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16th Cheltenham Folk Festival: February 10-12

PUBLISHED: 19:03 16 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:54 20 February 2013

16th Cheltenham Folk Festival: February 10-12

16th Cheltenham Folk Festival: February 10-12

Big names from the folk music scene head for Cheltenham

16TH Cheltenham Folk Festival

Big names from the folk music scene head for Cheltenham

With just a few weeks to go, musicians, dancers, instrument makers, real ale breweries and folk fans are all preparing to come to Cheltenham over the weekend of February 10-12 for the 16th annual Cheltenham Folk Festival. Headliners include Dervish, Albion Band and Brass Monkey as well as The Carnival Band and Mick Ryans Paupers Path.

Whilst the main hub of activity still takes place at Cheltenham Town Hall, it is an exciting new chapter for the festival with the addition of a new venue in The Playhouse, a small theatre just five minutes walk from the Town Hall. The music, dance and atmosphere spills out into other venues and the streets across the Cheltenham too.

Festival Manager, Jo Heatley said: This year is going to bring a mix of the old, the new and everything in between. Cheltenham Folk Festival is all about bringing performances from well known acts such as Brass Monkey, Dervish, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, and the Carnival Band onto the same stages as new and exciting acts such as the new Irish dance show Sciorr: Staged, the Radio 2 Folk Award nominated Lady Maisery, Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts and the Scottish wall of sound Breabach. To top this all off our Saturday night headliners, the Albion Band, take 40 years of old tradition and move it into the future with a fresh new line-up bringing together some of the finest musicians from the new generation. It is definitely going to be a weekend full of exciting surprises.

There is an impressive line-up for the main concerts. Opening night of the festival features young folk/rock six piece The QP with the launch of their new album, then Melrose Quartet combine crunchy twin fiddles, majestic melodeon and powerful bouzouki followed by leading Irish music act Dervish. Saturdays big concert features Irish dance show Sciorr: Staged, pillars of modern British folk Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman plus a first chance to see the exciting new Albion Band since Ashley Hutchings handed over the baton to his son Blair Dunlop. The festival finale includes the firery fiddles and trademark harmonies of Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts, Tim Van Eyken fresh from his role as the Songman in the National Theatre production of Warhorse and Brass Monkey with a preview of their forthcoming 30th anniversary tour.

Afternoon showcase concerts feature The Carnival Band who present Carnivalesque and The Paupers Path to Hope a new folk opera from Mick Ryan complete with members of the Thoresby Colliery Band.

Early Evening Specials at The Playhouse are a new feature for this year. On Saturday Sharps Appalachian Harvest is presented by Brian Peters and Jeff Davis exploring some precious songs collected by Cecil Sharp. Sunday sees Cheltenham Folk Clubs favourite duos Martin and Shan Graebe with their repertoire of Southern England songs as well as Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett.

The festival has a strong dance element and premiering at the festival will be the 15 strong Irish dance show Sciorr: Staged. There is nothing quite like Sciorr: Staged on the festival scene currently. The musicans present their skills alongside the dancers interacting to create a completely original show. Celidh lovers will be able to dance the night away on Saturday to the music of Polkaworks at the Princess Hall.

Visitors and shoppers alike can enjoy the free colourful, energetic and entertaining displays of the 20 Morris sides and dance teams from all over the country as the festival takes to the streets. The action takes place in the High Street, Cambray Place and Regent Street. There are a record number of dance teams performing a range of styles, the Ouse Washes Molly Dancers and Black Annis in their striking silver and gold kit will be particularly memorable sights.

The festival caf at the Town Hall has a real buzz with hearty winter food and snacks on the menu served by Fosters Event Catering. Real ale fans can try local brews at the Cheltenham Real Ale Bar with more real ale than you can shake a stick at! There are instrument makers, jewellery, clothes, a CD stall and many more individual crafts to check out at the Market Place in the Town Hall too.

The festival is organised by Cheltenham Borough Council. Sponsors and partners include The Big Sleep Hotel, Fosters Event Catering, Severnprint, Artworks, Goffs Brewery, Exposure Music Awards and the Association of Festival Organisers. Additional funding was also obtained this year through the Promoting Cheltenham Fund.

For weekend tickets and tickets to individual events call into the Box Office at Cheltenham Town Hall, telephone 0844 5762210 or book online at

Weekend tickets are only 75.


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