Acts from previous Wessex Folk Festivals
Click the links below to see some of the fantastic acts we have had the pleasure of hosting at previous festivals
Random selection of Wessex Folk Festival musicians............
Hailing from Liphook, Hampshire, EMMAY are a sibling trio consisting of Aimée Mackenzie on electro-acoustic guitars, keyboards and lead vocals, Freya Mackenzie on acoustic violin, electro-acoustic ukulele and backing vocals and Ross Mackenzie on Cajon.Who have EMMAY supported?
The trio have supported Nizlopi, Show of Hands, Sean Lakeman/Kathryn Roberts, Blair Dunlop, Luke Jackson, Miranda Sykes/Rex Preston, Sheelanagig, Phillip Henry/Hannah Martin and Josienne Clarke/Ben Walker.Where have EMMAY performed?
Notable venues that EMMAY have performed at include Isle Of Wight Festival, Show of Hands Summer Festival (Abbotsbury), Cornbury Festival, Victorious Festival, Purbeck Valley Folk Festival, Wychwood Festival, Weyfest, The Bedford (Balham), The Troubadour (Earls Court), Water Rats (Camden), Wedgewood Rooms (Portsmouth)What do the media have to say about EMMAY?
An outstanding BBC Introducing panel review of “Lesson Learned”, one of EMMAY’s self-penned songs, resulted in an invitation to record a session for the BBC which was broadcast live right across the South of England.
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.
Gaz Brookfield is a solo acoustic musician based in Bristol.
Since winning Acoustic magazine's 2010 Singer Songwriter of the year, he has spent his time on the road, touring the UK and Europe. In this time he has shared the stage with the likes of Levellers, Frank Turner, New Model Army, Nick Harper, Newton Faulkner, Miles Hunt, and many more, racking up over 1000 gigs to date.
He remains the only unsigned solo act to sell out The Fleece, Bristol, a feat he has achieved 4 times. The last two times selling it out 6 months in advance.
He continues to relentlessly tour the UK and beyond, often playing as many as 200 gigs a year, proving that the "journey-man" title is more than just a simple metaphor.
Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls
Fronted by Jo Carley and backed by her song writing partner and husband Tim Carley, they are joined by an assortment of double bass players and other weirdos they meet on the road. The driving force is Tim’s One-man-band set-up with Kick-drum, hi-hat and guitar while Jo’s vocal delivery sounds like the leader of Satan's own gospel choir. This is made even more bewitching as she switches from fiddle to mandolin to washboard. Possessing an energy that elevates the audience, this duo sound more like a stompin 5 piece band.
"Folk Instruments deployed with maximum attitude... A fresh take on Voodoo Folk Punk... 9/10" Vive Le Rock Magazine
"That nailed it, good stuff. Left of field stomper. A wonderful fusion of trad, old timey, New Orleans Voodoo Queen and morris dancing, I think???" - Mike Harding / Mike Harding Folk Show
"The pulsating core of ‘Them Old Bones’, the debut album from Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls, takes pretty much all the preconceptions you might have and throws them out... There are dark warnings, powerful accusations, gritty observations and singular attitude... this is a musical heist that robs you of ordinary and replaces it with exceptional" - Folkwords
Glymjack is an English folk act led by acclaimed singer-songwriter Greg McDonald.
Phil Beer-produced debut album Light the Evening Fire features Phil’s Show of Hands band-mates Steve Knightley and Miranda Sykes, Sam Kelly percussionist Evan Carson, and Luke Tuscherer drummer Tom Peters.
In spring 2018, Glymjack tour as an acoustic trio with Greg joined by fiddle virtuoso Gemma Gayner and bassist Dickon Collinson, delivering a high energy, harmony-rich set of hard-hitting originals, English folk songs and fiddle tunes.
Greg’s award-winning songs have previously been called “genius” (Rolling Stone), “captivating” (Q magazine), and “enough to remind you why you got into music in the first place” (Tom Robinson, BBC 6music), while Gemma’s virtuosic skill has seen her celebrated as a “powerhouse instrumentalist” (fRoots) and “a force to be reckoned with” (Maverick) and Dickon’s “soaring” (Fresh on the Net) counter-tenor has winged his indie rock band Careless Sons all the way to Wembley Arena.
