Wessex Folk Festival

Weymouth Harbour  2nd & 3rd June 2018

On the Stages 2018

Keep checking here for this year's exciting line-up.............

John Meriton

John is a singer/ songwriter from Hampshire: His songs are about life as he sees it; real people, places, emotions and experiences. With a powerful, warm and witty delivery, John plays solo, as well as with an acoustic band of great musicians, in folk and acoustic clubs and festivals across the south of England. His first CD The Line in 2010 brought together his old and new songs to celebrate his passion for songwriting and acoustic music.
A 2012 CD The Ballad of Colin Loader featured songs about his home town Emsworth. The Wind Up Heart Chronicles was released in 2016. The John Meriton Band features Jon Hardcastle on guitar and vocals, Ian Maclaughlin on bass, Sophie Butler on vocals and flute and Alan Blackmore on percussion. 
Find out more about John’s music at www.johnmeriton.co.uk

Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls

Throwing Old Time, Ska, Alt Country and Punk into a backwoods still to make musical moonshine!!!

JCODS are a lively band and have taken this musical combination in surprising new directions by mixing up; Old Time, Alt Country, Bluegrass, Gypsy, Ska, Reggae and Blues – both traditional and modern.  They play as a duo or a three piece band but  make the noise of a  stompin’ five piece band with Fiddle, Mandolin, Washboard, Guitar, Kick-drum and Foot Percussion. 

In only a year and a half they have toured extensively up and down the country sharing their foot-stompin', raucous and infectious sound at some of UK’s most prestigious joints. These include: Fire in The Mountain Festival, Folk East Festival, Harlequin Fayre, Sandwich Folk & Ale, Stoneydown Folk,  Outcider Festival, Alchemy Festival, Wonky Donk, Rickmansworth Canal Festival, Dark Holler Festival,  Camden Underworld, What’s cookin’?, Spiritual Bar, The Monarch, Before The Gold Rush and many more.      A new Album 'Them Old Bones' is due to be released in May 2017


The Lonesome Stampede is an original upbeat folk-funk band based in Hay-on-Wye and Builth. They are about to (March 2017) release their first album recorded and produced at KJM Studios in Hereford. They have toured already this year, playing John Sebastian Bristol, Three Horseshoes in Bradford-on-Avon, London's famous Hope&Anchor and The King Arthur in Glastonbury. They are busy adding to their 2017 summer festivals which include appearances at Lymm Festival, Wessex Folk Festival, Outcider and Deer Stock. They have been played numerous times on BBC radio and appeared on a BBC Introducing session, they are signed to Jelli Records. 

Alden Patterson & Dashwood

A Norwich based folk / Americana trio Alden Patterson and Dashwood weave

rich vocal harmonies, fiddle, dobro, guitar and mandolin around beautifully written original songs and melodies. Their music takes influence from folk traditions from both sides of the Atlantic with uplifting instrumentals and self-penned songs depicting tales of young travellers, sleepy seas and their affection for home.

‘It’s lovely stuff’ – Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 Folk Show 2016

★★★★★ fRoots – Editors Choice Album Of The Year 2016

★★★★ Songlines – ‘Something of enormous promise’

★★★★ R2 – ‘Talented and poetic triumvirate’



Launching their new album, “Volume Two: Live in 2016”, Gadarene play a unique brand of ‘ultra modern ancient tunes’, which has been aired on Radio 2, 6 Music, and local stations in the lead up to the album release.

Gadarene blend obscure traditional English tunes, virtuoso acoustic musicians, funky beats and loads of energy. The five-piece play drums, mandolin, double bass, fiddle and flute, their musicianship and effects units transforming obscure English 18th and 19th-century tunes into numbers from intricate acoustic trance to alternative modern dance hits. Drawing on styles from pop and rock to electronic and dub, the band's pioneering attitude to folk brings glorious old tunes to life. The set features Lancashire clog and Dartmoor step dance, and gets audiences up dancing too!  

Delivered with great rhythm, innovative instrumentation and good humour, Gadarene’s infectious sound is sophisticated enough for seated audiences and wild enough to get everyone dancing.

a splendidly vibrant unit who take chances and pull more than rabbits out of the hat.(fRoots magazine)

Clever and intricate arrangements(Acoustic Magazine)

the tightness and skill of this quintet gives a sound that carries across the varying styles, setting them apart as a unique unit who are definitely worth discovering.” (Fatea)

musicians sparking off each other in no small order.” (fRoots magazine)

a hugely bold sound… It’s a sound that refocuses the genre, a new relevance that’s beyond tradition. (Dave Henderson, MOJO)

These amazing old tunes are all miniature masterpieces and deserve the exposure. Some of the tunes have not been played for 300 years and it’s brilliant to see audiences enjoying them so much.


Mark Harrison

Mark Harrison has established a reputation for making a unique kind of original music, based on the style of the early folk/blues artists but with a modern twist and wide appeal to audiences of all kinds. He has been attracting considerable attention recently, with extensive gigging, a lot of airplay, and great reviews. The general view is that he has something genuinely new and different to offer.                            Mark's songs are highly individual, with memorable tunes, striking lyrics and strong rhythms, and they are about a wide range of unusual topics. Many of them have a story behind them and audiences often remark on how much they enjoy the introductions explaining what the songs are about and on how interesting the lyrics are.                     

  • Mark is regarded as having a highly distinctive finger-picking and slide guitar style and plays National guitars and a 12-string as well as singing. 
  • Mark has a top-class band of brilliant musicians, often featuring double bass and drums. Audiences regularly comment on the unique and exciting nature of the sound they make together and the high quality of the musicianship. He performs in all line-ups from solo to full band.                                                                                               
  • Mark's latest album, Turpentine, has received fantastic reviews in well-regarded print and online media in the UK, the US and Europe, and airplay on a very large number of radio shows in the UK (including BBC) and around the world, as was the case with his previous albums. 
  • Mark has headlined at very good venues all around the UK. Festival appearances include good slots at prestigious events such as Celtic Connections, Bluesfest@O2, Jazz FM Love Supreme Festival, Bearded Theory, Lakefest, BAAfest, Bournemouth Jazz By The Sea Festival, Maryport Blues Festival, Ealing Blues Festival, the Acoustic Festival of Britain, Purbeck Folk Festival, Leigh Folk Festival, Gloucester Blues Festival, and Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival. 
  • A film of one of Mark's songs was recently made by a director who works for Ridley Scott's organisation - this film was showcased at the Cannes Film Festival, where it got a great reception. 
  • Mark has been featured with interviews and articles in a number of influential magazines, including R2 magazine, Blues in BritainSpiral Earth, Calibre and Blues Matters
  • Mark has been nominated in several categories in the British Blues Awards.  
  • Mark has done a number of live radio sessions for highly-regarded shows, including BBC Radio and Jazz FM.

All information, including music, videos and reviews, is on Mark's website:


Lewis Clark & The Essentials became a fully-fledged band in September 2015. Based around the core trio of Lewis Clark (guitar & vocals), Rob Grist (drums & piano) and Max Mees (double/electric bass), the group combines their diverse and shared interests in blues, folk and soul to create a dynamic and distinctive live sound. Their musical style draws on their love of rhythm and blues and explores an eclectic range of influences including traditional British folk, American roots music and wider European traditions.