The three day festival at the glorious 300-acre Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall last year witnessed the debut performance of Peter Knight and John Spiers on the Broad Roots stage and was an undisputed highlight of the event.
Few fiddlers can hold a candle to Knight whose presence has enriched the British music scene for more than four decades, as part of Steeleye Span and more recently as one of the Gigspanner trio.
Hugely popular, John Spiers is one of the leading squeezebox players of his generation. With the curtain falling on the mighty multiple award-winning band Bellowhead as well as the duo Spiers & Boden, “Squeezy” is busy pursuing a new route with a solo album in the pipeline.
Now in its sixth year, FolkEast will be packing a punch with an eclectic line up of folk and world music acts including BBC award-winning headliners Jon Boden and Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees Nancy Kerr, Kris Drever and Dorset duo Ninebarrow and of course FolkEast’s irrepressible patrons The Young ‘uns.
New names announced include the mighty Martin Simpson, the ace guitarist and songwriter who skilfully melds British and American roots music and has been nominated an astounding 23 times in the Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Also announced is the top traditional English folk singer Fay Hield. The former Witches of Eastwick band member is known for her Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party line-up and for steering the award winning multi artist project The Full English.
India Electric Co (Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe), more usually found around the world opening for Midge Ure (and appearing as his band) bring their genre defying sound back to FolkEast while Ben Savage and Hannah Sanders, a duo who gained plaudits galore with their debut album Beneath the Sun last year, are also on the bill. Ben will also appear with popular Cambridge-based band The Willows, who make a welcome return.
Bringing their bold and brilliant Basque country folk music to Suffolk will be Korrontzi (above left), while other newly announced names include London-based duo Alma, innovative multi instrumental trio Three Cane Whale, drawing influences from folk and minimalist music and the female folk song foursome Norfolk Broads (above right) who went down a storm last year.
More female folk exponents will be the trio Moirai (Jo Freya, Sarah Matthews and Mel Biggs) with their colourful palette of sounds and song whilst gypsy jazz quartet Swing Museum will provide a tea dance set.
With the Sunday headliner still to be announced, the line-up will also include acclaimed singer guitarist Michael Chapman, esteemed veteran duo Martin Carthy & John Kirkpatrick and an outstanding duo from the younger generation, Will Pound and Eddy Jay, who made waves with their debut album Ignite last year.
Lau, three times winners of Best Group at the Folk Awards, have also been announced. The acclaimed trio comprises Martin Green, Aidan O’Rourke and Kris Drever. Drever’s song If Wishes Were Horses is nominated for Best Original Track at the 2017 Folk Awards.
Nominated in the same category is former Folk Singer of the Year Nancy Kerr, for her song Fragile Water ; Nancy will be heading to FolkEast in the star-studded trio of Simpson, Cutting and Kerr. Melodeon ace Andy Cutting won Musician of the Year at the 2016 Folk Awards – the third time he has won the title.
Keeping the Irish flag flying will be the stand out Damien O’Kane Band. Coleraine-born Damien’s exciting modern spin on traditional Irish folk music saw his latest album Areas of High Traffic nominated for Best Album at the 2016 Folk Awards.
Irish traditional folk band Beoga (Gaelic for ‘lively’) are also Suffolk-bound. The Antrim five piece collaborated with Ed Sheeran on his new album, Divide. They joined Sheeran at studios in Suffolk last year to record two tracks, Galway Girl and another about Wexford, where Ed has strong family roots.
Advance weekend tickets are available price £115 (adult), £100 (full time students, senior citizens) and £70 for youth tickets (for 12-17 year-olds, which must be purchased with an adult ticket).
Family weekend tickets for two adults and two 12-17 year olds are £342.
A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping is £12 per tent with a £24 charge for campervans and caravans.
FolkEast was launched five years ago by husband and wife John and Becky Marshall-Potter.
Rekindling the ancient Eastfolk moots on the Glemham Hall estate where for three days a year the folk from the East would meet kith and kin at harvest time for “a bit of a do”, the festival offers a refreshingly different line-up across six stages (including St Andrew’s Church, the open air Sunset Stage and the hidden woodland Soapbox Stage), Suffolk food fare, two authentic ‘village’ pubs serving festival ales plus possibly the smallest pub in the UK, The Halfway Inn.