Nigel is a popular Poole-based singer-songwriter who has been a staunch supporter of the Wessex Folk Festival for many years. His albums have received acclaim from across the folk spectrum including such worthies as Vin Garbutt, Colum Sands, and Martyn Wyndham-Read to name but three. And reviewing Nigel’s debut album Once in a While Jools Holland wrote “I enjoyed it tremendously, the purity and the honesty of it shone through.”
Songs with strong choruses are a particular feature of Nigel’s repertoire and so his set at Mid-day on Sunday is a must for festival goers who like to sing along. Nigel acts as an advocate for the charity SeeAbility (formerly the Royal School for the Blind) and the proceeds from the sale of his albums are donated to the charity.
Reel Dorset play a selection of jigs, reels, polkas
and hornpipes typical in traditional folk music, although some modern 'cool'
riffs and breaks are included to spice up the ears. Reel Dorset formed in 2014
and is led by folk musician Richard 'Titch' Roberts, band leader of Black
Sheep. Reel Dorset have performed at St George's Ceilidh, Corfe Mullen,
the Christmas Market in Bournemouth, the Mash Up Festival and the Lighthouse
Stealing Whiskey are a six-piece band from Dorset, playing a blend of originals an unexpected covers. A handcrafted and harmonic sound, drawing on inflences from a wide range of genres, producing a folky form of Americana country fusion. This upbeat set will be a treat for your ears and feet!
Nina Garcia with The Tree Fellahs
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".
Nina Garcia formed the popular Celtic Rock band Jigsaw in 1996. Following seven years touring the Far East, Nina embarked on a solo musical career in the UK, US and South Africa. Nina joined The Tree Fellahs as fiddle player and vocalist in 2008
Damian Clarke continues his mission to present the wonderfully exotic Hammer Dulcimer and Hurdy Gurdy. He is currently the only touring performer of these instruments who also sings. An international entertainer; his concerts are a multi-faceted show, with stories and sing-alongs, fun, history and romance. His instruments provide a refreshing change of sound, haunting, evocative and stirring.
Damian interacts with his audiences, inviting them to sing along, ask questions, and even to have a go on the dulcimer. He has a wealth of entertaining stories from over 30 years of travelling internationally with his music. He performs wherever he can, from clubs to castles, house-concerts to markets. A true modern Minstrel!
Here is an artist who represents all the best aspects of the songwriter’s craft. A casual observer of the world that surrounds him, he draws on its roots, it’s past and present. A story teller in the age-old tradition, a balladeer, poet and a writer of impressively prolific output, with four studio albums released. 'Alex plays bloody wonderfully!' - John Renbourn
Andy Grant Trio
After fleeing a job in a South African gold mine, Andy made ends meet playing original blues music on street corners from Melbourne to Copenhagen. Now residing in Dorset, he has earned a wide and loyal fan base, winning over audiences time and again with his mix of Soul, Roots and Blues. This award winning guitarist blends first class fretwork and bluesy vocals over original songs that are by turns instant and memorable.
Bassist Simon Rushbrook , and drummer Jack Revy complete the Trio lineup, drawing comparisons with artists such as J.J. Cale, Led Zep and John Martyn. Their clean acoustic sound provides a solid foundation for musical genre hopping. A heavy rock riff may morph into a bluegrass tune, or a jazz funk groove all spun into a seamless musical landscape. By clocking upwards of 150 shows a year, Andy Grant Trio are becoming masters of their art: Good time blues music with great feel and no boundaries..
Amy and The RavenA duo made up of Amy Hopwood (vocals and baritone ukulele) and Tobias Raven (bass ukulele and guitar), Amy and The Raven play a mix of traditional and original folk. Expect plenty of songs about the sea, feisty women and dastardly murders, with some politics and humour thrown in! http://www.amyhopwood.co.uk/
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’
Antoine and Owena
Traditional. Modern. Inspirational. Inspired by traditional and contemporary folk music, Antoine & Owena create their own original blend of folk music that provides a feast for the ears, the heart and the feet. Combining original material with their own take on some traditional tunes, this Wiltshire-based duo of multi-instrumentalists delivers an eclectic mix of songs and instrumentals. With Owena on the fiddle, and Antoine on guitar, bouzouki, and tenor guitar, together with the use of vocal harmonies, they captivate their audiences with their variety, showmanship, and good humour.
As a duo, Antoine and Owena recently won the Purbeck Rising competition at Purbeck Folk Festival 2017. In February 2018 they supported established folk acts Reg Meuross, and Eliza Carthy & Martin Carthy. They are performing the festival circuit this year, with slots at several folk festivals including Wimborne, Bridport, Wessex, Poole, and Purbeck. In February 2018 they released their self-titled debut EP and will be recording their debut album at Real World Studios at the end of May.
Somerset singer-songwriter Reg Meuross returns to Wessex Folk Festival. Reg represents contemporary folk writing at its best, with that rare gift of being able to touch people through his songs and performance, on a really human level. His words and music paint pictures that remain with the listener long after the song has been sung.
This gig is part of the Reg Meuross Two Albums Tour, encompassing two album releases: Faraway People and Songs About A Train, and of course he will be singing his old favourites too. Reg is a true modern troubadour, as comfortable gigging in village halls and folk clubs as he is playing the Royal Albert Hall and huge festival stages. He consistently entrances his audiences with songs of life, love and injustice, soulfully delivered with melodic tenor vocals and exemplary guitar playing.
“Time and again, Reg proves himself one of the key songwriters of our age” David Kidman
Mick Tems Folk Wales ”...every song from the gentle, enchanting genius is worth its weight in gold.”
“There’s something special about the way he writes and delivers a song” Townes Van Zandt.
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.
The Shackleton Trio
Press and reviews for "The Dog Who Would Not Be Washed"
“Sparky, charismatic and intensely assured. An exciting and innovative young trio. A hefty thumbs up”
"An excellent debut album" ★★★★
– R2 Magazine
“A hugely talented lass”
– Mike Harding
“The combined forces of the trio deliver a stylish mix of material and influences with a direct and equal-handed commitment and tremendous panache”
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.
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, [email protected], 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 Britain, Spiral 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:
State of Undress
From Cornwall to Scotland, State of Undress have been taking stages by storm for the past 12 years with their exuberant and infectious fiddle-fuelled music. Performances include Glastonbury, Sidmouth FolkWeek, Looe Music Festival, Swanage Folk Festival, Saltburn Folk Festival and The Tall Ships Festival in Waterford, Ireland. With original songs that embrace the thought-provoking, joyous and shamelessly foot-tapping, plus traditional songs played in their own idiosyncratic style, State of Undress promise you a rollercoaster of a gig!
State of Undress are:
Charlie Rose (lead vocals); Alan Rose (guitars, mandolin and vocals); Jerry Bird (fiddle, mandolin and guitar); Rob Boivin (bass); Rick Hambleton (drums)Here’s what they’ve been saying about State of Undress:
‘State of Undress provide feisty, fun, dynamic and passionate music…a show you don’t want to miss’ Maverick Magazine
‘When I saw State of Undress play, it reminded me of why I fell in love with folk rock as a young man.’ Ken Hall, Compere, The Late Session, Saltburn Folk Festival, Summer 2015
‘State of Undress are an irrepressible super high octane band in the best tradition of bands like Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and Jethro Tull but for, and of, the 21st Century.’
Rainlore’s World of Music
‘A blend of roots-rock, country, Celtic flavourings and a full-bodied melodic musical assault’
R2 (Rock n Reel)
For further information please contact;Alan Rose 07988 622398 Charlie Rose 07971 472768
Wild Willy Barrett's Roaring Touring
You won’t find another band like this! From a Parisian café via a Dublin hooley to a New Orleans party with rip-roaring fiddle and banjo. Multi-instrumentalist and erstwhile godfather of grunge folk, Wild Willie Barrett is the driver, as the versatile and heartrending vocals of French singer Aurora Colson take centre stage. Numbers include original compositions and arrangement on guitar, cello, harmonium, whistle, fiddle, banjo and Irish pipes.