Artists

Click on an artist’s name to go to a video.

Admiral FallowMain Stage Saturday

A fiercely proud Scottish five-piece influenced by the likes of Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and Elbow. Formed in 2007 they have released three critically acclaimed albums, the most recent, “Tiny Rewards” was awarded a place on the Scottish Album of the Year Award long-list.

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Their performances  have been described as joyous, heartbreakingly beautiful, sonically audacious and lyrically bewitching. Notably they have performed at T in the Park, Latitude, Cambridge Festival and Glastonbury. They have arranged some of their songs in collaboration with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Auricle Ensemble) and in January 2016 they performed at two sold out Celtic Connections shows.

Louis Abbott: Guitars, Singing.
Kevin Brolly: Clarinet, Piano, Drum.
Philip Hague: Drums.
Sarah Hayes: Piano, Flute, Singing.
Joseph Rattray: Bass.

“A veritable masterclass in dark-hued yet uplifting, catchily literate roots-pop” (The Herald)


Jon Boden Main Stage Friday

Jon Boden has become the stand out performer of his generation of traditional folk artists, but one whose repertoire extends far beyond the boundaries of the genre.

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‘photo credit: David Angel

Jon is best known as the lead singer and main arranger of the progressive folk juggernaut Bellowhead. After twelve years, a quarter of a million album sales, seven singles on the Radio 2 playlist and selling out hundreds of venues throughout the land and beyond, including notably the Royal Albert Hall, Jon is launching his first ever solo tour.

The show promises to incorporate elements from the wide creative span of his career – from the self-penned pop songs of Painted Lady, to the funked-up power-pop arrangements of folk songs that characterised Bellowhead and Spiers; Boden, to the post-Apocalyptic song-world of Songs From The Floodplain, to unaccompanied ballads as featured on his mammoth A Folk Song A Day project in which he recorded and released 365 folk songs in one year across 2010-2011.

Through his solo work and his work with Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden Jon has won eleven BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – more than any other artist.   His solo shows will provide an intimate insight into a man of many and various talents and promises to take the audience deeper into the song worlds of traditional music and of his own song writing.

Fay Hield and the Hurricane Party Main Stage Friday

Faye Hield

A singer who seems to have been born knowing how to carry a tune, but with the rarer gift of knowing how to go straight to the heart of a song, Fay Hield is “one of folk music’s most pre-eminent modern voices” (MOJO).

Fay was the brain behind The Full English, an academic archive project sponsored by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. For the first time many of the finest early 20th century folksong collections were brought together. To celebrate this Fay developed a supergroup of folk performers, touring for two years, winning Best Group and Best Album at the 2013 BBC Folk Awards and earning Fay a nomination for Folk Singer of the Year.

With The Hurricane Party she breathes new life into old tales of love and betrayal, witchcraft and playground games. Hear songs from her latest album, 'Old Adam’, listed in The Guardian’s  Best Albums of 2016. A fresh and original exploration of how we use songs, stories and music to understand what it means to be human, brought to you by The Hurricane Party’s outstanding musicianship. At times sparse and contemplative, at times with a festival stomp, the music is captivating and engaging with plenty of choruses and vibrant interaction with the audience.

Bringing new arrangements to old songs, Fay continues in her exploration of the incredible repertoire that is the English tradition, pushing at the boundaries of our engagement with music.

'Open and honest’ The Independent * * * *
'Classy and entertaining’ The Guardian * * *

Martyn Joseph Main Stage Saturday

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Martyn last performed in Ireby in 2010 and we are delighted to have him back. He is a powerful singer and songwriter gifted with the rare ability to speak to the soul with his expressive and poignant lyrics.

With a career spanning 30 years, 32 albums, over a half a million record sales and thousands of live performances, the versatility of his music touches genres of folk, rock, soul, folk funk and Americana, yet somehow all these labels cannot define the spirit of his music. He is often compared to Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews, he has however, created his own style and reputation as a mesmerising live performer and stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives.

A unique talent driven by passion, social awareness and love for his trade, his music manages to empower and speak for the many. He’s a jaw dropping guitar player who has developed a unique percussive style, teamed up with a powerful show stopping voice, and has been called “The Welsh Springsteen”

Martin  Harley  Saturday afternoon Main Stage

Mrtin Harley

Martin Harley is  a  supremely  talented  acoustic  roots  and  blues  guitarist,  singer  and songwriter with a burgeoning global reputation for  his  prowess  as  a  slide  guitarist,  Martin  is  almost  unique  in  the  UK  in  his playing lap slide. During year round worldwide touring he’s absorbed a plethora of diverse influences, honing his craft into the classic songwriting style he possesses today.

