Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge Folk Festival’
Illinois native and folk rock artist Lissie has given us a taste of the follow-up to her 2010 debut album, ‘Catching a Tiger’; new track ‘Shameless’ has been given the lyric video treatment this month and it would appear that the wait has definitely been worthwhile.
‘Catching a Tiger’ was one of my favourite albums of 2010 and Lissie’s performance at the Cambridge Folk Festival in the same year was equally memorable. Released tracks from her debut album included, ‘When I’m Alone’, ‘In Sleep’ and ‘Cuckoo’. Lissie has an instantly recognisable and gutsy tone to her voice, helping her to sit comfortably between the genres of country and rock music. I would hasten to add that Lissie is probably one of the best-selling female artists of the latter genre, in the UK over recent years. No mean feat and hopefully a precursor of what is to come with her second album.
www.lissie.com / @lissiemusic
Songlines magazine will announce the Top 10 UK Summer Festivals in its June edition, on sale April 27th, 2012.
The list includes the following: Africa Oyé, Big Session Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, HebCelt Festival, Larmer Tree Festival, Latitude Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Rhythms of the World, Shrewsbury Folk Festival and WOMAD Charlton Park.
I had my best ever festival experience at Cambridge Folk Festival in 2010 and I think it will always hold a special place in my heart; the people, the atmosphere, the artists, the fact you could park right next to your tent.
Cambridge Folk Festival takes place at Cherry Hinton Hall from July 26th to 29th, 2012. Full festival tickets cost £125 (including booking fee) and day passes range from £21.50 to 54.50 (including booking fee). Artists this year include: Seth Lakeman, Joan Armatrading, Karine Polwart, The Proclaimers, Dry The River and Benjamin Francis Leftwich.
I also visited Sefton Park, Liverpool’s Africa Oye festival in 2010 and very much enjoyed the bright and colourful experience. Africa Oye is a celebration of African music and culture and features African artists and bands, arts and crafts, African cuisine, traditional instruments and a funfair. This year, the festival celebrates its 20th anniversary. The festival is free and open to all and takes place over the weekend of June 23rd and 24th, 2012. The festival site is open from 12:30 pm till 9:30 pm.
I highly recommend both festivals. You won’t be disappointed!
Vote in the Festival Awards and win your Dream Summer
Voting has now opened in the UK Festival Awards – giving you the chance to have your say on which festivals and acts were your favourites for 2011.
Every voter will be entered into a prize draw to win a dream summer – two tickets to every winning festival at this year’s Awards. Categories include: Fans’ Favourite Festival, Best Overseas Festival, Headliner of the Year and Anthem of the Summer.
Voting runs until October 10th, 2011, so be sure to get involved before the deadline. The Awards will be presented at a gala ceremony on November 15th, 2011 in London.
The winner of the Dream Summer prize will be announced no later than December 1st, 2011.
Click here to vote:
I think we’ve pretty much seen the majority of what the UK Music Festival scene has in store for us this year, but I’ve had cause to wonder; what constitutes a headline-worthy artist? Are record sales the main criterion; perhaps international or tabloid appeal, or could it be something else?
It has always been my opinion that those festivals which consistently perform well with ticket sales, are those which have a clear brand identity and generally, a niche market; Leeds and Reading Festivals, Cambridge Folk Festival, Glastonbury and T In The Park being prime examples. I suppose it isn’t rocket science really – if you cater to a specific section of the gig-going public, provide the artists and bands that they want to see, at a price they can afford, how can you go wrong? But so many appear to do just that. Looking at some of the festival line-ups for 2011, I’ve felt largely underwhelmed and uninspired, with only a select few pricking my curiosity to find out more. Admittedly, music tastes are subjective and entirely personal to the ticket-holder, but when the ‘big five’ (V Festival, Glastonbury, Leeds Festival, Reading Festival and T In The Park) music festivals in the UK are charging relatively similar weekend prices, how can a couple of them defend their line-ups against their peers?
Of course, a music festival is about much more than just the music; the location has to be just right, as well as: accessibility, on-site facilities, entertainment, catering, toilets, general crowd atmosphere and the list goes on. Can a perfect ten in all of these criteria however, really make up for a poor line-up? Is a great festival weekend about who you’re with, not where you are; would you trade six good medium-stage acts for one great main stage act?
