After the resounding success of last year’s first ever City Roots Festival, the event is set to return once more. Injecting the city with winter cheer and the spirit of Cambridge Folk Festival this February and March, Cambridge’s second city-wide winter folk and roots festival opens for an extended two weeks of exceptional music and events.
Following the first announcement of headline acts including Ward Thomas, Tom Robinson and Sona Jobarteh, now come exciting details of the final names and attractions planned for the city’s newest festival.
The Folk Festival’s legendary talent spotting stage, The Den has put together two gigs each featuring three acts. On the bill at The Boathouse on Friday 23 Feb: Ferris & Sylvester - with clear references in their catchy folk setup to the mid-60s sounds of such musicians as Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, the duo also sit firmly amongst contemporaries like Laura Marling and Ray Lamontagne; August & After - an indie-folk trio weave rich three-part harmonies upon classically-inspired layers of instrumentation. Songwriters Ned and Vedantha were inspired by the likes of Bon Iver and Kings of Convenience and after countless nights honing their vocal harmonies and intricate guitar playing, the trio was formed when they came upon Jordan, a classical violist, on London's South Bank; LOZST - pronounced 'lost', is a soulful Americana duo with a country edge drawn from both sides of the Atlantic. Lauren Scudder (USA) and Tom Ryder (UK) came together to create songs influenced by acapella, soul, folk and pop to tell stories with sharp-witted lyrics and soaring harmonies.
Then, at Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington on Thur 1 March: Ben Smith & Jimmy Brewer - a close harmony singing, guitar playing duo fast gaining a reputation not only as great songwriters but also superb musicians; Ethan Ash – with his ‘soul-infused folk pop (with a dash of country)’ he’s supported many artists including Ed Sheeran on one of his sell-out UK tours; has written with Grammy award winning songwriter Amy Wadge, and has played many high profile festivals and gigs; Sarah Munro - a singer-songwriter and guitarist whose music combines elements of folk, jazz and easy-listening with a strong emphasis on lyrics and storytelling.
Cambridge’s NMG Awards is a music awards initiative, celebrating the achievements and potential of artists based in East Anglia and plays a key role in developing and encouraging young talent on their initial steps towards a career in music. A special gig will take place at The Portland Arms on Thu 1 March, featuring four local bands: Cavetown, Matt Hammond, Luna Falls and Fred’s House, winners of 2017’s Special Achievement Award – The Syd Barrett Pride of Cambridge Award.
Finally, other events to look out for include a mystery ‘Venue to be confirmed Secret Session’; music workshops with Cameroon’s blues and jazz artist Muntu Valdo; a Masterclass at Millers Music with folk heroes CC Smugglers – ‘There’s no better live band out there.’ American UK, Cambridge Folk Festival 2017 – and confirmed to interview the legendary Wilko Johnson at the Union Society is cult music writer John Robb.
Neil Jones from Cambridge Live said: ‘We’re really pleased with this year’s City Roots line-up which sees some of the finest local talent sitting alongside key names from the worlds of folk, roots and acoustic music. We’d encourage everyone to check out the full line-up and to enjoy a taste of the Cambridge Folk Festival in one of the city’s many venues.’