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

Wessex Folk Festival

Weymouth Harbour  30th and 31st May 2020

Acts booked for 2019. This is the exciting line-up for this year's festival. Yet again, we look forward to another happening weekend, with some new faces and some old favourites. And all this for FREE!!!!!

(as with all live events, it's subject to change)

Alex Roberts (Saturday, Stage in the Square)

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.

Annie Dressner (Saturday, Harbourside Stage)

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:

Ant Noel & The Peabody Drakes (Sunday, Stage in the Square)
Somerset-based songwriter Ant Noel and his backing band The Peabody Drakes perform a foot-tapping blend of Celtic, Klezmer and American folk music, all wrapped up in Ant's original songs. Raucous, uplifting and joyful, led by the riveting combination of clarinet and fiddle, alongside guitar, double bass and sumptuous vocal harmonies. A regular on festival stages and at venues across Somerset and Bristol, Ant comes to the Wessex Folk Festival hot on the heels of his latest album release, 2018's Ferryman's Wake. 
"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)

For more info on Ant's music visit his webpage at

Barney Newman and Tom Leary (Saturday, Stage in the Square) are an exciting duo from Oxfordshire.They play toe tapping banjo and fiddle , Country Blues with a groove!They have been performing together for nine years and have developed a sound that is there own.Tom regularly plays with "Feast Of Fiddles","Richard Digance" and "Kevin Dempsey"whilst Barney performs solo around the UK
There styles compliment each other perfectly.Like fine wine these guys get better with age!

The BeauBowBelles (Saturday, Stage in the Square) are a Swing Folk band from London. Sitting somewhere between The Staves, Katzenjammer and Molotov Jukebox, The BeauBowBelles' close-part harmonies, driving rhythms and soulful melodies have attracted a dedicated fan-base across the UK and beyond. Their live shows are described as virtuosic, energetic and thoroughly entertaining. Taking their audiences on a spell binding journey with enthralling story telling, bewitching vocals and foot stomping jigs. Their clever, often humorous lyrics and joyous stage banter makes for an uplifting and spellbinding show. 
They have two records out, their debut EP “To The Moon” and their 2015 album “A Thing of Reality”. In 2019 they will be releasing a series of singles starting with Weightless in April.
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
The Weymouth Band has attracted quite a following over the last 4 years with their eclectic repertoire and was recently described as one obviously “very knowledgeable” audience member as the new Fairport Convention (Younger readers will have to Google them!) - that is a handsome accolade. Doc Clarke’s Remedy mainly perform to help charities and have raised money for the RNLI in LifeBoat week and most recently for the Old Town Hall where a packed audience enjoyed Music from around the World. The Band consists of Lynn Target Guitar and vocals, Pam Dentith Guitar Percussion and vocals, Clive Nichols Banjo, Dave ’The Bass’ Bradford on Bass, Guitar, Mandolin and vocals, Martin Bliss Guitar and vocals and Doc Clarke on Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo and vocals, and to coincide with their appearance at the Wessex Folk Festival they have a new CD out called ‘Repeat Prescription’.

Dom Prag (Sunday, Harbourside Stage) 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 (Sunday, Stage in the Square)

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 (Sunday, Stage in the Square) 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.


Glymjack (Saturday, Stage in the Square)

“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 HandsPhil 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.

Harbottle & Jonas (Saturday, Stage in the Square)
Fast emerging and dynamic Devon duo Harbottle & Jonas bring their fourth album The Sea Is My Brother to Wessex Folk Festival. There is a real maritime flavour to this superb album; every song tells a story and the storytelling continues between songs. A great live act, their songs cover the political and historical as well as the more personal. Partners in life as well as music, Dave and Freya combine a love of the richness of traditional folk with their own original and powerful songwriting. Over 6 years of writing and performing together they have evolved a compelling live signature sound, blending their distinctive solo voices with concertina, harmonium, banjo, stomp box, acoustic guitar and dobro with their powerful close vocal harmonies. 

They have received plaudits from folk icons including Seth & Geoff Lakeman, Jon Boden, Rod Clements, Lankum, Declan Sinnott, BBC Radio 6 and the Radio 2 Folk Show. Harbottle & Jonas have managed to establish themselves as one of the most exciting prospects on the folk circuit. 

Definitely one of the best folk acts I’ve heard in a long while‘ – Music News  
‘I would stake money on a bright future for Harbottle & Jonas’ – Folkwords
‘Stunning songwriting and heart-rending arrangements 9/10’ – Americana UK

James Hickman and Dan Cassidy (Sunday, Stage in the Square)

A transatlantic duo inspired by the traditions of America and Britain.
Hickman’s emotive, soaring vocals and driving guitar is complemented by Cassidy’s ingenious and virtuosic fiddling.
Their sound flows from the connection between British and American folk and is bursting with all the humour, heartbreak and excitement of these genres.
The lively English wit of Hickman is set against Cassidy’s bone-dry irony and American drawl as they take audiences on a dynamic and unforgettable transatlantic journey.

Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman (Sunday, Stage in the Square)

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.

The Kilpecks (Saturday, Harbourside Stage)

‘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.

Mad Magdalen (Sunday, Stage in the Square)
Whether on the main stage, around a camp fire, or plugged into a sun, wind or pedal powered amp or two, Mad Magdalen (pronounced "Mad Mawdlin") offer traditional English music with attitude. We sing songs and play tunes about sex, death, dancing and magic with a sprinkling of the history you were never taught at school. Born around a kitchen table, with good food (probably curry) and wine combined with the English tradition of getting together with friends and playing old songs, Mad Magdalen have gone on to play at festivals and gatherings all across the South of England.
Mad Magdalen features artists with a solid background in the English Folk Tradition. Ali and Graeme played folk clubs and festivals as  "Devil's Elbow" - known for their sensitive and creative arrangements of traditional songs and tunes, Claire sings with the Paul Sartin's Andover Museum Loft Singers, and Paul is known for his satire. At any event they're just as happy to be starting an impromptu folk club, maybe teaching a few kids (young and old) to juggle, even offering a singing workshop (or tai-chi session!) as well as performing their own particular brand of energy packed rocking folk guaranteed to get people dancing, and even crowd surfing.....

Mitchell & Vincent (Saturday, Harbourside Stage)

Mitchell and Vincent are a Westcountry duo who bring traditional and contemporary styles on fiddle and guitar to folk tunes and songs from around the British Isles, as well as original material drawing on the folk traditions, producing their own varied arrangements and great foot-tapping folk music. They have performed at various festivals and concerts around the UK (including Glastonbury, Broadstairs, Beverley, Oxford and Lyme Folk Weekend) as well as supporting great musicians such as Ralph McTell and Wizz Jones, Tim Edey Trio, Jackie Oates Duo, Damien O’Kane and Kate Rusby. Acoustic magazine described their second album ‘Circling the Square’ with, “At all times, the interplay between David Mitchell’s guitar and Graham Vincent’s fiddle is quite stunning.” FATEA Magazine commented that Graham had a “pleasantly rich voice" and "You will find music that is beautifully played, with a delicacy and lightness of touch that immediately brings to mind Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill”. Bright Young Folk perhaps describes them best with, “Their sound is much deeper and richer than you would expect from an acoustic duo. Intricate instrumentalism and pulsing rhythms abound ... providing skilled arrangements and expert delivery of tunes and songs which showcase the vibrancy, and variety, of folk music across Britain. A thoroughly engaging and enjoyable experience.”

No Direction (Sunday, Harbourside Stage)

A mixed acapella harmony quartet who sing a wide variety of styles. One moment they’ll be singing a Croatian folk song and the next a Buddy Holly classic!

Oka Vanga (Saturday, Harbourside Stage)

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”.

Roswell (Sunday, Harbourside Stage)

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 (Saturday, Stage in the Square) 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

Sharon Lazibyrd (Saturday, Harbourside Stage) is a talented, original and award winning folk singer- songwriter who writes striking, ethereal and melodic songs. Her songs are influenced by musicals, music hall and everything from Julian Cope to English folk. She has performed across the UK and in Ireland including Glastonbury Festival. She has recorded a session for Bob Harris, been included in the FATEA showcase sessions and invited to take part in a BBC Introducing folk residential. Her music has been played by BBC Radio 6 Music on Tom Robinsons show and on the BBC Introducing Mixtape, numerous BBC shows as well as on over 50 folk and indie shows worldwide. Two of the songs from her debut solo album Half Shame and Half Glory have been voted Fresh Faves by Tom Robinson and his team. She was BBC Introducing Artist of the Week in Jan 2018 on BBC Georgey Tonight and BBC Introducing in the West’s main event in September 2018. She performs at festivals and folk clubs across the country and has headlined acoustic stages.

Sherborne Folk Band (Sunday, Harbourside Stage) 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!

[email protected]

The Stomping Boondocks (Saturday, Stage in the Square)

are: Paul Good (Caller, Vocals, Guitar), Jerry Bird (Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals), Karl Hayman (Guitar, Vocals) Graham Gosnell (drums) and Adam Parker (Bass)

Performing since the early stages of 2015, forged in the Southern County of Dorset, the Stomping Boondocks bring a measured mix of Celtic folk, pop and a hint of rock. They'll be sure to get you dancing along to their take on traditional jigs, reels, tunes and songs.  

Tin Angel (Sunday, Harbourside Stage)
Tin Angel American roots music: blues, old-time, swing, ragtime, who-knows-what at other times. The songs are traditional (mostly) while the twin-fiddle-fuelled string band music rocks. One of our favourite comments: 'Great set list'! Facebook page:

Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer (Sunday, Stage in the Square) 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 (Sunday, Harbourside Stage) 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 (Saturday, Harbourside Stage) 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.

The Wild Rover Set (Sunday, Harbourside Stage)

is drawn from a group of friends who get together at various sessions around the area. We aim to bring you set of familiar chorus songs and tunes. Your chance to exercise your vocal chords and any recently acquired percussion skills. Participation is the game and we just need you to make it the grand finale on the harbour stage.