The UK Festival Awards 2010 announced the following winners late last year:
Best Small Festival in association with Doodson Entertainment – Kendal Calling
Best Medium Festival in association with Smirnoff Flavours – Green Man Festival
Best Major Festival in association with Tuborg – Bestival (see photo above)
Line-Up of the Year in association with XL Video – Rockness
Bestival is a boutique music festival, which takes place at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight. The four-day spectacular which promises to inspire ‘peace, love and dancing’, is curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Rob Da Bank. This year, the festival takes place on the 8th – 11th September 2011 and is set across 15 stages, offering the likes of The Cure, Pendulum, Primal Scream, Kelis, Robyn, PJ Harvey, Noah and the Whale, The Unthanks and Groove Armada. It would be fair to say that the line-up is a mix of folk fusion and boutique chic and the festival site promises ‘an original boutique camping experience, cocktail bars, fancy dress and a hidden disco.’ I think the fact that the festival has always promoted itself as being particularly family friendly hasn’t hurt; children enjoy music too, it isn’t all about the beer tokens people! To find out more about Bestival, please visit the link below.
Green Man Festival takes place on the 19th-21st August 2011 (the same weekend as V Festival, but tailored to an entirely different audience) in the Brecon Beacons. The festival is aimed specifically at the folk and electronic indie- loving public and again, is very welcoming to families with children of all ages; indeed, under 12s get in free. Highlights on the line-up this year include: Fleet Foxes, The Low Anthem, Bellowhead, Explosions In The Sky, The Burns Unit and Villagers. I think that I would enjoy this particular festival; I love folk and electronic music and I love a beautiful scenic environment in which to camp and lounge. To find out more about Green Man Festival, please visit the link below.
Kendal Calling takes place on the 29th-31st July 2011 in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District. This is an independent festival, combining contemporary music and art with rural entertainment. I think it would be a fair assumption to say that this festival largely caters to a somewhat younger demographic than the former two; particularly with regards to the line-up, which this year includes: The Cribs, Blondie, Chase and Status, Echo and the Bunnymen, Levellers and Young Knives. The festival also offers dance, comedy and new music stages. For more information on Kendal Calling…you know what to do.
Out of the ‘big five’ headlining acts this year, my favourite would have to be Glastonbury (22nd-26th June 2011): Coldplay, U2 and Beyonce. The brilliance of these choices lies in the fact that there will probably be something for everyone here. The acts are diverse enough to attract wider audiences, yet remain true to what a great headliner should be – an act that commands your attention, whether that be by dividing the audience right down the middle or uniting everyone with one memorable anthem that will go on to sum up the entire weekend.
Taking in to account the line-up in its entirety however, I would have to opt for Latitude Festival as my favourite(14th-17th July 2011). The mix of folk, electronica, comedy, poetry and the spoken word could have been tailored specifically with me in mind. I would pay to see the majority of the acts on the billing, including: The National, Bombay Bicycle Club, Caribou, The Duke and the King, Foals, Hurts, KT Tunstall and Rumer , as well as the fantastic stand-ups on offer including Alan Carr and Omad Djalili . Plus it also takes place on my birthday weekend!
Whichever UK festival you choose to visit this year, I wish you good weather and great memories
You know that feeling that you get when you realise you’re in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time and even if given the chance; you wouldn’t change one single moment of it? I had that very feeling when I visited the Cambridge Folk Festival for the first time this year…it happened, whilst I was watching Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit perform.
Being a relative newcomer to the expansive genre of folk music, I had done some research on a selection of the artists performing and made a most delightful discovery in the form of Flynn’s debut album ‘A Larum.’ The 14-track folk-rock recording was released in 2008 and features such superbly crafted tunes as ‘The Box’, ‘The Wrote And The Writ’, ‘Tickle Me Pink’, ‘Shore to Shore’ and ‘Eyeless in Holloway.’ Unlike perhaps some of his current nu-folk contemporaries, Flynn could never be categorised as one-dimensional; with his debut album swaying sweetly in the summer Sussex breeze between ‘pure folk’, country, blues and rock. I like a bit of diversity on a record; which makes it all the more pleasing to hear on a daily basis and not at all repetitive. I do tend to get a bit obsessive with new discoveries; I will find an album that I really like and literally listen to it every day, from start to finish, till I’ve learnt every lyric, every key change, every hidden moral and then I’ll rest for a while. Then the process starts over. I am having just that love affair at the moment with Flynn’s second album ‘Been Listening.’
The album doesn’t care for easing you in gently, preferring to eyeball you with the brass-laden, calypso opening of ‘Kentucky Pill’, watching you shift suspiciously in your seat, eyes darting and rising as you quickly reach the conclusion that there’s no point fighting it; you’re hooked and there’s no going back. ‘Lost And Found’ follows, allowing the listener to regain their composure with its soothing melody and emotive, maritime-referenced ode to the macabre. It would be fair to say that Flynn’s first album touched more than a little upon the subjects of death and funerals; but strangely enough, never in a morose, depressing sort of way. I am of the belief, to reference one of Flynn’s peers and another favourite wordsmith of mine; Charlie Fink (Noah and the Whale) that ‘…you don’t know how it feels to be alive. Until you know how it feels to die’ (‘Shape Of My Heart’).
