2024 Line-up – your starter for ten!

~FolkEast announces first crop of names for 2024 festival~

~‘Peterloo’ anniversary FolkEast exclusive from The Young’uns master songwriter Sean Cooney~

Recognised as one of the UK’s favourite folk festivals – by both audience and artists – FolkEast returns to Suffolk this summer with four heady days of the best of British folk and added Spanish and French flavour!

Between August 15-18 England’s most easterly folk festival will celebrate its 12th year with a melting pot of eclectic talent – from vintage performers to the best new acts on the block – from England, Scotland, France and Spain and of course East Anglia.

The 2024 event will be played out on five stages – Sunset main stage, Moot Hall, Stage in the Woods, Sanctuary Space and the Dance stage while the event’s three pubs will be alive with singarounds and sessions.

Heading from Madrid to get the festival off to a buoyant start on Thursday evening will be the irrepressible Track Dogs – two Irishmen, an Englishman and an American (Garrett Wall, Dave Mooney, Howard Brown and Robbie K.Jones) with their infectious fusion of folk, Latino, Americana and roots music.

One of Scotland’s finest and most acclaimed singer songwriters and guitarists – more usually seen solo – brings his band to the stage on the Friday. Award winning Orcadian Kris Drever will be joined by dazzling multi-instrumentalist Louis Abbott, bassist Euan Burton and jazz singer Rachel Lightfoot on backing vocals.

And there will be a youthful exuberance from outstanding English folk trio Granny’s Attic Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne (melodeon, anglo concertina), George Sansome (guitar) and Lewis Wood (violin) with all three on vocals. Although their music remains rooted in the tradition they are never afraid to push the boundaries.

Friday will also witness a FolkEast first – an arresting original telling of one of the most important happenings in British working-class history.

On the 205th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, festival patron and award winning songwriter (and member of the Young’uns), Sean Cooney will join forces with fellow singer-songwriter and guitarist Sam Carter for an exclusive premiere performance of a new suite of songs and spoken word telling the events of 16th August 1819 when 60,000 people attended a rally for parliamentary reform in St Peter’s Field, Manchester and were brutally suppressed as local magistrates ordered the cavalry to charge the crowd. Eighteen people died and hundreds were injured.

It will feature 10 new songs from the pen of Cooney, recognised as one of UK folk’s most gifted and bold songwriters. He has nailed the knack of summing up a story in unflinching, sharply observed but compassionate, heartfelt lyrics.

Saturday brings one of the legends of British folk to Suffolk in the shape of revered ‘elder statesman’ Martin Carthy in his acclaimed new partnership with Jon Wilks – an outstanding fingerpicking guitarist and trad folk and broadside ballad songster.

Described as one of British folk’s most imaginative artists, Jim Moray has been making waves and stretching boundaries in the genre for more than two decades, enchanting audiences and leaving an indelible mark on the folk landscape. He brings his band to FolkEast on the Saturday while Fay Hield will appear with her trio.

Fay has one of the finest voices of her generation and is supported by fiddling sensation Sam Sweeney (Bellowhead) and concertina wizard Rob Harbron.

Other Saturday performers to look out for are the trio WindjammerJake Sonny Rowlinson, Jeremy Bunting and Fran Rowney, who formed around the folk and acoustic music scene in Plymouth, blending self-penned songs and instrumentals with original, genre-bending arrangements

Cellist-singer Sarah Smout known for creating music and poetry deeply rooted in nature and place –is also among the Saturday line-up. Her music has been used for campaigns by Greenpeace, COP28 and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Sunday brings artists including the Angeline Morrison Band to Glemham Hall. Described as ‘a ballad-maker for our times’ Cornwall-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Angeline is known for her wide-ranging work in wyrd folk and psych folk, soul music and the supernatural. After releasing her 2022 album Sorrow Songs: Folk Songs of Black British Experience), voted No 1 folk album of the year in The Guardian, she has never looked back.

Also appearing on the final day will be the hugely popular Melrose Quartet (Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Richard and Jess Arrowsmith) with their glorious four-part harmonies and English duo Rag Mama Rag who have built a reputation as one of Europe’s finest country blues acts.

Among FolkEast favourites making return visits will be the mighty six-piece Gigspanner Big Band (led by Peter Knight and also featuring Edgelarks and John Spiers) and Suffolk’s own’s popular, fast rising duo Honey and The Bear (Lucy and John Hart), as well as Essex-based King Driscolls.

Across in the dance tent FolkEast has conjured up a European flavour with a swirling line-up including BOF! with their French and Breton music, and two bands featuring accordion virtuoso Andy Cutting – the ever popular Anglo- French outfit Topette!, celebrating 10 years together and the long-established  Blowzabella described as “an English folk band that makes an inimitable, drone-based wall-of-sound.”

Following brisk Early Bird ticket sales, advance weekend ticket sales are now available – prices are £165 (adults aged 18-64), £155 for over 65s and £100 for Youth tickets (12-17 years) which must be purchased with an adult ticket. Family weekend tickets for two adults and two 12-17 year olds are £475.

FolkEast continues its great tradition of offering free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping under canvas is £25, camping under canvas with vehicle alongside £40 and camping on wheels (caravan, camper van, motorhome) £40-£60. Ticket link: https://folkeast.co.uk/tickets-4/

Located close to the A12, the festival will also be running its usual shuttle buses to the site from Wickham Market station.