The eighth FolkEast will return to the glorious Constable-esque grounds of Elizabethan Glemham Hall between August 20-22 in a streamlined, slimmer, spacious and COVID –secure way – with most of the original 2020 line-up preserved.
Festival regulars will see a change of site layout to allow for a one-way system and just two open-air stages – the main Sunset stage and Moot Hall– plus a large, airy workshop space. Although the much loved covered venues - Soapbox, Broad Roots and Dance tent –will be absent, they will be back in 2022 and elements of their creativity and uniqueness will be present on site.
2021 Line Up
The awesome Afro Celt Sound System will headline Saturday night. The Grammy Award-nominated supergroup are past masters at fusing electronica with traditional Irish and West African music, producing a scintillating, high energy stage set. Formed back in 1995 by producer-guitarist Simon Emmerson, they won Best Group at the 2017 Songlines Music Awards.
Artists due to travel from Canada - Newfoundland trio The Once and Irish-Canadian singer songwriter Irish Mythen will now take a rain check until 2022 – but the festival will field a rich mix of UK and home-grown East Anglian artists over the three days.
Alongside the event’s hugely popular, multi award-winning patrons, The Young’ uns (Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle), the line-up will include the sublime, seamless partnership of Welsh harpist Catrin Finch with Senegalese kora maestro Seckou Keita. The exquisite pair clinched the Best Duo/Group award at the last BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, with Keita also winning the coveted Musician of the Year title.
FolkEast loves its Celtic connections and this year will be no exception with Ireland represented by the excellent, Dublin-born traditional singer and bouzouki player Daoiri Farrell.
Flying the flag for Scotland will be three superb acts. Headlining the Sunday night will be pedigree triumvirate Drever, McCusker, Woomble (above) which sees master fiddler John McCusker joining forces with Orkney-born singer songwriter Kris Drever and Idlewild’s lead singer Roddy Woomble.
Named the Best Live Act at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2018, quintet Elephant Sessions will head to Suffolk from the Scottish Highlands with their unique brand of indie folk to headline the Friday night while the powerhouse sextet of female instrumentalists that is The Shee (including BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year 2017, harpist Rachel Newton) are sure to have the wow factor with their adventurous blend of Scottish folk, Gaelic song and bluegrass.
Folk legend Peter Knight will bring his six-strong Gigspanner Big Band to the party. The Big Band takes his original Gigspanner trio (himself, Roger Flack and Sacha Trochet) and fuses them with the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Duo’ winners Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin (Edgelarks) and erstwhile Bellowhead star John Spiers to make something truly special, bursting with invention, enigma and grace. Though all the musicians have played FolkEast in their separate guises (including the memorable debut performance of Knight and Spiers as a duo) this is the first time the full-strength Big Band has headed to Glemham Hall.
Adding to the rich mix will be ‘eclectic art rock band’ Hannah Moule and the Moulettes, instrumental trio Three Cane Whale, Elbow Jane, Topette!!, The Hut People, Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith, MG Boulter and the new-look Trials of Cato (original members Tomas Williams and Robin Jones now joined by Polly Bolton.)
As always, the festival will be offering fine Suffolk fayre with two authentic ‘village’ pubs – The Cobbold Arms and Hop Inn - serving competitively-priced, locally sourced ales and ciders (including Suffolk-based Green Jack Brewery’s festival ale Jackalope Ale, a salute to the festival’s mystical mascot The Jackalope (half antelope, half Jack Rabbit) which every year keeps a beady eye on the event from the centre of the site. Then there’s the FolkEast Art Arcade with local arts and crafts and ‘Instrumental’, featuring a wide range of instrument makers.
Weekend and day tickets are now on sale until until August 13. All tickets must be purchased in advance.
Tickets purchased for 2020 can be automatically carried over to this year and ticket costs are frozen at last year’s prices – a competitive £120 for a weekend adult ticket while a great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under. There will also be a limited number of camping tickets available.
More information: https://folkeast.co.uk/2021-tickets/
Located close to the A12, the festival will be running its usual shuttle buses to the site from Wickham Market station. For the full FolkEast 2021 plan see www.folkeast.co.uk