Three of the Folk Radio UK that are heading to Cherry Hinton Hall for Cambridge Folk Festival this year tell us their top must-see acts.
Three of the Folk Radio UK team will soon be heading to Cherry Hinton Hall for this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival (1-4 August 2019). Below, you can read about the top five acts that they are each most looking forward to seeing. Between them, they came up with a great selection of acts – no easy task considering the vast lineup.
Two of my eagerly anticipated appearances at this year’s festival were responsible for my favourite albums in 2018. Lisa O’Neill’s ‘Heard A Long Gone Song’ was a revelation, a record on the Rough Trade imprint River Lea mixing up traditional and original material. Her voice just sounds so lived in; an instrument that was tailor-made to interpret hardcore folk songs. She’s as serious a proposition as I’d imagine Anne Briggs was when making a name for herself in the sixties clubs and whilst Lisa may not possess Anne’s high-ranging purity of tone, her strength of character alone more than makes up for this and to misquote Dylan she “hits all those notes”. This artist is the real deal without a doubt. At ten years and four albums in I’m arriving a little late to the Lisa O’Neill party, still in the world of traditional leaning folk she is my must-see artist of the year and I absolutely cannot wait for this one.
By contrast, it seems to be rather stating the obvious to recommend a legend like Richard Thompson, but nevertheless, that’s exactly what I’m doing. And I continue to, telling anyone I know attending this year that whatever they do, they must not miss this man. Personally, I have seen him more times than I can recall, but he never lets an audience down. I’m entertaining the thought that it’s high time an appreciation is written for the last twenty years of his career alone, there’s a strong argument they’ve seen Thompson’s strongest writing and greatest performances. There aren’t too many 70-year-old music artists you can legitimately make that claim for.
Nick Mulvey is this year’s guest curator, an inspiring choice given the wide-ranging, multi-genre sounds he weaves into his music. Nick’s is an acoustic pop style that avoids the box-ticking pitfalls that hit-seeking mainstream troubadours fall down. Instead, he has the happy knack of whipping up the feel-good vibes that should find a warm reception amongst a chilled festival crowd. I also find Tunng to be a mouth-watering prospect having last caught them at a folk festival thirteen years ago when their folktronica wizardry was still in its embryonic stage. Theirs has been a musical evolution that continues to fascinate, for me a band who reward returning investigations. And on that subject, it’s vital to try out a bit of the unknown at any festival and open yourself up to exciting discoveries. If I were to choose an act on the curiosity of name alone it has to be The Bar-Steward Sons Of Val Doonican. Of course, that one could go badly wrong, but half the fun is in the finding out! [ . . . ]