Pre-Festival Warm-Up Night in Weymouth Harbour Pubs 29th May

Wessex Folk Festival

Weymouth Harbour  30th and 31st May 2020

acts that appeared on the Stages in 2017

Amy Hopwood

Amy sings traditional and modern folk songs and plays the baritone ukulele. You can expect tales of feisty women, stormy seas and dastardly murders, with a bit of humour thrown in... She'll be accompanied by Tobias Raven on guitar and Rick Potter on mandolin.

Barney Newman

Barney Newman and Tom Leary are an exciting duo playing countryblues and roots music.Toms exceptional skills on Violin and mandolin coupled with Barney's authentic Guitar,Banjo and vocal style produce an infectious up tempo sound that has seen them getting booked to play The New Forrest Folk Festival 2017 along side "Show of Hands" "Pentangle" and "The Rick Sanders Trio".So catch them early at the Wessex Folk Festival this year!

Barney Newman

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The Dambuskers

Dance yer socks off and sing yerself hoarse, the Dambuskers are coming to "Rock You".

The Dambuskers are a four-piece fiddle-fronted, high-energy, celtic rock band.

Since forming in 2003 their reputation has spread throughout the West Country and beyond....

Wild guys on bass, guitar, percussion, and one sexy fiddle diva!

The Dambuskers blend original material, traditional song, jigs’n’reels and choice covers.

Dance yer socks off and sing yerself hoarse!  Let's party!!

Dorset Wrecks

Formed over three years ago, Dorset Wrecks sea shanty group are becoming the area's preeminent singers of sea shanties and songs of the sea. Regular performers at all the Festivals throughout Dorset, as well as at weddings, birthday parties, store openings, gigs and charitable events; last year's season culminated with them being asked to perform on the Big Top Stage at Camp Bestival. At the same time they produced their first CD of 12 sea shanties entitled "Bright Eyed & Stiff". Apparently this is how you should buy your fish to ensure top quality and freshness and Dorset Wrecks and their CD certainly have those self same attributes.


Fresh from their debut European album launch tour, FolkLaw are an energetic and entertaining 4-piece acoustic folk-rock band from the Cotswolds, described as "Stylish passionate folk rock" by R2 magazine, whose vibrant stage show and acrobatic fiddle playing has delighted audiences at festivals and venues across the UK. FolkLaw’s latest album "Smokey Joe" has received radio play from the BBC to Australia, being described as “a milestone of folk music” by FolkWords magazine and reached the semi-finals of the UK Songwriting Contest. In recent years FolkLaw have played alongside Seth Lakeman, the Wurzels, Ade Edmondson, and The Shires, at festivals and  venues in every reach of the UK, including main stage at The Great British Folk Festival in Skegness.  Prior to forming FolkLaw, singer-songwriter Nick and percussionist Gaz toured the US and Europe with folk-rockers The Bleeding Hearts, supporting acts such as the Levellers, the Darkness and the Oysterband.

“One of the most exciting acts to grace the stage” – Banbury Folk Festival

“Whirling jigs and lyrics that bite!” - fRoots

The Foxglove Trio 

The Foxglove Trio is a group of multi-instrumentalists who perform mostly traditional songs from around the British Isles in English and Welsh. Gathering material from sessions, published song collections and contemporary artists, these talented musicians are making a name for themselves on the UK folk scene for their beautiful harmonies, creative new arrangements and engaging live performances.

The Galleons are a band from Brighton.  Their music wanders a line between folk and indie stopping off to visit rock, blues and occasionally prog along the way.  The songs are often simple and direct but the band also love creating huge musical soundscapes, whilst appreciating the often forgotten importance of a catchy hook .  As at home playing in a candle-lit cellar as they are in a sunny festival field, their music takes the audience from foot stomping folk-rock, to mellow, mysterious lullabies and back.  The band enjoy telling stories and rarely plough the usual lyrical furrows of sex n’ drugs n’ rock n’ roll; so expect songs about whales, Joan of Arc, censorship, post-apocalyptic adventures with Bruce Willis, terrifying foxes, farming in Latvia and magical suitcases.

