The 11th Derby Folk Festival takes place from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th October and is jointly produced by Derby City Council’s Derby LIVE and Derbyshire-based PR Promotions.
This year Derby LIVE are proud to welcome a wide variety of performers, including the multi-award-winning Friday headline act, Oysterband, who will be appearing at Derby Folk Festival as part of their 40th Celebration Special. They will perform in the City Marquee, on the Market Place at 9.30pm on Friday 6th Oct as part of a concert starting at 7.00pm, also featuring The Hut People and Martin Simpson.
Oysterband still play with that spirit of the punk ceilidh band that roared through people’s lives all those years ago. But the growing depth and sensitivity of their songwriting, coupled with the strength of John Jones’ voice and their remarkable musicianship, have lifted their music into a richer, more acoustic era. Their occasional collaboration with folk diva June Tabor has produced two cult-classic award-winning albums, Freedom & Rain and Ragged Kingdom. The latter and their hugely influential album Holy Bandits were voted nos. 4 and 5 among the Ten Best Albums of the last 30 years by the public in a poll by fRoots Magazine in 2016.
This year’s festival line-up is already a who’s who from the broad spectrum of folk music, with many exciting artists confirmed for a variety of venues in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. Show of Hands will return, three years after their last amazing appearance in the festival marquee, to headline Saturday evening. Folk rock group, False Lights will also perform their vibrant headline set on Sunday evening from 6.00pm-8.30pm in the City Marquee, closing the festival with folk music you can really jump to.
From 2.45pm-4.15pm, on Saturday 7th October, Derbyshire’s own Barry Coope and Lester Simpson will be on stage with Jim Boyes as Coope Boyes and Simpson in the City Marquee. Joined by special guests, they will be giving their ‘Last Ever Performance’ in a show that is sure to invoke both tears and laughter from the audience. Formed in 1993 their first album Funny Old World was named Roots Album of the Year by Q Magazine. Twenty three years later, with a career that has encompassed at least a dozen albums, numerous tours and festival appearances, as well as a Folk Awards nomination, Coope Boyes and Simpson released what will be their final studio album, Coda. Their last ever performance will mark a celebration of their career and will feature material from across their entire repertoire.
Getting the festival started from 7.00pm on Friday night, with a quirky celebration of our rich musical heritage are The Hut People. This English instrumental duo (Sam Pirt and Gary Hammond) have firmly established themselves as one of the most unique, entertaining and best-loved acts on the UK folk scene today.
Also appearing in the City Marquee on Sunday from 11.30am are multi-instrumentalists Narthen (Barry Coope, Lester Simpson, Jo Freya and Fi Fraser) who will be playing and singing often in four part harmony, a capella and accompanied, demonstrating they are all extremely talented, and well-loved. From 2.00pm-4.15pm, introduced by festival patron, John Tams, popular solo folk artist Bob Fox will be performing the songs from War Horse. This will be followed by Leveret, which features three of England’s finest folk musicians in an exciting new collaboration. Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron are each regarded as masters of their instrument and together their performances combine consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity.
Derby LIVE are delighted to announce that Derby born folk singer and songwriter Dave Sudbury, will also be performing during this year’s Festival. Dave is possibly best known for his song The King of Rome (a true story about a racing pigeon, bred in the West End of Derby) which was brought to the attention of an international audience by folk singer June Tabor and her own recording of the song. Dave will be joining the Village Folk Clubrooms line-up, which already includes award-winning folk and roots musicians, Oka Vanga, and is curated by the team who organise Village Folk concerts in the Lawns Hotel, Chellaston.
Derby Cathedral will be hosting two concerts entitled Folk Reflections by virtuoso ensemble, Sinfonia Viva who will return to bring a different angle to the festival programme. The Orchestra of the East Midlands will be performing on Friday 6th October at 5.45pm-6.45pm and 7.30pm-8.30pm. One of the longest running folk groups, Travelling People will be performing a wide variety of music from traditional to contemporary on Saturday 7th October from 12.30pm-2.30pm at Derby Cathedral. One of the trio, Dave Perkins was Canon Precentor of Derby Cathedral for four years from 2009, so it will be great to see him back there, joined by his musical partners Pete and Richard Stevenson. Also appearing on Saturday at Derby Cathedral will be Marc Block, a Nottingham-based folk singer and songwriter, who’s just released his new CD, Brisk & Breezy.
Derby Folk Festival will also be featuring new talent, Robyn Wallis Johnson at the Clubrooms on Saturday 7th October from 1.00pm-2.20pm. She will be performing a selection of self-penned songs in her own unique style, more often than not, reflecting on the ups and downs of human existence. On Sunday 8 October Fiddle-singers The Rheingans Sisters will perform alongside Bob Fox from 4.15pm-6.00pm at the Guildhall Theatre. Rowan and Anna grew up in the Peak District, surrounded by traditional music and were encouraged to pick up the fiddle by their violin-maker father from an early age. Their debut album, Glad Gold Hearts, was released in June 2013 to wide critical acclaim and they have been described as having “vocal harmonies to die for” by fRoots who pronounced their first album as “a subtle gem”.
A fantastic set of venues throughout the Cathedral Quarter will continue to provide the perfect backdrop for the festival, including the enlightenment era Derby Cathedral, the rustic Old Bell Hotel, the City Marquee on the Market Place and the Guildhall Theatre. The festival will also include a host of free fringe events, dance acts, workshops and sessions, as well as an Arts and Craft Fair and food stalls on the Market Place. These free events will be taking place in Derby City Centre, spreading the festival’s intoxicating atmosphere throughout the city and making sure the festival is available to everyone.
For the last few years, Friday night in the Guildhall Theatre has been taken over by Adverse Camber from Cromford in Derbyshire and one of their great storytelling productions. This year is no exception; the festival will be showcasing Dreaming the Night Field: A Legend of Wales – weaving live music with Welsh and English to create a thrilling, funny, powerful and poetic show. This spellbinding new storytelling and music performance will take place on 6 October from 7.30pm-9.10pm. Tickets are available as a stand-alone show for £12 from the Derby LIVE Box Office by calling 01332 255800 or on the Derby LIVE website. Tickets can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, on the Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH.
With the whole festival programme taking place in and around the city, it is perfectly placed for those arriving by either bus or train. Weekend tickets are on sale now at £88, and Friday Evening Tickets are priced at £24 for adults. Concessions are available. Festival tickets can be purchased from the Derby LIVE Box Office by calling 01332 255800 or on the Derby LIVE website. Tickets can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, on the Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH.
Festival attenders can find the latest accommodation information on the Visit Derby website where a range of hotels are available for all budgets and group sizes.