I really enjoy the Take-Away Shows on Blogotheque; on which Flynn appears, performing three tracks from his debut album. The videos are shot on location in Buenos Aires and are a perfect introduction to the genius and vision of Vincent Moon. I’d definitely recommend a viewing at the link below:
Next up is Flynn’s account of loves; past, present and future, throughout the seasons in the evergreen‘Churlish May.’ The album title track, ‘Been Listening’ follows, with some soulful electric-stringed inflections to reel you in, then Flynn’s deep and dark dulcet tones to keep you enthralled throughout. I am in a most enjoyable- albeit fantasy- position at the present moment in time, as I cannot decide which voice alone I would most prefer to hear for the rest of my life; that of Charlie Fink or that of Johnny Flynn…I may have to do some kind of practical experiment in the very near future, so I’ll let you know how I get on with that one. Restraining order permitting, of course.
The track that I remember most vividly from Cambridge would have to be ‘Barnacled Warship’, which is the next track on the album. Flynn showcased his musicality with this number to breathtaking reception, alternating between violin and acoustic guitar with empassioned ease, as he took festival-goers on a trip across the high seas fighting the waves, the enemy and the inner workings of his own mind. A duet, entitled ‘The Water’ with critics-favourite Laura Marling is another album highlight. Marling’s honeyed tones complement Flynn’s perfectly in this dedication to that most pure and essential, yet at times deadly substance; This track has just been confirmed as Flynn’s next single release, on November 1st, 2010.
I am reviewing Mumford and Sons this coming weekend in Manchester, for which Flynn has been confirmed as support. I can hardly contain my excitement at seeing both of these tremendous acts in one billing and have heard great things about Mumford’s live performance prowess. Should be a brilliant show, of which I will of course be reporting back in full on here.
‘Howl’ should be a great track to hear performed live, given the instrumentation and vocal skills on display. Listening to Flynn’s work, it is hard to come to terms with the fact that there are artists out there at the moment, enjoying huge success on an international scale, who could never hope to possess such talent as a lyricist, let alone be musically proficient on such a varied scale from brass to strings and beyond. To be fair though, I am pretty sure that international acclaim and everything that goes with it, however nice that would be, is not Flynn’s primary motivation. I know him you see; we’re like that (index and middle finger crossed…)
‘Amazon Love’ is simply beautiful; Flynn’s sister Lillie sings on this piano and cello-led ballad about that emotion which we all feel and all wish we sometimes didn’t. ‘The Prizefighter And The Heiress’ concludes the album with an initially gentle and sauntering take on the differences between two star-crossed lovers, which steadily rides in to a country-fused western number; a fitting note on which to close an album peppered with diverse influences and dramatic displays of musical wizardry.
Flynn embarks on a solo tour of the UK in December, 2010:
Saturday 4th – O2 Academy, Birmingham
Sunday 5th – Academy, Manchester
Tuesday 7th – The Liquidroom, Edinburgh
Thursday 9th – The Trinity Centre, Bristol
Friday 10th – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Saturday 11th – St Georges Church, Brighton
Sunday 12th – Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter
I would highly recommend paying him a visit at one of these shows. Tickets can be purchased from www.seetickets.com or via the links below:
Lissie (full name, Elisabeth Maurus)’s debut album ‘Catching A Tiger’ was released in the UK in June 2010; a year after it was written in Nashville and a good couple of months before it was released in her native America. Since early this year, Lissie has been based in London and the music press and fans alike have since taken her in as one of their own; the reason for this hospitality being not just the obvious and simply stunning talents of the artist, but also the fact that she’s just a genuine, straight-talking, cool chick who shuns the spotlight for the songwriting; and boy is it all the better for it.
‘In Sleep’ was the first single to be released from the blues-rock singer-songwriter’s album, followed by the retrospective and heartbreak-tinged ‘When I’m Alone.’ Lissie has said that her inspiration for the album was her memories of never feeling like she fit in in her hometown of Rock Island, Illinois and of the ‘girls that snubbed her and the boys that broke her.’ Lyrics such as ‘…when I reach out and I only grab air, and it kills me to think, that you never did care’ highlight the longing and isolation that she felt in her own mind as a teenager; if only she knew then just what a gift these feelings were, as well as her own ability to turn them in to something quite special.
