsteps of one working class hero who witnessed some of the momentous events of the 1930s.

With their trademark harmony, honesty and humour the Teesside trio bring together 16 specially composed songs, spoken word, striking imagery and the real recorded voice of Johnny himself to tell a remarkable human story oozing with modern relevance.

Seth Lakeman in concert

Seth Lakeman (Thursday)

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of The Mayflower ship setting off to the Americas. The ship carried British and Dutch passengers with hopes of fresh settlement, and who were famously met by the Wampanoag first nation tribe upon their arrival. Bottling the spirit of the 17th century pilgrimage, Seth has written and performed a selection songs that shape a fictional narrative of the journey, informed by extensive research from text such as the journals of William Bradford, conversations with modern day ancestors of the Wampanoag people at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, and information sourced at the national heritage sites that still exists in the UK.

Chronicling the voyage and early settlement in these songs, Seth has created a drama that celebrates the history, but doesn’t lose sight of the journey’s tribulations. It stays sensitive to important facets of the story; the religious liberation that passengers were trying to achieve, the nefarious deeds enacted upon the Wampanoag, and the deaths that followed on both sides. It’s a story Seth feels he is intrinsically linked to, “I didn’t have far to go for inspiration. The Mayflower Steps, on Plymouth’s cobbled Barbican streets are 20 minutes away from me. I fished from this quay as a boy, sang songs on tall ships tied up here and played music in just about every old sailors’ pub in this Elizabethan quarter.” Furthermore, as one of the most celebrated members of British folk music, Seth is wholly qualified to replicate the trappings of traditional 17th century musical styles; whether it be through his vocals, stringed instrument arrangements, fiddle playing, or percussion.

The stories in the songs are told from a variety of perspectives, from personal accounts such as the opening number ‘Watch Out’ detailing deadly premonitions of a Wampanoag girl, to tales of the collective travellers in songs such as ‘Pilgrim Brother’ and ‘Sailing Time’, which march at a hopeful cadence reflecting their early optimism. Close your eyes, and with each track you feel possessed by one of those 17th century characters; a crewman wrestling to control the ship, a pilgrim celebrating in rapturous faith, or the solemn Wampanoag tribesmen forlornly surrendering to the new way of life thrust upon them. Seth has married mood to pulsing rhythms in an immersive tale of struggle that, 400 years later, still holds an emotional impact.

Inspiration for the project came when Seth was on tour with Robert Plant, and paid a visit to the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts to talk to the Wampanoag that still reside in the area. It didn’t take long for the songs to form upon his return to England, “After I travelled home from the “New World” to Plymouth, Devon everything happened in a quite mystical way. The songs came together so speedily and with exactly the vibe I wanted, and we recorded in a very short time in my studio at home on Dartmoor.”