In the past year they have played gigs and festivals across the UK, including a memorable set at a Techno festival in Yorkshire, performed with a 70 piece choir, the director of National Poetry Day and had their own beer made! They have played numerous live radio sessions at the BBC and beyond, recorded their second album, featured on 6 Music, BBC Introducing and Tom Robinson’s playlists and recorded in a dungeon!

Support slots at sold out shows with American Alt-Folk luminaries Dark Dark Dark, Strand of Oaks, This is the Kit, The Blockheads and cult indie band The Wave Pictures have highlighted their versatility and led to headline shows at some of the UK’s best venues. The band have been making good use of the internet and have sold CDs in 22 different countries including one to Gabon, although the Sub-Saharan tour is still in the early stages of planning!

Each listener seems to compare them to a different artist. This year so far they have had Low, Tunng, Fleetwood Mac, Fairport Convention, Belle & Sebastian, Trembling Bells, The Grateful Dead, Arcade Fire, Pentangle and Bonnie Prince Billy.

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

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

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.

Mad Magdalen

Whether on the main stage, around a camp fire, or plugged into a sun, wind or pedal powered amp or two, Mad Magdalen offer earthy folk for earthy folk. Born around a kitchen table, where good food and good wine combined with the English tradition of getting together with friends and playing old songs…… Mad Magdalen features artists with a solid back ground in musical performance. Alison and Graeme are Devil’s Elbow – known for their traditional songs and tunes; Claire sings with the Andover Loft Singers, and Paul is known for his satire. At any event they’re just as likely to be “mucking in” or starting an impromptu folk club, maybe teaching a few kids (young and old) to juggle, even offering a singing workshop (or tai-chi session!). It’s what earthy folk do!


is a multi award winning folk duo, who are impressing audiences across the country with their innovative and captivating take on the folk tradition. Described by Mike Harding as sounding damn fine and by Kate Rusby as absolutely amazing Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere combine breath taking vocal harmonies and melodies, delivering original songs that are inspired and rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles. As well as crafting unique and engaging original material, Ninebarrow also take a wide range of traditional folk songs and rework them in their own, distinctive way. Not only exceptional singers and musicians, Ninebarrow was recently nominee for Best Duo in the Fatea Magazine Awards 2016.
No Mean Feet

Bringing the wonderful music and percussive sounds created through dance originating from the Appalachian Mountains, via Yeovil (Somerset). Performing team routines, written by current and former team members, as well as individual freestyling to the music of our very own Shoestring Band.

Pete Christie

Pete Christie is a nationally touring solo British singer-songwriter / acoustic fingerstyle guitarist who plays from the heart and sings from the soul – a must see for anyone who loves acoustic music.

“Intense, passionate vocals and a clear grasp of how to write a great song – mesmerising….”

Pete Christie has been compared to many acclaimed musicians from Martin Simpson to Paul Weller, and was recently described as being “a cross between Pete Townsend, Mark Knopfler and Richard Thompson, but with a great voice; though, until now, without the fame !!!”

The Sherborne Folk Band
Ever wanted to discover the fun of playing folk music with other people? The Sherborne Folk Band was created just this year for this purpose. It enables anyone with an instrument to join and is for 'bedroom musicians', beginner musicians, starting-again musicians, young musicians, late bloomers, musicians that think they can only read the dots and musicians that worry that they can't read the dots. It enables people to learn tunes and chords, experiment with arrangements and enjoy an informal performance. 
The band was a spin off from the successful Laurel Swift's West London Folk Band concept. Laurel Swift is an inspirational and experienced workshop leader who helps budding and more experienced musicians to build confidence to learn and play new tunes by ear.

Remember these musicians only started playing folk music this year and the Wessex Folk Festival is pleased to be able to support this exciting new concept in folk music and to encourage you to give folk music a go.

Sue Stevens

Sue first got involved in the Folk Scene in the early 70's. Performing at local clubs in the West Midlands area and resident at The Severn Whistlers in Stourbridge. Over the coming years Sue started to perform guest spots and built up a reputation as some to listen to.
During the early 80's she retired from the Music Scene to raise a family. In the mid 90's she started to gig again around the local pubs performing covers. Christmas 2000 saw her welcome return to the Folk scene and in March 2001 she opened her own Club called the Lighthouse Folk Club and it's been going ever since. During her early career in the 70's Sue has supported the likes of Nic Jones, Martin Carthy, Roaring Jelly, Malcolm Stent & Therapy, to name but a few! Latterly she has guested at Alcester, Upton,  Folk on The Farm, The Miskin, and supported Dougie McLean at Tamworth Moot.
Her distinctive voice and accomplished guitar style, is used to good effect on a wide range of material from sensitive folk songs to foot stomping contemporary and self penned numbers.

Three Pressed Men

“A rare joy” – John Kirkpatrick

Firmly rooted in the English tradition, Three Pressed Men perform wonders with voices, hammer dulcimer, guitar, accordions, harmonica … and lots of concertinas! Our music embraces many moods  and styles – striking a cappella harmonies, sensitive ballads, lively dance music and rousing choruses."

“Three of English folk music’s hidden talents! These chaps do great things with the tradition. They are singers and instrumentalists, composers and arrangers of rare talent. Variety is the spice of life, and their performances at folk clubs and festivals are always praised for the range of styles and sounds they present. Perhaps their most distinctive feature is their use of multiple concertinas.

The Tree Fellahs can perhaps best be described as a “loose arrangement” of traditional style musicians, with Mike McDaid (piano accordian) and Paul Openshaw (guitar) at the core. They combine their talents to play at ceilidhs, festivals, pubs and parties. 

They have been described as "something more than just a ceilidh band" and their music is "guaranteed to give your spirits a lift, and to set your feet tapping".

Picture: Jenny Cox

Joining The Tree Fellas for the Saturday evening ceilidh is their caller Teresa. Teresa is considered by many to be one of the best callers in this part of the world and she will get you on your feet, dancing whether you are a festival regular or new to folk dancing. 

The Unprepared Jug Band has been playing extensively in venues, festivals and events in Dorset, Devon and Somerset for over 5 years. The band plays a varied selection of music and songs, mostly in the jug band and string band tradition, including original 1920s and 30s tunes, blues, hokum, 60s classics and later music and some self-penned songs – brought lovingly to the band’s listeners with commitment, expertise, energy and humour.

The band employ a variety of acoustic instruments including, as you’d expect, a jug, to explore a range of different musical styles and textures and guarantee a ‘jugging good time’. You are invited to follow the title of the band’s latest CD and ‘Stomp the Floor’. All the band are more than happy to inform and enthuse you about the history and performers of jugband music and their 1 – 2 hour multi-media presentation on the subject can be booked.

Bob Ford – Harmonicas, vocals

Simon Hewitt – Guitar, 4-string banjo , kazoo, percussion, vocals

Dave Milner – Jug, harmonicas, guitars, percussion, kazoo, vocals

Rob Phillips – Steel slide guitar, octave mandola, mandolin, kazoo, vocals

Our key contacts are:

EMAIL: [email protected]


WEBSITE: (where you can find some tracks from our current CD)

Youtube: Enter ‘Unprepared Jug Band’


Weymouth Ukuleleans

The Weymouth Ukuleleans formed in 2013 for an initial series of Christmas Charity Events and meet every Thursday evening at The Sailors Return, Weymouth.
Performing covers from the fifties to the noughties the group's mantra of "Strum for Fun" has captured the public's affections and with their mix of foot tapping, sing along, sunshine inducing, family entertainment the group can be seen sharing their special style of ukulele playing at many local festivals and events.

Wild Willy Barrett's French Connection

You won’t find another band like Wild Willy Barrett’s French Connection. From a Parisian café via a Dublin hooley to a New Orleans party with rip-roaring fiddle & banjo.

Imagine stumbling across a smoky back street bar, late night jam: Django Reinhardt and The Pogues; Robert Johnson accompanies Edith Piaf; Bob Marley’s jammin’ with Stéphane Grappelli; Tom Waits joins in. This is French Connection.

Multi-instrumentalist and erstwhile Godfather of grunge folk, Wild Willy Barrett, is the driver, as the versatile and heartrending vocals of French singer Aurora Colson take centre stage. Changing gear between almost every number, the quartet perform stunning original compositions and arrangements on guitar, cello, harmonium, whistle, fiddle, banjo and Irish pipes.