Next weekend will see State venture to the UK for the Cambridge Folk Festival, now in its forty-seventh year. Despite the title, the four day event has a history of mixing traditional with contemporary artists – with the likes of Joe Strummer, Chumbawamba, Mumford & Sons, Frank Turner, Idlewild and Laura Marling all having appeared in recent years alongside the giants of the folk world.
The 2012 line-up once again offers an intriguing mix of new and old, with many established names heading to Cherry Hinton Hall. Of the former, Sunday will see the return of Nic Jones, back performing (albeit sporadically) after a car crash forced his retirement for 28 years. Jones’ 1980 album Penguin Eggs has proved a huge influence on subsequent generations of folk musicians, so we expect a good few to be in attendance.
June Tabor & Oysterband are two veteran artists who have found inspiration in a union that first appeared in 1990 with the Freedom & Rain album and was revisited on last year’s Ragged Kingdom. Both records take Tabor’s rich, evocative voice and place them in a band context. It’s all serious stuff and certainly not as much fun as The Proclaimers, although don’t be surprised to find us looking slightly enotional they launch into ‘Sunshine On Leith’.
Thursday night offers Billy Bragg and his Woody Guthrie centenary celebration (soon to come to Dublin), there’s more Americana to be found later in the weekend from Nanci Griffith and John Prine. The festival has developed a strong world music flavour, with Angélique Kidjo one of Sunday’s main attractions.
Of the more contemporary names, there’s plenty on the bill to appeal to the broad minded State reader. The Unthanks have already been here in both their original and Robert Wyatt / Antony & The Johnsons formats, yet Saturday will see them play alongside the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band. Our own James Vincent McMorrow proves that his UK profile is on the rise with a second on the bill slot, part of a collection of crossover artists that also includes Dry The River, The Staves (playing twices), Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Karine Polwart.
Such names are only the tip of the iceberg, however, with the various stages and tents hosting a wide variety of musicians and artists over the four days. Thursday and Saturday day tickets are now sold out but for further details head here.