England's Newest Folk Festival Announced

 The picturesque Somerset market town of Frome is to get its first ever folk festival in February 2012.   EarlyBird tickets for England’s newest folk festival go on sale August 24 onwards.


Some of the top names in English folk have already been booked to appear at the winter weekend festival, which is set to take place in the historic town near Bath on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19 2012.

“one of the best Irish female singers of all time.”

Award-winning Irish songstress Cara Dillon, who lives in Frome, has accepted an invitation to be Patron of the inaugural festival.

Honey-voiced Dillon is a spellbinding performer who has been described as “one of the best Irish female singers of all time.” Her latest album "Hill of Thieves" won the Best Album title at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards while Cara was named Best Female Singer in the 2011 Spiral Awards.

Situated at the eastern end of the Mendip Hills, Frome boasts steep cobbled streets, old weavers’ cottages and historic Georgian buildings as well as the popular entertainment venue The Cheese and Grain which will be the focus of England’s newest folk festival. The venue takes its name from its previous existence as a 19th century market hall.

The festival is the brainchild of West Country music promoter Jan Ayers, who successfully brought a folk festival back to Bristol after 32 years this spring and who will be promoting shows by top UK folk and acoustic stars Bellowhead and Seth Lakeman in Frome before Christmas.

"boutique and rural - but no stinting on the calibre"

Says Jan: “I can’t think of a more perfect place for a 'banish your winter blues' festival. Frome has a great tradition for live acoustic music. Not only is it perfectly situated in the heart of Somerset close to the cities of Bath, Wells and Salisbury but it also has a number of characterful pubs and other venues we will use alongside The Cheese and Grain, including Westway Cinema and the Rook Lane Chapel".

“It will be in complete contrast to Bristol Folk Festival - boutique and rural, as opposed to big and urban - but there will be no stinting on the calibre of performers. We will be bringing some of our best English folk stars to Somerset over the weekend. There will also be a lively Morris dance programme as well as workshops, singarounds, market stalls and lots of warming winter soup. Frome will be fizzing in February!”

"mesmerising voice ... intricate fiddle skills."

Saturday and Sunday headliners are still to be announced but among an already strong line up is one of the finest female acts on the current roots scene. Popular young fiddle-singer Bella Hardy hails from Derbyshire’s Peak District and is a three times BBC Folk Award nominee with a mesmerising voice, captivating stage presence and intricate fiddle skills. Her most recent album “Songs Lost and Stolen” has won widespread critical acclaim.

Inspired young North Devon singer songwriter Jenna, who was “discovered” by Show of Hands and has appeared many times with them, will also join the bill. Critics have compare her to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Sandy Denny and her debut album, released whilst still a teenager, earned her a 4* review in the Financial Times.

Key members of the Lakeman dynasty, Dartmoor-based Sean Lakeman and Kathryn Roberts will be a main attraction on the second day combining Sean’s expert guitar playing with Kathryn’s exquisite vocals. Sean and Kathryn appeared together in the folk-rock band Equation and have recently returned to the touring scene to great acclaim.

"astonishingly mature voice"

Young singer songwriter phenomenon Luke Jackson - just 17 years old - will head to Frome to show just why there is such a buzz around him and his astonishingly mature voice. Kent-based Luke has a startlingly mature voice and has already supported the likes of Steve Knightley, Martyn Joseph, Little Johnny England, Paul Brady and Megson. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1pbtQ-NnvQ&feature=related

"Wickedly inventive"

Wickedly inventive Belshazzar’s Feast can be counted on to dish up a spellbinding set. Paul Hutchinson (accordion) and Paul Sartin (oboe, violin and vocals) were nominated for Best Duo at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and are described by BBC Radio 2’s Mike Harding as “playing like no -one else you’ve ever heard.”

Flying the flag for local talent will be Somerset favourites Dyer Cummings. The funky young Ceilidh band features four top performers; Jon Dyer on bass Guitar and flute, Penny Dyer on bassoon, Hannah Cumming (fiddle) and Alex Cumming, the band’s Caller, on piano accordion and bouzouki .

Also announced for Frome are hot new duo Tim Edey & Brendan Power.
Two of the most respected and active artists on the acoustic and Celtic scene, UK-based Kiwi harmonica maestro Power and brilliant Anglo-Irish multi instrumentalist Edey opted to join forces following an impromptu festival jam session. The inspired improvisation was such a success they decided to bottle the potion on the debut recording "Wriggle and Writhe" (out Sept 19).

"fizzing with alchemy"

A potent partnership fizzing with alchemy, they are delivering storming sets at festivals across Europe and over the Atlantic, their freewheeling feelgood sound captivating audiences from Estonia to Cape Breton.

Frome Folk Festival will run from 9am-11pm both days.

Early Bird weekend tickets, price £58 (£48 concessions) go on sale on August 24, from the Cheese and Grain box office on (01373) 455420, or online at www.cheeseandgrain.co.uk or via www.seetickets.com and www.Gigantic.com.

A family weekend ticket for two adults and 2 children (aged under 15) is £190.  No booking fees apply.

For those wishing to camp, there will be provision locally for tents and camper vans. There are also numerous campsites, hotels and B & B’s in the area.

More information on www.fromefolkfestival.co.uk