Approaching its 54th event, the Cambridge Folk Festival remains firmly amongst Europe’s foremost offerings for celebrating, introducing and shaping folk music. We spoke to operations manager Neil Jones and asked what the secret to its longevity is: “we’re so aware of the history and heritage of the festival, and we’re never complacent. We know that we’re the custodians of something very special, and we need to nurture this very precious thing for the next generation.” The line-up this year suggests yet another round of solid gold stewardship from Neil and his team, and Team FFS are excited to be there once again.
The weekend of 2nd – 5th August will see thousands pack into the Cherry Hinton Hall grounds to once again celebrate the best established acts right through to the smallest, local emerging acts. The Festival works on the basis of “an eclectic, broad-church definition of ‘folk’”, and the acts in store prove it. Friday alone holds main stage sets from Swedish sister act First Aid Kit and Alabama-based soul band St Paul and the Broken Bones.
Saturday’s main stage offerings include the inimitable Patti Smith, 2016’s Festival favourites Darlingside, and Rhiannon Giddens, who also occupies the role of Guest Curator in the Festival’s second year of “having someone throw their own magic over the Festival – Rhiannon is bringing in a selection of acts which she’s really passionate about, especially Peggy Seeger”. Friend of the Festival Kate Rusby and her band return on Sunday’s main stage.
Stage 2, the Club Tent and the Den will once again bring a wealth of emerging artists for audiences to discover – to name a few, we’re looking forward to Canada’s The East Pointers, Melbourne’s The Pierce Brothers and Australian supergroup All Our Exes Live In Texas, as well as acts from a little closer to home, like Stillhouse, Ferris & Sylvester and Jack Parker. But we’re also expecting to be surprised by the hidden gems peppering the Festival’s programme, as yet undiscovered, but soon to be soundtracking the weeks and months after the Festival ends.
Words: Angeline Liles