Festivals | Cambridge Folk Festival: Friday’s Preview

CFF 2013

Following what-is-to-be a spectacular Thursday, Cambridge Folk festival have not stopped there. Oh no. Friday brings us yet another spoiling day of musical fancies, ranging from trad, to contemporary, to country, to electric. Brace yourselves for another excellent lineup…

The English contemporary folk band,¬†Bellowhead, will be making a very special appearance indeed. The eleven-piece band, which plays a range of traditional dance tunes and folk songs, serve as one of the festivals headliners this year. Their most recent album, ‘Broadside’, diverges from the typical folk sound with it’s dramatic mood, delivering colourful songs of bluegrass banjo and accordion. Their ability to tell old and compelling stories in new and rousing ways makes their live performance that much more special. It goes without saying, don’t miss these guys headline on Friday.

Team FFS are also very excited to hear that Cambridge Folk Festival are bringing the Levellers to the stage on Friday. Rooting from Brighton, this British rock band will certainly cater for all listeners. Their 10th and most recent album, ‘Static on the Airwaves’, released in 2012, demonstrated the band’s ability to convey a polished and mature sound through their experience in songwriting. While less rough-edged than their previous records, ‘Static on the Airwaves’ reminds listeners of the Levellers’ talent in producing fast-paced, old-school folk tunes that still retain a revolutionary air to them, and we can’t wait to catch them play on Friday evening.

The Grammy-award-winning Patty Griffin will also be gracing festival-goers with her presence on Friday. known for her stripped-down style of songwriting, her work has been covered by numerous other artists, including Emmylou Harris, Ellis Paul and the Dixie Chicks. Her most recent album, American Kid, which was released in May this year, brought listeners a raw and compelling reminder of Griffin’s talent, with it being the first studio material released since 2007. With her songs of story-telling and human emotion, Griffin will undoubtedly deliver a strong performance on Friday, one not to be missed. Check out Griffin’s Tiny Desk Concert with NPR below.

A particular favourite of FFS, who happens to be making an appearance this year, is Emily Barker and her band, the Red Clay Halo. Born in Australia but establishing her position in the music scene in Cambridge, the Red Clay Halo formed originally as ‘The Low Country’. February 2011 saw the release of ‘Almanac’, with the songs ‘Pause’ from the album featuring as the theme tune for hit BBC 2 drama¬†The Shadow Line. The next album, ‘Dear River’, is released today (8th July 2013), and promises another polished and confident collection of folk songs. The band will be performing in Cambridge on Friday, and FFS will certainly be there to witness what-is-to-be a fantastic set. See below a beautiful acoustic rendition of Barker’s single, ‘Nostalgia’.

Finally, Sam Lee and Friends’ performance is a definite highlight for us, here at FFS. Having taken a number of career diversions, including a wilderness survival trainer and a burlesque dancer, Same Lee finally settled on making his mark on the english folks scene, and a jolly good decision at that. Lee’s Mercury Award nominated album, ‘Ground Of Its Own’, opened doors to a huge following and set him in good stead for future performances. Shirley Collins (who features on the album) describes Lee’s music as “a stroke of genius”, and we couldn’t agree more. Lee is a collector too: travelling and resuscitating songs from another lifetime to the present, and, as Nige Tassel describes, Sam Lee “takes the music of the people back to the people”. Being the dark horse he is, make sure you put some time away to catch Sam Lee and Friends take to the stage on Friday (times tbc). For now, watch their performance with Balcony TV below:

Cambridge Folk Festival brings a wonderful introduction to the weekend, with Thursday and Friday alone packed full of numerous artists to watch. Previews of Saturday and Sunday will be posted shortly, and if you haven’t yet got a ticket, make sure you get your hands on one, they’re still available here.


Words: Ellie Rumbold