Next weekend will see the opening of the Bath Folk Festival which will run from Saturday August 6th until Sunday August 14th. Started in 2009 Bath Folk Festival has attracted internationally renowned acts to its stages, but also helped to further the careers of a wealth of local talent. The festival’s aim is to bring folk music, dance and storytelling to all areas of Bath. If you’re going to be in Bath during the festival, we really recommend checking out what they have to offer; even if you’ve not really listened to folk before. You might be surprised by what you hear.
So, on that note, here are some of our festival highlights from the opening weekend…
Opening the festival on the 6th will be Fay Hield (who was nominated for Folk Singer of the Year) and the Hurricane Party. The Hurricane Party includes some of the finest folk musicians of our time (Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney, Rob Harbron and Roger Wilson) and the instruments include (but are not limited to), button accordions, melodeons, English Concertina, fiddles, violas, cellos, guitars, mandolin, and the very intriguing nyckelharpa…. Not one we’ve come across before. Their sound is rich and deep, traditional with a modern twist, and brings new arrangements to old songs.
They’ll be performing from 7pm at Widcombe Social Club. The location may not be one you’ve heard of before, but it’s close to the city centre - approximately three minutes walk from Bath Spa train station. Tickets are £13 in advance and £15 on the door.
On Sunday the 7th there will be a number of hands-on workshops for any musicians out there, and then in the evening there’s a free-to-listen-to Irish session happening at The Huntsman – a fantastic pub located in a beautiful Grade II listed building just opposite the Parade Gardens. The ambience inside is welcoming and relaxed and the décor is decadent Georgian elegance. Plus, the food is great too so the pub is well worth a visit just for that. Add lively Irish reels and songs on top of that and you’ve got a very good evening! The music starts at 7:30pm.
But, if you’re looking for folk before that on the Sunday, then there is the fantastic John Spiers, a very well-known and respected name in folk circles, performing at Widcombe Social Club from 5pm. The Guardian describes him as “a blend of elegant, rhythmic and virtuoso playing and easy going folk club banter.” He mixes infectious dance tunes with sensitive airs and has been in some huge bands in the past. Spiers and Boden is one, and the incredible Bellowhead being another. Again, tickets are £13 in advance and £15 on the door.
So it’s clear that next weekend any music lovers who may be coming to visit Bath will be spoilt for choice!
The full 2016 Bath Folk Festival programme is available here.