I was lucky enough to see Lissie perform live recently at the Cambridge Folk Festival; she had the crowd enthralled from the first track due to the sheer power and passion which emanates from her vocal chords. I think she has perhaps the best tone and vocal capabilities of the vast array of female singers around at the moment; which makes it all the more surprising and refreshing to hear her speak and engage with the audience in such a humble, almost bewildered state. She appeared to be truly amazed at the warm reception that she received from the capacity crowd at Cambridge and from that moment on; she had won me over hook, line and sinker.
I have a few favourite tracks from the album, including opener ‘Record Collector’ which gives an air of resolution or realisation; it sounds on this track like the youthful and naive Lissie has finally become comfortable with herself, ‘…but my blue eyes cannot see, that their true hue is probably green…’ the 60′s-sounding piece with a punch ‘Stranger’ and the delicate strings sound of ‘Look Away’ which speaks about taking vows, taking steps towards the door and taking chances on a union that you both know might not be quite right. It is track 9 however, which delivers something I can’t really put in to words; it’s just one of those melodies that you fall for instantly and you put on repeat until you know all the words and can sing it in your head whenever you just have to hear it again…take a listen to ‘Everywhere I Go’ below and I’m sure you’ll agree.
Lissie does an impressive cover version of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ on her MySpace page (link can be found below), which also happens to be my favourite Gaga track. Lissie delivers an equally striking vocal performance as Gaga,but it is the blues-folk edge to this track which I think further showcases Lissie’s impressive vocal range and ability to turn a hugely commercial dance track in to a soulful and sweet number.
‘Cuckoo’ is the next single off the album, set for release on August 30th, 2010 in the UK. This track is about Lissie’s teenage years and her feeling that no one understood her and no one possibly could. The video for the single takes us through her high school years, her first crush, her first guitar purchase and her first arrest! With the help of the very cute young Lissie in the video, the track actually leaves you with a positive, warm and fuzzy feeling that hey, you may get expelled and even arrested, but you too could be headlining Cambridge in a few short years!
Lissie will be supporting The Script on their upcoming UK tour in September and then doing some headline shows of her own in late October/early November, including:
26th October – Glasgow Oran Mor
27th October – Manchester Academy 2
28th October – Bristol Thekla
30th October – Norwich Waterfront
31st October – Birmingham Academy 2
1st November – London Heaven.
Try to catch a show in a venue near you, I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
All in all, I would give ‘Catching A Tiger’ 9 / 10, although I’m not quite sure what more she could have done to gain that extra mark.
More information on Lissie can be found below at these websites:
Some of my favourite programmes as a child were based on very similar premises; an oddball family or main character, whose crazy, unpredictable antics provided the laughs but whose heart was always in the right place; characters such as Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy, Samantha Stephens in Bewitched and Elly May in The Beverly Hillbillies. How I longed to be a Clampett and ride around on their truck with Granny beside me, hollering at passers-by and complaining to Jed that she needs more ammo in her shotgun!
It was the very same dearly beloved American sitcom that sprung to mind when I first heard Bluegrass music recently. Whilst reviewing the Cambridge Folk Festival this year, I came across a British Bluegrass outfit named Ghost Town Showdown, who were not only champion geezers but highly accomplished and highly exciting musicians.
Admittedly, I didn’t have a vast knowledge of Bluegrass music before this point; being more familiar with Irish traditional/roots music and other more, shall we say, commercial genres; so, being the good student that I am, I decided to do a bit of research when I got home and was most surprised at my findings. Bluegrass actually has roots in English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh traditional music and was inspired by, amongst others, the music of immigrants from the UK and Ireland; I had always assumed that bluegrass hailed from the desert plains of mid-West America.
I’ve always been impressed by vocal harmonies and I love the sound of acoustic stringed instruments such as the mandolin, double bass and fiddle; so not surprisingly I found myself foot-tapping away to Ghost Town Showdown’s tracks including, ‘Ball and Chain’, ‘Rabbit’s Foot’ and ‘Pretty Girl Blues.’ I spoke to brothers Colin (double bass/vocals) and Phil Attrill (vocals/guitar/harmonica) after the Festival about their influences, where they see themselves in a couple of years time and why gig-goers should catch one of their shows:
Colin: A few years ago we saw Chatham County Line play Polar Central in Brighton. Phil and I used to be in indie band The Know and we found it tough to get gigs as there was so much competition. But we love harmonies and our voices and songwriting seemed to suit the bluegrass style far more.
Why should a gig-goer catch a Ghost Town Showdown show?
Colin: We are all about the live performance. Bluegrass music loses something when it gets put onto a CD. Its charm and appeal lies in the energy and exuberance of a band playing live. That’s particularly the case with GTS, as we love doing the three-part harmonies and a bit of banter with the audience!
