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Ones to Watch: FolkEast

This month Foz tries to fathom how on earth he’s going to catch all the acts he’d like to see at this month’s FolkEast.

It might surprise you to hear that my idea of hell is being stuck in the middle of a huge festival crowd. It’s something that I’m just not prepared to do anymore which is why I’d rather re-decorate every single room in my house than spend a weekend at Glastonbury. For those who know of my ‘expertise’ with a paint brush or anything else to do with DIY will realise that means my days of attending big outdoor music events as a paying punter are well and truly over. That said, I still love the ones we have in East Anglia because they are far more chilled affairs and there’s still a very good chance of getting served at the bar within ten minutes.

Suffolk’s FolkEast ticks all the right boxes for me. In fact, it’s so laid back it makes the late, great J J Cale look like a man out of control! The three day festival is held at Glemhall Hall near Woodbridge and if you’ve not yet been to FolkEast you must do so, preferably this year! It runs from 18th to 20th August and, as ever, founders Becky and John Marshall-Potter have assembled a wonderful selection of acts.

Obviously I haven’t got the space to list all those gracing FolkEast but I would like to steer you in one or two directions.

Quite honestly, there’s no way I’m going to get to see everything I’d like to this month but I will do my best to catch as many performers as I can.

At the top of my wish list will be Ed Sheeran favourites Beoga. Incredibly they’ve been around since 2002 when they formed in County Kerry in Northern Ireland. Since then they’ve been making steady progress, particularly in the United States where they were afforded a Grammy nomination in 2010. As their reputation grew, Sheeran invited them to  contribute to his latest album. They co-wrote the track Galway Girl and as well as playing on that also featured on the recording of Nancy Mulligan. Things got even better when they performed the latter track with Sheeran at the Glastonbury Festival.

Another group well worth catching at FolkEast will be the cult folk band from Slovenia Terrafolk. Their appearance is a real coup for the festival as they haven’t played in the UK for a decade. The maverick music ensemble will appear on the Friday night which will round-off a good day for me as earlier I will have presented by BBC Radio Suffolk show on site.

Also highly recommended by yours truly is guitarist Martin Simpson. This legendary singer and guitarist has been a mainstay on the folk scene for more than 40 years and just gets better and better. A couple of weeks after his FolkEast appearance he’ll be releasing a new album called Trails And Tribulations. I’ve been playing one of the stand out tracks, Blues Run The Game, on my Drivetime show and I’m very much looking forward to featuring more of the album in the run up to his latest Suffolk appearance.

I do hope I have whetted your appetite. FolkEast is always a real highlight of Suffolk’s music year. See you there.