Jackelope Pie & Green Jack!

 This month Foz previews one of his favourite festivals – FolkEast. The annual celebration of folk music and traditions goes from strength to strength and has been adopted by BBC Radio Suffolk as their Suffolk festival of the year.

When it comes to folk music we’re particularly well served in East Anglia. There are numerous folk clubs and dozens of concerts virtually all year round while the long running Cambridge and Ely folk festivals continue to attract music fans from far and wide. Festival-wise we now have FolkEast in the mix and what a fantastic addition that has become to East Anglia’s music offer.

This year will be the 5th FolkEast and without taking anything away from previous years I am sure 2016 will be the best yet. Organisers Becky and John Marshall-Potter have got to be the most enthusiastic festival promoters in the UK and have never been afraid to roll their sleeves up to make their dream come true.

The beautiful grounds of Glemhall Hall in Suffolk provide the perfect setting. The 300 acre site beside the A12 has been manna from heaven for Becky and John. Owner Major Philip Hope-Cobbold has made them feel very much at home, not only at around the time of the event but throughout the year when the hall plays host to FolkEast fundraising evenings.

There’s coverage elsewhere in this issue of the launch of this year’s event which saw patrons The Young ‘Uns and Bellowhead’s Jon Spiers join locals lads John Ward and The Broadside Boys to perform on a train from Ipswich to Wickham Market.

This year’s fantastic line-up boasts three wonderful headliners in the shape of Eliza Carthy’s Wayward Band, Blowzabella and the Irish super group Usher’s Island. The latter act unites two generations of Irish musicians. Revered names like Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Paddy Glackin have joined forces with guitarist John Doyle, flautist Michael McGoldrick and singer and bouzouki player Daoiri Farrell.

Over the 3 days – August, 19-21 – numerous BBC Folk Award winners and nominees will grace FolkEast with their presence. Best group for two years running The Young ‘Uns will be back as will False Lights co-founder Sam Carter.

Former Steeleye Span fiddler Peter Knight returns to host a violin masterclass while the wonderful duo O’Hooley and Tidow and the Scottish band Rura will help ensure folk fans get the highest quality of music the UK has to offer.

FolkEast is also stepping up (no pun intended) its dance programme with a plethora of Morris sides and the festivals’ very own dance venue. That side of the event will also feature the festival’s inaugural Tea Dance, so there really will be something for everyone.

In all there are six stages of live music with many local acts once again getting the opportunity to perform. If I went into more detail The Foster Factor would run over onto the next page so to get more information I recommend a visit to www.folkeast.co.uk Once you’ve had a good look I just know you’ll want to invest in a weekend ticket.

There’s a real Suffolk feel to the food as well. David Grimwood and the crew from The Froize at Chillesford  are spearheading the Imagined Suffolk Food Village. I guarantee you’ll be spoilt for choice and won’t be kept waiting for the duration of a set by an act you were really looking forward to seeing!

They say armies march on their stomachs and so do radio presenters. I’ll be hosting my Drivetime show from that area of the festival site while my colleague David Butcher will be busy recording much of the music on offer. If Butch plays his cards right, I might just buy him a Jackelope Pie and a pint of Green Jack!