THE Festival is proud to present one of the greatest names in British and world folk music. Barbara Dickson OBE has 17 Platinum and Gold albums to her name plus an Olivier Award for her acting ability. She appears at Tredegar House Folk Festival with keyboard genius Nick Holland in what promises to be one of the great concerts of the year. From enduring worldwide hits such as ‘Another Suitcase In Another Hall’, ‘Caravans’ and ‘January, February’ to her thrilling and moving recent work, Barbara is a breathtaking festival performer. Whatever you do with the rest of your year, don’t miss this. It’ll be absolutely amazing.
TAKE everything you think you know about singer songwriters….and rip it up. For just one man and a guitar, Martyn Joseph creates a thunderstorm of a performance. With a career spanning 30 years, 32 albums, over a half a million record sales and thousands of live performances, this promises to be a sensational gig. Compared to Bruce Springsteen and John Mayer, Martyn has built a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives. Tom Robinson describes him as “one of the most charismatic and electrifying performers in Britain today.”
WALES’ premier folk supergroup, Alaw are Jamie Smith, one of the world’s greatest accordionists, fiddle virtuoso Oli Wilson-Dickson and mesmerising guitar maestro Dylan Fowler. Oli and Jamie are well known throughout the folk world as the frontline of Jamie Smith’s Mabon. But together, Alaw are a jaw-dropping combination who bring a wealth of experience to the traditional music of Wales. Whether unearthing rare gems, reimagining a well-loved melody or creating inspiring original music, Alaw’s towering performance, spiced with humour and deep affection for their art, will stay with you long after the final note has faded.
THE rise of this award-winning trio has led to massive critical acclaim. “One of the discoveries on the folk circuit,” says Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe. Originally from North Wales and Yorkshire, The Trials Of Cato formed while living in Beirut. They spent a year creating a sound that intrigued Lebanese audiences. Returning home in 2016, they have since blazed a trail through UK folk. Their debut album, ‘Hide And Hair’, remains a triumph, winning Best Album at the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. In 2019, too, they were crowned Best Emerging Artists at the Wales Folk Awards. Expect stomping tunes and captivating stories.
FARA brings together four stunningly-talented musicians at the cutting edge of Scottish folk. Jennifer Austin, Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price employ three fiddles and a piano to produce an astonishing, fiery sound rooted in the music of Orkney. The four hold degrees from The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal Northern College of Music, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Strathclyde University…but forget any notion of dry academia. Instead expect vibrant arrangements full of stunning vocals, rich harmonies, blazing fiddle playing and driving piano in a mixture of self-penned and traditional Orkney tunes. This is going to be really special.
THIS may just be the most exciting new band ever to play our main stage. Remember where you saw them first. The very best young traditional musicians on the brink of working professionally in folk music have come together to create Wales’ first National Youth Folk Ensemble, called Avanc. Under the auspices of the trac organisation’s folk development programme, the ensemble members hone their skills under the artistic direction of Calan’s Patrick Rimes. They come from all over Wales and the ensemble’s line-up features fiddles, harps, whistles, cellos, guitar and pipes. We confidently predict this will be magnificent. This performance is generously sponsored by Ty Cerdd, promoting and celebrating the music of Wales. For lots more information on Ty Cerdd’s brilliant work, please click the link on our ‘SPONSORS’ page.
PUT on your dancing shoes! Rusty Shackle are UK festival favourites coming home to a roof-raising reception. The six-piece Monmouthshire-based folk-rock band are, individually, Liam Collins, Mathew Barwick, George Barrell, Ryan Williams and brothers Scott and James McKeon. Combining guitars, fiddle, banjo, bass, mandola, trumpet and percussion and percussion, Rusty Shackle are influenced by Celtic music, bluegrass, folk, rock and old time blues. Their first EP, ‘Hounds Of Justice’, reached Number 2 in the iTunes Singer Songwriter charts. Since then, they’ve blazed a trail across Britain with gigs including the Cambridge Folk Festival and alongside Emilie Sande.