Phil: We give it our all at every live performance so you definitely get your money’s worth at a GTS show. We’re not ‘strictly bluegrass’ either so you can see a range of influences in our songs, from folk to rock to country to pop.
Where do you see the band in a couple of years time?
Colin: The Club Tent or Stage 2 Tent at the Cambridge Folk Festival!
Finally, what did you particularly enjoy about the Cambridge Folk Festival?
Colin: Simon (Roberts; mandolin/vocals) particularly enjoyed Carolina Chocolate Drops (although Phil and I missed them as we wanted to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, who were performing at the same time). I enjoyed Jackie Oates’ first set at Stage 2 and Cocos Lovers outside the MOJO tent. I thought that the best song of the weekend was Natalie Merchant‘s ‘Isabel’.
Phil: Colin mentioned the music that we enjoyed, but I also really enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere of the whole festival and the fact that people would just strike up conversations when you’d least expect it.
I would definitely agree with Colin with regards to the band’s skills with three-part harmonies and also with Phil in that their music does touch upon contrasting, yet complimentary influences. In short, I think that there is a little something for everyone with this band, even if you’ve never heard nor thought that you’d like to hear bluegrass music.
If you’d like to hear more from the guys and I would highly recommend that you do, their debut EP is available to purchase via their official website, www.ghosttownshowdown.com and their MySpace, www.myspace.com/ghosttownshowdown. The band also has a few shows coming up, mainly concentrated in the South East of the country, but who knows, they might just wind up around your area sometime soon. Here’s hoping y’all!
Well 5,000 words and a couple of very late nights later, and my review of the 2010 Co-operative Cambridge Folk Festival is finally completed.
I wanted to write the review in narrative form, as it happened, so as to give the best impression of what future festival-goers might expect. I do find it difficult to write objectively at times; especially as I only tend to go to gigs and shows of artists which I really like; so something would have to go terribly wrong for me not to enjoy them! I genuinely enjoyed every minute of the festival though and can’t wait for next year. I’d like to learn more about the history of folk music; an aim which my current boss found quite amusing yesterday, the conversation going as thus:
Me: “…so I didn’t know a lot of the songs that were performed, you know, the traditional pieces, but I just figured that I’d catch a few words and then Google it…”
Peter: “…you figured you’d Google pieces of music that have been studied for thousands of years; that academics have travelled far and wide and researched extensively to find the origination and authorship of…you figured you’d just…Google it?!”
At that point he looked slightly perturbed, turned with his tea and laughed as he went.
The link to my review for eFestivals can be found below, please take a look and let me know what you think. It’s divided in to three parts; I wrote a lot!
Well, I’m back from what can only be described as a weekend of reviewing the best festival I’ve ever had the pleasure of being invited to – the 2010 Co-operative Cambridge Folk Festival.
This being my maiden voyage to the award-winning and highly respected Cambridge institution; I had an idea in mind of what I might expect to greet me there, but I can honestly say that all my expectations were exceeded over the course of the 3.5 day extravaganza.
I am just in the process of writing up my full review, complete with some great photographs, for www.efestivals.co.uk and I will post the link up here too. In the meantime though, I leave you with a selection of my favourite artists from the weekend: Seth Lakeman, Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, Cocos Lovers, Stornoway, Sharon Shannon and Imelda May and Salsa Celtica. It really was difficult to choose from all the exciting performances I managed to see; they each brought something different to the table, but all captured the true essence of folk; spirit-rousing, foot-tapping, heart-thumping performances that left the crowd shouting for more and left the atmosphere buzzing.
Enjoy and please visit back here for the link to the full review…
I was lucky enough to review Noah and the Whale this week at Manchester Cathedral. Seeing the band alone would have been treat enough for me, but to see them in a venue such as this was something else. Short excerpt below:
My favourite track came next and I don’t think that I was alone in that admission. ‘Love Of An Orchestra’ is one of those rare sounds that just grabs you and pulls you along for the ride; leaving you wondering what happened and where you are, but wanting to do it all over again. I can’t express my love for this track enough to do it justice in its simplicity and buoyancy, I just recommend that you give it a listen for yourselves and grapple for your own adjectives.
It was a brilliant and memorable night and I only hope that I get the chance to see the band again soon.They are performing at Latitude Festival this year, which I unfortunately can’t get to but the line up looks great. Perhaps they will find a spot free in their diaries to come to Cambridge Folk Festival; and if they do, Charlie Fink is more than welcome to assist me in my self teaching of the harmonica. Or I’ll just make him a brew, one of the two.
Full review is here: