Preview: Bristol Folk Festival

27 04 2012

Bristol Folk Festival returns for its second year undercover in the Colston Hall next weekend with a lineup of established musicians and rising stars spread across three stages. Cara Dillon, Afro Celt Sound System and Show of Hands are the headlining acts in a festival that sees some of the biggest names of the genre alongside local and new talent.

There are three days and 40 hours of non-stop music, and like with any festival it is always worth checking out what is happening away from the main stage.

Last year I stumbled across Nizlopi frontman Luke Concannon performing a solo set with no shoes on in the middle of Hall 2, with a big singalong of JCB to finish on a high.

Over on the main stage this year, Saturday’s headliners Show of Hands will be making their first live appearance since their fourth sell-out at the Royal Albert Hall.

Also on the opening day comes award-winning Scottish singer songwriter Karine Polwart and Rodney Branigan, while over at the Academy Newton Faulkner will be performing as part of the festival.

Sunday sees a Celtic theme, with Cara Dillon, flute legend Michael McGoldrick, Donal Lunny and Máirtín O’Connor among others.

On Bank Holiday Monday, Afro Celt Sound System make what is due to be their only summer festival appearance.

The final day’s lineup also includes Lucy Ward, winner of Best Newcomer at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; the winners of the festival’s Isambard Folk Award for emerging talent, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker; and Somerset teenager Kitty Macfarlane.

Bristol Folk Festival takes place at the Colston Hall between May 5-7 2012. For more information and full lineup details, visit



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