MORE folk royalty comes to the festival! This Dartmoor-based husband-and-wife team have twice won the coveted ‘Best Duo’ trophy at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. And with a story that includes over 20 years of music making with the likes of Seth Lakeman, Cara Dillon, The Levellers, Fotheringay, Kate Rusty and Show Of Hands, Kathryn and Sean have cemented their reputation as pillars of modern British folk. With original songs covering subjects as diverse as wicked mermaids, Norwegian legends and a lonely whale, fRoots have rightly called them “songwriters par excellence”.
POSSIBLY the finest new voice to come out of Texas. We’re privileged to have the great Rebecca Loebe perform an all-too rare UK gig. Beautiful guitar work, stunning vocals and songs to sear your soul. When Rebecca released her 2019 album ‘Give Up Your Ghosts’ its single Growing Up hit No.9 on the Billboard charts and was listed by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week. Her album ‘Mystery Prize’ was ranked in the Top 100 Americana Albums of the Year. This is a gig that promises to live long in the memory of those lucky enough to be with us.
BOO is, without doubt, in the front rank of British songwriters. He sings at the festival as a guest of Newport Folk Club who are generously sponsoring his appearance. His songs are part of the lifeblood of folk clubs, covered by professionals and floor singers alike. Principal among these is the towering ‘Patience Of Angels’ (an international hit performed with Eddi Reader), and the haunting Bell, Book And Candle. Boo, described by thE BBC as “one of Britain’s most consistently accomplished songwriters”, also plays with another of our festival guests Brooks Williams in the duo State Of The Union (we’ll put them on consecutively, so you never know…)
AT the crossroads of blues and American roots music you’ll find Brooks Williams, one of the Top 100 acoustic guitarists on the planet and “setting new standards and a fresh direction for the blues,” says Blues In Britain. In an unflagging career that goes from strength to strength, Brooks’ 28th solo recording. ‘Lucky Star’, is on playlists throughout the world. Brooks returns to our festival by public demand after a storming set last year. This time, to ring the changes, he performs as half of a duo with the great Bristol-based fiddle player Aaron Catlow of Sheelanagig. Aaron’s dazzling virtuosity is also well known to concertgoers for his glorious partnership with the guitarist Kit Hawes.
ANOTHER return by public demand. Dewdropper headlined our Saturday afternoon concert last year and were such a hit that we had to have them back. This five-piece Cardiff and Newport-based ensemble rework traditional folk themes coupled with original songs in the genre, drawing on a huge range of musical influences. And fronting the band is the extraordinary force of nature that is Elaine Morgan whose vocal soar over the band’s dazzling instrumentalism. Random information time: Elaine represented France (yes, France) in the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest with Dan Ar Braz and his band Heritage des Celtes who won several gold discs in France.
CHARLIE DORE is the songwriter’s songwriter. Since her 1970s worldwide hit ‘Pilot Of The Airwaves’ she has released nine albums with her songs covered by George Harrison, Tina Turner, Lisa Stansfield, Celine Dion, UB40, Status Quo and a UK No.1, ‘Ain’t No Doubt’ for Jimmy Nail. Charlie’s current album, ‘Dark Matter’, has won both Album of the Year and Best Lyrics awards from the US Indie Acoustic Project. At Tredegar House she’ll be joined by virtuoso cellist, double bassist and keyboard player Gareth Huw Davies . Gareth, who has played with everyone from Chrissie Hind and Simple Minds to Sir Willard White, is the credited solo cellist on Echo And The Bunnymen’s glorious 2018 album The Stars, The Oceans And The Moon.
OK, first the name…lifelong friends Colin Wilson, Dave Eustace and Keith Hunter got together in December 2003 at Dave’s studio in Melbourne Street, Exeter, for no more than a jam session. What emerged was a finely-balanced, melodically creative band and a lovingly crafted album ‘Songs From The Heart’. The gorgeous album ‘Carpe Diem’ followed, showcasing Colin’s lyrical, soaring songs, with Dave and Keith’s pinpoint instrumentation. A third album, ‘A Walk in The Park’ created a trilogy beloved of radio stations worldwide. Expect tunes you’ll be humming long after the concert, a fusion of folk/pop/jazz/rock styles that seem to merge through each song, a generous dose of humour and lyrics that will stay with you forever.
