Acts booked for 2019 so far - Keep visiting this page to see the latest brilliant folk bands booked to play at the 2019 Wessex Folk Festival
(subject to change)
To say that Alex has many strings to his bow would be a metaphor forgiven for the fact that it helps to conjure his presence as a musical magician, in which any number of guitars seamlessly pop into set, beautifully played and adored. Almost totemic, each wood and strings take their part, whether it’s the finger-style acoustic guitar, lap-steel playing, or the Bouzouki, Alex plays with a sincerity borne of years of graft, craft, and a man who seems to straddle multiple time boundaries.
His lyrics offer a fusion of cultural and intercultural pertinence, generated by an acute appreciation for our earth and its ancestry, and a raw gift for storytelling. His musical oeuvre is enriched by his travels and immersive living experiences both in the UK and beyond, from backpacking around India and Europe, to playing at Surf festivals in Barbados, to tepee dwelling in the English rural countryside. The result is an oasis of mini ‘odysseys’ in which each song feels like it has been specially harvested for our appreciation. Through years of musical study together with an inimitable, intuitive flair for rhythm and the written word, Alex not only turns life into music, but enables us to see that music provides life with its heartbeat. He urges us to listen.
Since moving from her hometown of New York City to the UK seven years ago, singer-songwriter Annie Dressner has received considerable recognition from her live shows, as well as both her debut album, "Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names" (2011), her EP "East Twenties" (April 2013). Dressner's second in-studio album with producer Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore) was released 26 October 2018. It has been receiving rave revues, such as Shire Folk calling it "one of the freshest and most enjoyable releases of the year."
Her songs have been played on Radio 2 and 6 music, among other local BBC radio stations and has been frequently played on the Caffe Nero playlist.
Dressner's songs are delivered with a such conversational ease, it often seems as if she is reading from an intimate letter or a book, set to music. Her straightforward lyrical style, sharp ear for wordplay and crisp, lilting vocals offer listeners a front row seat to her stories, as they take shape above the understated music. She has been compared to an up-tempo Mazzy Star 'Fade Into You,' or Jenny Lewis.
While in New York, Annie played a variety of clubs and bars since 2009, including Rockwood Music Hall, The Living Room, The Bitter End and Brooklyn's Jalopy. Since arriving in the UK, Annie has played at Festivals & venues throughout England, such as the Green Man Festival, Secret Garden Party, Cambridge Folk Festival, Cluny2, O2 Academy Islington, Norwich Arts Centre, Night & Day, and has opened for Emily Barker, Simone Felice, Kirsty McGee, Juan Zelada, Lucy Wainwright Roche & Fossil Collective.
She is also one half of The Pollyanna Band (the other half is Polly Paulusma).
For press coverage, please visit: www.anniedressner.com/press
"Ant Noel is a rising star on stages across the south west and beyond thanks to a winning way with a tune and an intriguing lyric. He steps out from his folk roots to capture a wider audience with his endearing songs. " (The Musician Magazine)
The core members of the band are Bertie Anderson (vocals and viola) Emma Price (vocals, accordion and flute) Marcus Daborn (guitar and kick drum) Mitch McGugan (Vocals, violin & percussion). They are often joined on stage by David Holmes on bass who is also the producer of all their recordings.
Doc Clarke’s Remedy comprises six musicians and singers based in Weymouth, who
incorporate a wide range of music in their repertoire. From left to right in the photograph -
Martin Bliss, Mike Clarke, Dave Bradford, Lynn Targett, Pam Dentith and Clive Nicholls.
Instruments include Guitars, Banjos, Mandolin and Double Bass.
Dom Prag is a young Southampton based singer-songwriter whose spellbinding voice, magical guitar energy and songs of passion, loss, comical social disasters and everyday fears combine folk with blues and classical influences into gripping musical narratives. In 2015, whilst living in Brighton, he released an EP, ‘Talitha and Other Songs’ which has been played on numerous local radio stations up and down the country. He has played at folk clubs from Teesside to South Devon and appeared at many Festivals including Nozstock, Wickham, Purbeck and Wimborne. Among other headline acts, he has supported Ninebarrow, John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick and John Doyle; While and Matthews; Jez Lowe and Jackie Oates. Just before Christmas 2018, his debut album, ‘Young Man on a Ferry’, came out. It was awarded album of the month for January by the Richard Harris Folk & Blues show on Blues & Roots Radio.
‘We were lucky enough to have Dom open up a show for Chris and me, and we were both really impressed with him. Great playing, singing and writing and a lovely stage presence. Watch out for Dom, his star is definitely on the rise’ Julie Matthews (While and Matthews)
The Dorset Wrecks
Formed in 2013 DORSET WRECKS had their first gig when 5 of the initial 6 members sang on MV Freedom to support their charity at the Weymouth Barrel Rolling event in the September. The 12 members now average well over 50 gigs each year and we rehearse weekly at the Old Town Hall, Weymouth. We have sung at weddings, social events, funerals, Trafalgar nights as well as at Camp Bestival and many other festivals including two inaugural festivals in 2017, the Lymington Sea Food Festival and the Bridport Folk Festival. In 2016 we recorded our first CD of sea shanties and songs of the sea, entitled Bright Eyed ‘N’ Stiff, alluding to how to determine their freshness when buying fish. In 2018 we sang on both days of the inaugural Teign Shanty Festival in Teignmouth and we went down a storm at Bestival when the audience were blown away, literally, before any group could sing a note on that Sunday, perhaps this year. We also had a preliminary audition for Britain’s Got Talent before Christmas and we are due to sing on HMS Warrior in Portsmouth in March and a second CD is planned for later in the year.
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.
HYPERLINK "http://www.gadarenemusic.com/" www.gadarenemusic.com
“As good as contemporary folk comes” – Acoustic
“Folk-roots with attitude” – Froots
“Life-affirming” - Folk Radio
“Terrific, stylish, energetic musicianship” – Jo Tuffs, Director, Broadstairs Folk Week
“Wonderful!” – Ruth Bramley, Cambridge Folk Festival
“An excellent band, Glymjack leave the audience wanting more”- Bob Ford, Musical Director, Wessex Folk Festival
Glymjack is the folk-roots project of songwriter Greg McDonald, described as “enough to remind you why you got into music in the first place” by BBC DJ Tom Robinson.
Featuring Show of Hands’ Phil Beer and Steve Knightley, debut album Light the Evening Fire has enjoyed airplay across BBC Radio, with critics declaring it “album of the month” (Totally Radio), “one of the albums of the year” (Quiet Revolution) and “life-affirming” (Folk Radio).
Glymjack’s Festival Band delivers a high-energy indie-folk punch which has seen them described as “Show of Hands meets the E Street Band”.
The band sees Greg joined by a stellar line-up comprising fiddle virtuoso Gemma Gayner, bass ace Dickon Collinson, Fred’s House drummer Paul Richards, top melodeon player Saul Bailey and dazzling pianist Art Toper.
Away from Glymjack, Greg plays in The Phil Beer Band and has written music for films including Alan Partridge.
The word “Glymjack” is Victorian criminal underworld slang for a street child who led strangers through the streets of London at night with a lantern.
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Mixing traditional songs with their own material, the husband and wife duo from Dartmoor have established their reputation over two decades and won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for the best duo in 2016 and 2013.
Kathryn Roberts is originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, where her musical parents introduced her to a wealth of music, including regular visits to folk festivals. She has been praised as one of the finest singers of her generation and her flute playing adds a distinctive touch to the duo’s sound.
Sean Lakeman is the eldest of the three Lakeman brothers and was brought up on Dartmoor, where he began playing the guitar at the age of six. He and his brothers Seth and Sam teamed up with Kate Rusby and Sean’s wife-to-be, Kathryn Roberts, to form the folk pop band Equation, who earned comparisons with folk rock greats such as Fairport Convention during their decade performing together.
Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman recently released their fifth album, Personae. Its mix if self-penned songs and traditional ballads has drawn widespread acclaim.
‘Timeless themes of love and loss, revenge and revelry for our modern age’
The Kilpecks were formed from the splintered shins of folk-funk favourites the Lonesome Stampede. Although, The Kilpecks are rawer, they are keen to allow the stories to take the listener past the shadows of this world. Their debut single; Haunted Man, does just that. It’s a song of betrayal and revenge, but these seemingly timeless themes hide the fact that it was penned in the wake of #MeToo Movement, for there still many modern stories to tell. Some of The Kilpecks members, the main vocalist and songwriter, dwell not far from our namesake, the incredible Kilpeck Church, full of Norman Romanesque carvings that have to be seen to be believed. Our other members, guitarist and violinist, live within in the warm embrace of the Celtic World of Wales and Cornwall. (Song involves guest bassist & drummer). We are excited to add our sound and stories to the folk and roots music of this varied and beautiful land. Please help spread the word.