In  the  US,  Martin  has  headlined  Music  City  Roots  in  Nashville  and  toured  coast  to  coast with ZZ Ward, Delta Rae and opened for Iron and Wine, Bruce Hornsby, Five for Fighting, World Party, Beth Hart, Joe Bonamassa amongst many others.

"Harley offers the listener a masterclass in taste, style and roots blues” Guitarist Magazine

Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar Friday and Saturday

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Since they first came together as a duo in 2011 Greg and Ciaran have toured relentlessly up and down the country and still managed to successfully complete school and University exams. They are winners of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2013. BBC Horizon Award in 2014 and nominated Best Duo in 2015.

Festival performances include Cambridge and Fairport's Cropredy as well as performing live on the Mark Radcliffe BBC Radio 2 Folk Show and through Fellside Recordings they have released three albums, all receiving critical acclaim; The Queens Lover - The Call and their latest The Silent Majority.

Reviews include, fRoots ***** The Telegraph **** R2 ****

“The comedy in Greg and Ciaran’s interaction is a integral part of their show and the audience loved it”  Rob Bridge - live review Kenilworth Castle June 2016.

Gentlemen of Few Friday and Saturday

©RaphaelKlatzko ~ 2015

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Finalists, Gentlemen of Few, play an eclectic blend of old-time bluegrass and classic rock with skilful vocal harmonies and powerful lyrics. The four founders: Elliott Norris, Reece Forward, Kit Evans and Jarrod Piner perform their music with a raw passion and intense energy, giving them an almighty sound they've coined as “Nugrass".

A band with five years experience of performing their shows to welcoming audiences and dedicated fans across the UK in rooms and halls of both homeliness and esteem. The Royal Albert Hall, London; The Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone and The Forum, Tunbridge Wells to name a few. Festivals include, Tiree Music Festival Secret Garden Party, Boomtown Fair, Hampton. Also  supporting “The Blockheads”, "Hayseed Dixie” and "The Beat”.

"Fusing an old time bluegrass sound with a youthful English vigour, impeccable harmonies and song craft way beyond their years. Mighty impressive." - Smugglers Records

“So young yet so amazing” - Chris Evans, Radio 2

NINEBARROW Friday and Saturday

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NINEBARROW are a multi-award-winning folk duo, who are impressing audiences across the country with their innovative and captivating take on the folk tradition.

Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere combine breath taking vocal harmonies and melodies, delivering songs that are inspired and rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles.

Winners of Fatea Magazine’s Debut Album of the Year 2015 and awarded five stars in both Maverick Magazine and the English Folk Dance and Song Society for their latest album ‘Releasing the Leaves’.

'Another example of how strong British folk music is at the moment.’  The Telegraph. 'a fantastic duo' Seth Lakeman  ‘absolutely amazing’ Kate Rusby

Will Pound and Eddy Jay Saturday

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‘photo credit: Elly Lucas

This dynamic and exhilarating duo quite simply leave audiences amazed and breathless. Will on harmonica and Eddy on accordion create a sound and show like no other. The pair read each other instinctively, forging a path to new folk sounds with two instruments together as one.

Will Pound is one of the finest harmonica players of his generation whose innovative style pushes the boundaries of his instrument and the folk genre. Three-time nominee for BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician Of The Year, he has held the accolades of FATEA Instrumentalist of the Year (2013, 2014) and Spiral Earth Magazine Musician Of The Year (2015)

'A flat out genius harmonica player' Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2) 

'Celebrated on the English folk scene as a harmonica virtuoso’                The Scotsman 

Eddy Jay is a vertuoso accordianist who can make his instrument sound more like an orchestra! 

He was a key player in the arrangement of the hit stage musical version of Noel Coward's Brief Encounter' (Kneehigh theatre) which toured US theatres including Studio 56 on Broadway (NY)

He has performed with Cathal Coughlan and Tina May, devised his own version of Prokofiev's classic 'Peter and the Wolf' and Edith Piaf show which have toured the UK and beyond. 

'You find yourself hearing new chords of feeling, of apprehension and suspicion, that speak volumes' (Brief Encounter) The New York Times 

'Performed impeccably and with genuine emotion****' (Piaf: The Songs) Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Fringe 

Mo Kenney(Canada -Nova Scotia) Friday and Saturday

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Mo Kenney’s latest album “In My Dreams” showcases an artist who has grown in every facet of her craft as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and performer. In 2015 the album secured an East Coast Music Award for Pop Recording of the Year and it sits alongside the same trophy that was bestowed upon her debut album which also took home a Canadian Folk Music Award for New/Emerging Artist of the Year and no fewer than three Nova Scotia Music Awards.

Mo has toured Canada with Joel Plaskett, Ron Sexsmith, Frank Turner and extensively in her own right. Mo is  no stranger to international audiences and has played festivals in Iceland, Germany, Australia, and the UK.

Jess Morgan Friday and Saturday

Jess Morgan

Jess Morgan is a songwriter’s songwriter. Constantly touring, constantly writing, constantly striving to do better, to be better. Inspired by storytelling songwriters like Nancy Griffith, the playfulness of Devon Sproule and upfront British voices like Billy Bragg, expect a tumbler of unfancified roots music – with heart, with passion, with gusto.

Over the past few years Jess has been making a noise in the UK and further afield with a string of albums comprised of acutely observed, beautifully delivered country-folk ballads; song about travel, about people, about history, about love, about whatever the song needs. The songs are intimate, but not in that earnest, quiet way. There’s fire in Jess’ voice, the way it soars between notes like a bird in flight. It’s intimate, but it’s end of the night, lock-in at the bar, let’s get the nice whiskey out, intimate.

“gorgeous country folk” - The Guardian  “simply stunning” - Folk Radio UK

Rob Heron and the                   Tea Pad Orchestra (Saturday)

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Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra are one of the hardest working bands in the UK roots circuit. With thousands of touring miles under their belts, they have earned themselves a sizeable fan base in the UK, Europe and beyond. Based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, they play their own brand of Western Swing, Blues, Gypsy Jazz and Country, or “North Eastern Swing” as they’ve coined it.

Their style is more eclectic than most, influenced by early 20th century American music, with the addition of “razor-sharp” solos, great arrangements and original songs; their music harks back to a golden age whilst staying perfectly modern. The songs are penned by Rob Heron, a crazy fool for country music and a full time dandy-cowboy. His songs are full of character, satire, and good old fashion hollerin’.

The band, a hot six-piece, features Ben Fitzgerald (guitar), Tom Cronin (mandolin), Colin Nicholson (accordion), Ted Harbot (double bass) and Paul Archibald (drums).

"That's one hot band right there!” - Huey Morgan, BBC Radio 2 

Kirsty McGee (Saturday)

Kirsty McGee

Somewhere between Jazz, Folk, Chanson and Americana there’s an area of music that doesn’t have a name. With a cartographer’s attention to detail, KIRSTY McGEE has spent the past ten years and six albums exploring and mapping this place.

Honed over twenty years of following her own path, McGee's songs show the light touch of a singer with an instinctive reflex for bringing together words and music. Gentle, and with the bittersweet edge of experience, her voice speaks directly from an open heart, and her rich, dark style frames the brittleness of her lyrics perfectly.

In 2013 McGee's track SANDMAN (The Kansas Sessions, 2008) was a major feature of DANNY BOYLE’s film TRANCE, appearing in its entirely during the film and being written into Rick Smith's score throughout. 

The words drip with meaning. This breathlessly fragile and aching collection almost drowns in McGee’s absolute need to sing.’ - **** Q

‘A fascinating talent’ - **** CLASH

Harp and a MonkeyFriday

SONGS about cuckolded molecatchers, a lone English oak tree that grows at Gallipoli, care in the community and medieval pilgrims… we can only be talking about the folk experimentalists Harp and a Monkey.

The harp ‘n’ banjo driven electro-folk-storytelling of Martin Purdy (vocals, glockenspiel, accordion, harmonica and keyboards), Simon Jones (harp, guitar, viola) and Andy Smith (banjo, melodica, guitar and programming) is imbued with a deep Lancashire sensibility that shines through in their beautifully crafted and sometimes spooky vignettes of northern life, love and remembrance.

The outfit, who have been friends for more than 20 years, channel the ghosts of summers spent in municipal parks and winters walking on the moors. Ask them about their influences and they are as likely to cite Ordnance Survey maps and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as they are Bert Jansch, Bjork or Bellowhead.

The Observer “Bold and brilliant” - The Guardian “Another excellent set” Mojo: 

Elaine Davidson (Saturday)

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Elaine will captivate you with her self penned songs which dip into myths and legends about her beloved Cumbria. Songs about love, lakes and mountains, travellers and wayfarers, foxes and the ever changing seasons.

'She is a one of a kind true English Folk Singer with a beautiful voice as well as an accomplished acoustic guitarist, see her live whenever you can, it will be a truly magical experience.’  
Warren Huart (Aerosmith, James Blunt, The Fray) record producer, Los Angeles

Phantom Voices (Saturday)

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Phantom Voices are an exciting and dynamic six piece band producing their own brand of folk-rock influenced in equal parts by traditional English and American folk music, Country and Rock and Roll. Featuring rich harmonies and outstanding musicianship, Phantom Voices have gained a reputation as an outstanding live act, bringing their raucous and energetic stage performances to a variety of venues across the UK.

Phantom Voices have received praise and support from across the UK music scene and in 2014, had the opportunity to record and perform with the late Dave Swarbrick (Fairport Convention), featuring on his ‘Passing the Baton’ release showcasing the best in new folk-influenced music. Their much anticipated eponymously named debut album will be released in October.

“Starting to create waves in the North West are Blackpool based five piece Phantom Voices and judging by their five track EP "Witches" it shouldn't be long before ripples are felt elsewhere. A murder, hanging, alcohol abuse all get a treatment that reminds me of the likes of The Men they Couldn't Hang, no bad thing and a reminder that the dark side of folk is far from dreary.” FATEA

Mike Rolland - Mandolin, Guitar, Harmonica and Vocals
Joanna Byrne - 12 string guitar and Vocals
Jim Shea - Upright and Electric Bass
Richard Curran - Violin
Daz Rice - Electric Guitar and Vocals
Mark Mitchell - Drums

The Carrivick Sisters (Friday and Saturday)

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The Carrivick Sisters are one of the UK's top young bluegrass and folk acts. Twins Laura and Charlotte perform their original songs and instrumentals along with a few carefully chosen covers on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and clawhammer banjo. Their busy touring schedule is rapidly building them a reputation for engaging and entertaining live performances with tight sibling vocal harmonies and multi-instrumental virtuosity. Having grown up in South Devon, an area rich in folk lore and legends, much of their original material is inspired by their local surroundings and history.

The Carrivick Sisters first performing as a duo in 2006 as buskers. On leaving school in 2007 they turned professional and went on to win the South West Busker’s and Street Entertainer’s Competition, gaining themselves their first spot at Glastonbury Festival. In 2008 Laura achieved 2nd place at the RockyGrass Fiddle Contest in America. In 2010 they were finalists in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards and in 2011 they were named Band/Duo of the Year in the FATEA Awards.

”Carrivick Sisters are pick of the crop.” The Telegraph

Steve Turner (Saturday)

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Steve Turner is known as a pioneer of highly sophisticated English concertina song accompaniments, stretching the boundaries of traditional forms, with one of the best voices in the business. He is a multi-instrumentalist, who also accompanies himself on the cittern, and also plays mandolin and banjo.

Between touring and performing Steve has built an internationally known stringed instrument business and released six critically acclaimed albums. His a seventh album was released at a Celtic Connections concert in January 2016.

“A shining example of the music the British folk scene is capable of producing” fRoots magazine

Evie Ladin and Keith Terry (Saturday)

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Evie Ladin is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, clawhammer banjo player and step-dancer and a truly sensational live performer. She grew up surrounded by traditional folk music in the North Eastern USA, her family home always open to musicians and dancers travelling through. Playing banjo from the age of 8 and clogging since she was just 5, Evie is steeped in traditional Appalachian music and dance, but also brings an urban edge and contemporary vision with her  original songwriting, new interpretations of old songs, and her work in contemporary percussive dance.

Keith Terry (bass, percussion, body music, backing vocals), is a great musical foil to Evie and a talented musician and dancer in his own right. Trained as a jazz drummer and known for his work in contemporary Body Music, Keith takes care of percussive duties on double bass, cajon and more, with clever lines and unusual grooves. He and Evie met on the dance floor, and they live a double life between the Folk/Americana circuit and the International Body Music scene they helped create – both elements are beautifully integrated into their live show.

Ben Smith and Jimmy Brewer

(Friday and Saturday)

Ben Smith and Jimmy Brewer

When Joan Armatrading launched her 'Local Talent' search for acts to support her on tour in 2012, she was looking for original artists from all over the UK to showcase their work. Ben Smith and Jimmy Brewer were two of the acts chosen, and in 2015 she called them back to support her again on her first ever solo tour. They met each other at an industry showcase that was organised by Joan, and started writing together at the suggestion of some publishers they met there.

They originally intended to just write together, but after realising that they had a natural affinity for each others styles they soon decided to start playing live too, and their first gig as a duo was supporting Joan in November 2015 in front of a thousand people.

Their eponymous debut E.P showcases their songwriting, close harmony singing and guitar style, and is available online through all major download and streaming services.

Becky Langan(Saturday and Sunday)

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‘photo credit: Guitar Star

Born in Rochdale, England (1992), Becky Langan is a percussive fingerstyle guitarist who employs a combination of extended techniques that explore the outermost reaches of the acoustic guitar. With over 13 years playing experience, Becky unleashes her creativity by performing incredibly complex instrumental acoustic guitar compositions at concerts around the UK. Having attended numerous master classes from her main inspirations, Becky employs the use of unique alternative tunings, two-handed tapping, percussive tempos and natural harmonic melodies drawn from her inspirations Andy McKee, Jon Gomm, Maneli Jamal and Thomas Leeb.

Becky was a semi-finalist on Guitar Star 2016 (Series 2) which aired on Sky Arts - a TV show which scours the UK to discover a world class guitarist. Throughout this competition, she recorded at Abbey Road Studios with producer Tony Visconti  and received mentor sessions from many iconic musicians, including; Tony Iommi, George Benson, Wilko Johnson, Jon Gomm and Preston Reed.


Foreign Affairs (Friday and Saturday)

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Brothers Adam and Lawrence Purnell are a Country-Rock duo from Bristol. The powerful, passionate vocal of younger brother Lawrence turns heads instantly but it is the carefully crafted songs and energetic performance that keeps them facing that way.

Between catchy choruses and close harmonies, you will ultimately hear an honest and raw country/rock sound, one that has inspired them over the years to create their own unique take on the genres.


David Gibb (Saturday)

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David Gibb is an award winning song writer and storyteller making music for little people, big people and everyone else in between. He enjoys woolly jumpers, walking his dog, anything with stripes on and morris dancing (seriously).

On the Friday of the festival, David will also be conducting a school workshop with children from Ireby school.

Ian Douglas (Saturday)

Story-telling  for all ages.  The origins of Ian’s work are steeped in the traditions of street theatre which has helped him develop his unique storytelling style. His work has been described as ‘truly inspirational’ and draws upon a rich vein of British folk tales and world myths.

"Those who tell the stories rule the world" - Plato 

Ben Gates Sound Sculptures (Saturday)

Grown-ups can play too!…Whilst studying Sculpture on a fine arts degree Ben developed an interest in sound making and the instruments used to create it. His journey started by finding out about traditional and experimental musical devices and how they worked. This led to the creation of his own experimental sound/musical instruments. Subsequently he began to devise accessible and fun ways to run workshops for young people.

Ireby Village Singers (Saturday)

It takes time to get a picture of this crew, it is in the mix, so watch this space! Something old, something new - and that’s just the singers! Ireby’s very own multi-talented group. Be prepared to join in.

Bev Whelan (Saturday Tin Whistle Workshop)

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Bev is a traditional Irish flute and tin whistle player and teacher. Born into an Irish family, Bev started to play as a child in her hometown of Blackpool in Lancashire, and spent several years living in Ireland where she learned to play flute in the Sligo style from local musicians.

Bev currently lives in Lancaster, where she plays in sessions and performs solo and with various bands, including as a musician with the internationally known Irish Dance troupe Absolutely Legless (with whom she has toured France, Switzerland, Spain and appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe). She also performs in a duo with All-Ireland Champion harpist Celia Briar, with whom she has appeared on BBC Radio. With thanks to http://www.folkus.co.uk

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© Ireby Festival