The Rob Lear Band’s all-star instrumentalists include Van Morrison bassist Pete Hurley, African-rhythm expert Liz Mullins, country guitar genius Brett Green and Back Of Beyond’s drummer Tim Robinson. Then, of course, there’s Rob Lear himself, a songwriter and guitarist whose stunning music has seen him tour the UK and Europe, including a residency at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, performances at Wembley Arena and festival gigs alongside the likes of Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands and Martin Simpson. Expect beautifully-crafted songs…some singalong, some to send shivers down your spine, plus some instrumental passages that’ll leave you stunned.
..Or Fil Ziebicki, but folk clubs and concert goers throughout South Wales know and love him far and wide as Fil Z. Once seen and heard, never forgotten. He is The Voice. No, not the TV show but a glorious, rich sound that fills auditoriums (with or without a mic!). Add to that a driving guitar style and a set list that ranges from his unique interpretations of songs by The Civil Wars and Warren Zevon to his own beautifully crafted award-winning anthems and love songs. One of the great pillars of the South and mid-Wales folk scene, Fil - himself a songwriting prize winner - will both perform and compère at the festival. No sense in letting that huge voice go to waste!
Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith are one of the finest duos to have emerged on to the British folk and acoustic scene in recent years. Their unique ability to make old songs seem relevant and new songs sound ancient has brought them widespread critical acclaim. As the Guardian says: “To be a great folk singer, you have to be a great storyteller, as Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith are clearly aware. The duo are both fine singers and multi-instrumentalists.” Their original material sits alongside unearthed gems from the British and Irish folk canons delivered with powerful harmony singing and sensitive musical arrangements. Better still for our festival goers, the duo’s live performances are a celebration not to be missed.
Since their formation in 1996 Allan Yn Y Fan have carved a reputation as one of Wales’ foremost traditional bands, with an impressive catalogue of concert, festival, European tours and recorded work to their credit. The multi-instrumental sextet breathe new life into the traditional songs and music of Wales as well as writing their own tunes inspired by their homeland and travels. Their live performances are a force of nature. No one will forget, for example, their 2016 concert when they had 20,000 people dancing in Bute Park, Cardiff as part of the mammoth Roald Dahl centenary ‘City of the Unexpected’ celebrations.
THE brilliant Broadside are rightly renowned for their harmonies and the variety of instruments they play. Normally a trio, they will be joined at our festival by the fine guitarist and songwriter Phil Millichip. So what type of music can we expect? Although concentrating originally on traditional folk, the band has spread its wings to include material by contemporary songwriters such as Jez Lowe, Harvey Andrews, Steve Tilston, Mark Knopfler and Del Amitri. Add a few acappella pieces, an instrumental or two, plenty of choruses to join in with and a few “really miserable songs with foot-tapping tunes” and you get about half way towards an answer. Of course, there’ll also be material from their two albums First Edition and Follow Your Dreams, available from band members.
The Electric Shed Experience are (as their name suggests) the electric incarnation of brilliant south-west Wales acoustic duo The Eclectic Shed Experience. The Eclectics - Ron Savory and Liz Crippin - wowed audiences at Tredegar House last year, embarked on a triumphant Germany tour, then followed that with a jaw-dropping electric set at one of our festival fundraisers…so we had to bring the band to our marquee stage. The Electrics are Ron and Liz, both on guitar and vocals, plus Alex ‘Andy’ Anderson on bass and Dan Jerous on lead and rhythm guitar. The songs are all written by either Liz or Ron - stunning lyrical jewels with rhythms and arrangements echoing African, Americana, blues, British and Eastern European folk traditions. Catch them up close and personal while you can.
Tredegar House Folk Festival is delighted to welcome Brian Pugsley, one of Wales’s most accomplished singer-guitarists. After a lifetime of sharing stages with the best in the business, his fluent brilliance and rich baritone mark him out as a master of the folk player’s craft. Local fans already appreciate Brian’s talents from his appearances at the Lyceum Club of Newport. This is a chance for a wider audience to catch him at the top of his form.