Michelle & Vincent
Oka Vanga are Angela Meyer & William Cox, an award winning UK Folk & Roots duo. A hard to pigeon hold ac, with a unique cross genre sound,their line-up of vocals, guitars, ukulele and mandolin makes their sets both interesting and memorable.
Their recent album Dance of the Copper Trail has been hailed as their best work yet, described by Songlines as “profound, concise and meticulous” with Angela’s lyrics “ displaying a talent for conveying emotion and joy.” Songs are seamlessly woven together and showcase all the manner of musical influences. Described by fRoots as both upbeat and an album of “serious accomplishment and musicality”, it has secured Angie and Will a place in the hearts and minds of many fans with what RnR describe as its folk roots “Celtic-deep universality”.
Since their first sell-out gig together in March 2018, Folk/Americana duo Roswell has gone on to win the Purbeck Rising 2018 competition, have their debut single 'Heaven Knows' selected for Fatea's Winter Showcase, and record their debut EP at the Roundhouse. Jasmine and Zoë have been combining their love of intricate vocal harmonies and folk music since they met at an open mic in Ely and are planning an exciting 2019 - including working on their next release and appearing at festivals from Swanage to Switzerland.
The Rumblestrutters bring the Prohibition Era to the party! This trio vividly evoke the traditional jug band music and acoustic blues of the 1920's.
Equally adept at classic material or original compositions, their entertaining performances have to be seen to be believed. Luscious harmonies and virtuosity combine in songs of bootleg liquor and late-night parties. The Rumblestrutters are the authentic sound of the speakeasy.
“The Spoonful’s worst nightmare – a British Jug band.” – John Sebastian
"Great Stuff!" - Mike Harding Folk Show
"If you see them advertised - GO!" - Paul Jones (BBC Radio 2)
"Be sure not to miss them!" - Spencer Davis
"Like ‘em." - David Crosby
Sherborne Folk Band, formed in 2017, meets for a monthly workshop to learn folk tunes, harmonies and chords by ear. The workshops are aimed at musicians of all abilities and all acoustic instruments. The workshops are led by Hannah Cumming, an inspirational local musician, singer and workshop leader. The Band also meets for informal sessions during the year to play through the growing repertoire of tunes, which are a mix of traditional and modern folk tunes from the British Isles and further afield. Previous tunes can be found on the Sherborne Folk Band website. This is a friendly group, welcoming new musicians – Everyone is welcome!
Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer effortlessly blend traditional material with contemporary sounds. Their performances showcase new interpretations of old songs alongside original self penned tunes and new contemporary songs that are entirely at home in the tradition. They have developed a sound that is both familiar and fresh. Strong believers in letting the music tradition live and breathe through sensitive interpretation, Vicki and Jonny allow the melody to sing without any constraints. Winter 2016 saw Vicki & Jonny as the front cover of the Living Tradition Magazine with a centre spread interview.
The Wareham Whalers are one of Dorset’s premier shanty crew and have been entertaining audiences since 2004. They run a popular monthly folk night and host a regular shanty gig in their namesake and historic town of Wareham. They sing at shindigs and festivals through-out the year. Workshops are held, informing the audience about the ways the crews sailed the tall ships. You are also likely to see and hear them busking the rural and coastal towns of the picturesque Isle of Purbeck and the beautiful Jurassic Coast. Since they started some 14 years ago, they have raised £1000s for Wareham and Purbeck Multiple Sclerosis Society, initially for a minibus, then for the annual maintenance of it. Why not come and listen to the Wareham Whalers? They have in their repertoire over 100 shanties and songs of the sea…and they remember the words to most of them! The shanties are sung as if the crew were on board a sailing ship. They also really enjoy what they do and that is evident to all that come and see them. So, look where the Whalers are in the programme, go and see and sing-along with them, and simply have a great time!
The Weymouth Ukuleleans are a group of like minded people who were brought together by their shared enthusiasm of the ukulele.
Beginning with weekly Thursday night Ukulele sessions at The Sailor's Return, Weymouth, the group formed in 2013 for a series of Christmas Charity Events.
The group's mantra of "Strum for Fun" seems to have captured the public's affections and with their infectious sound of foot-tapping, sing-along family entertainment the group have gone from strength to strength and can be seen sharing the fun of the ukulele at many local festivals and events.