Music from around the world at Hebden Bridge Folk Roots Festival

Michele Stodart will play at Hebden Bridge Folk Roots Festival.
Michele Stodart will play at Hebden Bridge Folk Roots Festival.
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Hebden Bridge Folk Roots Festival takes place over the weekend of May 10-12 and is in its fifth year, set against the backdrop of the stunning Calder Valley.

It has evolved into a well attended event in the folk roots world, attracting people from across the country to experience a unique festival, lovingly created by local musicians and folk music enthusiasts.

Merry Hell

Merry Hell

This year’s festival starts with Medieval trance band, Tritor, who specialise in vocal harmonies, hurdy gurdy and didgeridoo, transporting you back in time to the roots of all written music. They are supporting the main band, Merry Hell, an English folk band from Wigan who are also influenced by old folk music traditions – “Our art is energy and our hope is unity. Our pleasure is to please.”

Over at The Old Gate, Rakish Paddy will be performing traditional Irish music and at St James Church there will be a beautiful evening of choral singing, “ There will be 7 choirs coming together, they include; Four Horsemen, Calder Valley Voices, Remingtons, Zarebi and Coritsa, plus The Cube Choir and Melody Belles. This is organised by Dawn France who says: “This is an evening of song, bringing all the choirs together. It is really nice to hear all the choirs in one space, showcasing brilliant talent in the valley. We have a pop up bar from the Fox and Goose and it is going to be a beautiful evening.”

There will be music from all corners of the world – from Americana and blues, traditional folk, Klezmer and jazz to Indian music and dance. Connecting us to different cultures, world music is always an important ingredient in this diverse festival. Annapurna is a trained teacher, storyteller and Bharatanatyam dancer who shares her Indian stories and ancient dance forms across the UK.

“We at Annapurna are very much looking forward to sharing our vibrant Indian folk dances with people at the Hebden Bridge Folk Roots Festival on May 12. Our aim is to make our dances accessible and enjoyable for all and bring people together, ”says Shantha Rao, artistic director.

Kathryn Williams. Picture: Jose Luis Luna

Kathryn Williams. Picture: Jose Luis Luna

Saturday at The Trades Club is the big Americana and Bluegrass day with the 309s, Cajun Aces, Howlin’ Johnny and the Devil’s Rejects performing in the evening and in the afternoon, swing band, Cobalt Tales, Redwood River Band, Phil Dirt and the Heavy Machines and the David Broad Trio.

Over in the Hope Baptist Chapel in the afternoon is Lunchtime Live featuring young, up and coming folk musicians – Henry Parker, Katie Spence, Jack Parker, Calder Folk Youth Group and a real life Druid and musician, James J Turner.

Street entertainers, Old Time Rags, will be wowing the crowds around town with their high energy skiffle, tap, all singing all dancing shows and there will be maypole dancing workshop for the youngsters. St George’s Square will be overrun with folk dancing from far and wide on Saturday and Sunday, including Hornbeam Molly, The Bacup Coconutters, The Hebden Bridge Hill Millies, Royal Preston Morris, Malkin Morris, Theiving Magpies, Buttercross Belles and bellydancers, the 400 Roses.

There will be a Children’s concert with Keith Donnelly on the Saturday, Drum circle with Filo at 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, all at The Town Hall.

Calder Youth Folk

Calder Youth Folk

The Old Gate has an array of talent throughout the festival from local folk band, Ghost School, and The Kimber’s Men (featured on TV- Sunday Brunch) to The Landlubbers and Rakish Paddy, Washboard Resonators, plus many more to entertain you throughout the weekend. (This is a non-ticketed event).

Town Folk’ will be performing in the local bars, pubs and cafés and it is a major part of the festival – walk in any direction and you will discover talented local musicians around every corner. Curator and organiser of Town Folk, Brian Toberman has put together a fantastic line up of local performers in several venues around the town.

Brian says: “Town Folk is a celebration of Hebden Bridge’s vibrant and varied talent of folk, acoustic and roots music scene. There will be performers in the pubs and venues across the town singing their hearts out for the Hebden Folk Roots Community. There are plenty of sessions for visiting musicians at the Fox and Goose and you can book your own gig at Drink?”

Town Folk carries on with a varied programme of events around the town in café-bars and pubs such as Old Gate, The White Swan, The Albert, The Shoulder of Mutton, The White Lion, The Albert, Nelsons, Drink? the Fox and Goose who will be hosting live music and sessions.

Kimber's Men

Kimber's Men

Our special evening performance at Hope Baptist Chapel on Saturday evening support by performer and regular on the folk scene circuit Keith Donnelly, who will be showcasing his music. Joint headliners at the Hope Baptist Chapel will be Michele Stodart (The Magic Numbers) and Kathryn Williams. The Magic Numbers released their fifth album in 2018 to great critical acclaim and in 2012, Michele has released two solo albums, Wide-Eyed crossing, a journey into American southern country blues and more recently, Pieces. She is set to record an album with Kathryn Williams – known for her honest song writing, inspired by the greats, from Nick Drake to Joni Mitchell, Kathryn Williams is a Mercury nominated and critically acclaimed folk artist, her music goes from dusty Americana to playful jazz re-workings and so much more. Come along and immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of the Hope Baptist Chapel.

Sunday afternoon at The Trades Club is dedicated to ‘Freak Roots’, a firm favourite of the Folk Roots Festival with an eclectic mix of music from Fez, Cat’s Cradle, Creedy and the Colour, Doggerland and more special guests.. Town Folk carries on with a varied programme of events around the town in café-bars and pubs such as The White Swan, The Albert, The Shoulder of Mutton, The White Lion, The Albert, Nelsons, Old Gate, Drink and the Fox and Goose, who will be hosting live music and sessions.

Closing the festival at the Trades Club on Sunday evening will be emerging talent, Birds and Beasts, Red Hippo and headlining with Manouche North, a Klezmer, gypsy jazz experience that will have you up and dancing all night.

TFor details and tickets visit http://www.hebdenfolkroots.org. Day, evening and weekend tickets are available.

Hebden Bridge Folk Roots festival logo

Hebden Bridge Folk Roots festival logo