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The Start of Festival Season

As early as it might seem, we appear to have entered the festival season and with that in mind Foz previews two big events in Ipswich which will keep him busy throughout the last weekend of the month. He also flags up the annual Ipswich Jazz Club blues night.

I can’t ever recall my hometown of Ipswich hosting a folk festival. Correct me if I’m wrong but this month’s Saints Beer And Folk Festival will be the first time Suffolk’s county town has celebrated the wonderful world of folk in such a big way. The events takes place at St Peter’s by the Waterfront on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 April and features two of the UK’s top folk singers as well as many of Suffolk’s leading acoustic-based acts.

Silbury Hill’s David Stainer has curated the Friday night session which sees Honey And The Bear top a bill that also features guitarist Lou Myhill, the trio EllY Tree and singer/songwriter Holly Johnston. I have put together the Saturday night line-up which stars BBC Folk Awards winner Sam Carter of False Lights fame and the evergreen Charlie Dore together with her trusty guitarist Julian Littman of Steeleye Span. Also on the bill that evening are Silbury Hill and Suffolk’s very own Pogues tribute band Waxie’s Dargle.

GrapevineLive is backing the two-dayer which has all been organised by the party loving Beer & Co, specialists in events where everyone is guaranteed a good time. Also supporting this new festival for Ipswich are West End Music with an Open Mic session and Steve Langdon who brings his Pop Up Record Shop to the occasion.

Outdoors that same weekend is the annual Ipswich May Day Festival. As I have discovered first hand over the past few months a lot of hard work goes into making this annual free family event run some smoothly and successfully. It’s been a great honour for me to involved in the programming of the Roger Mackay stage. I knew Roger well and was delighted when his widow Teresa asked me to join the organising committee.

I have curated much of what’s on the so-called main stage enlisting the talents of The Colourblind Hedgehogs, Back Porch, Metropolis, Phil Jackson’s Rock’n’Roll Band and Reggae Rainbows. There’s lots more live music on Alexandra Park from midday to 6pm on Sunday, April 30 so I really hope you can make it as we mark International Workers’ Day.  

Also on my diary for this month is the annual Ipswich Jazz Club blues night. It’s held every Spring in conjunction with BBC Radio Suffolk and this year stars The Cadillac Kings, those fine purveyors of blues with a swing and a smile on its face. It’ll be their very first visit to Ipswich and takes place on Sunday, April 23.

In previous years we’ve had the likes of Paul Lamb and the King Snakes, Ian Siegal and The Keno Kings rocking the joint and I just know that the excellent Cadillac Kings will give those of us at The California Club another night that will live long in the memory.