Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a few more names for you...

Dervish + Special Guests (can't say who yet, but it looks exciting!)

Heidi Talbot & Boo Hewerdine with Drever, McCusker and Woomble


Full line announcement due in a couple of days.......

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

more of the line-up....

The festival starts on Friday night with Adrian Edmondson & the Bad Shepherds opening on the main stage.

and later in the weekend we welcome back

Kristina Olsen & Peter Grayling

Genticorum played the very first Shrewsbury FF at the Quarry, and Kristina & Peter played at the festival when it was held in Bridgnorth - it's great to have them both back.

Emily Smith - Caledonia. SFF 2009

There are lots of hits on the blog at the moment with people looking for line-up information - we WILL announce a few more names this week, but in the meantime here's a fantastic video of Emily Smith from August.

Emily Smith Band - Caledonia.
Main Stage, Saturday 29th August

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Richard Shindell & Lucy Kaplansky

We're also bringing Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky over to the 2010 festival.

They will both play individual sets over the weekend, but will play a special one-off duo show for us on Saturday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

....and we're off!

We're going to officially announce the full line-up in January, but we're ready to go with ticket sales right now.

2010 Tickets

But we can't expect you to buy tickets without a little flavour of who will be performing in 2010.

So, as promised here are three names plucked from the 2010 line-up

Billy Bragg
Cara Dillon
Michael McGoldrick Big Band

We'll put a few more names from the line-up on the blog ahead of the announcement of the line-up so far in early January.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Almost there......

We're just putting the finishing touches to the line-up for 2010, and all the slots for the 2 main marquees all just about all booked and ready to go.

As you'd expect there are big names, some old favourites, but also some fantastic new names to the festival including two acts on the main stage who've never even played in the UK before!

We looked at all the suggestions from you on the blog and facebook and it certainly had an impact on some of artists we booked...thanks!

Tickets will be on sale in early Jan, and we'll announce the full line-up then...but for those who follow the blog, twitter and Facebook we'll let a few names out of the bag just before Christmas and in the run up to the New Year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mark Erelli - Crying

At the Chris Wood show in Shrewsbury last Friday, 3 people asked me for this video to be uploaded.....

Mark Erelli - Crying.
Main Stage Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Friday 28th August 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spooky Mens Chorale - Dancing Queen

The Spookies from the main stage on Sunday.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Karine Polwart - Follow the Heron

Follow the Heron from Karine's Monday afternoon set

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Seth Lakeman - Solomon Browne

Solomon Browne from Seth's fantastic set at the festival on Saturday 29th August.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chris Wood - One in a Million

Requested by Phil on our first video post, Chris Wood's 'One in a Million' - a fantastic song from my favourite set of the whole festival....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Show of Hands & the Spooky Mens Chorale 'Don't You Want Me'

Here's the second video in the set - this time Show of Hands fantastic reading of the Human League's 'Don't You Want Me'.

If there's anything you'd like to see from the mainstage this year. then please up is Chris Wood (as requested by the first person to comment).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2009 Festival Videos

As a result of running big screens in the main tent, we also end up with DVDs of every main stage performance that takes place over the course of the festival (in fact, artists take one away with them - the guys who run the setup have these ready 10 minutes after the performance!)

The footage is superb and the sound is taken straight from the mixing desk, so the quality of these DVDs is excellent, and while we can't let full concerts go, we can let the odd song go out....

So, between now and January, we'll add clips from the festival to youtube and will post a link here - is there any particular song from the mainstage you'd like to see?

If you leave a comment here then I'll pick a few at random and upload them.....

Here's one of my favourites to get you started, Mark Erelli - Troubadour Blues from his mainstage performance on Friday 28 August.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Artists for 2010?

We're beginning to think about artists for 2010, and are putting our long list together of artists to be considered.

Who would you like to see at the festival 2010?

We'll read all the answers we receive, so this is a chance to help shape next years' festival!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Folkelarm, Oslo

Over the course of the year the organisers end up at folk music conferences, from Folk Alliance in the US, right through to Celtic Connections and the AFO in the UK.

I'm currently in Olso for Folkelarm 2009, a Norwegian folk expo, there's LOTS of music and delegates from as far away as Japan, Mexico, Canada and more.

It's a great conference and an essential part of networking for us to share best practice and form bonds with festivals around the globe.

Have seen some fantastic music so far, highlights include Valkyrien Allstars, Gjermund Larsen Trio, and an excellent Oslo five-piece Majorstuen.

There's a Showcase Scotland event today where Ross Ainslie & Jarleth Henderson will perform a showcase for the festivals of the world..those who saw them at Shrewsbury last month should expect to see them booked all over the globe next year!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Concerts in Shrewsbury 2009/2010

The festival team organise and host concerts in Shrewsbury throughout the year, with many of our festival artists in smaller venues around town, our current line up is

Friday 2nd October 2009
Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
support from Kerfuffle
£15 01743 281281

Fri 6th November 2009
Shrewsbury School
£12 01746 768813

Fri 20th November 2009
Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
support from Mawkin:Causley and Lauren McCormick
£16 01743 281281

Sun 31st January 2010
The Hive, Belmont, Shrewsbury
£10 01743 234970

Sun 21st March 2010
The Hive, Belmont, Shrewsbury
£10 01743 234970
(there is a songwriting workshop with Krista in the afternoon – tickets for this are free but MUST be booked in advance 01743 231522)

We hope see you at these events, please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or queries.

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's over!!

The Proclaimers are close to finishing their set, and we'll soon be thinking about 2010.

But before we do that, we hope you had a fantastic festival and we'd like your comments and thoughts on the last four days.

Highlights for me were Chris Wood, Lau, Darwin Song Project, the packed out tent for the beginner's session, and the new Sabrina Marquee.

Let us have your thoughts, good or bad, and we'll respond to them and consider them for next year......over to you...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Streaming concerts

We're receiving lots of email/comments on the streaming webcast, so it seemed sensible to start a new 'thread'.

Most of the comments are from people who are watching the webcast in high resolution with no problems at all (I've been testing it out on site with my laptop and a '3' mobile broadband modem and it works fine), but if appears there are a small number out there who are struggling in some areas.

If you're having trouble with stuttering streaming, no vision, or badly out of sync audio then please reconnect and try again - we know the feed is working as we're receiving loads of positive comments via email.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

12 hours before gates open!

Currently sat in my tent after an excellent day on site, everything is just about ready - the caterers are on site, lots of stewards arrived today and we're pretty much ready to go!

The satellite link up is working and wi-fi is live on site (leaflets will be given out as you arrive).

Wherever you are travelling in from we hope you have a safe and delay free journey - gates open at 10am, programmed events kick off around 5:30pm, with main stage at around 8pm.

Hope you all have a fantastic festival!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Set-up #3

It's all very busy today, all the marquees are up with stages in place and the sound guys were setting up as I left at around 4pm.

The set up teams are working hard and ticking off all the jobs in short order.

The screens were being installed into marquee 1, these are 12ft screens and are HUGE.

The forecast rain never really materialised today, it was a little squally in the morning, but the ground is still dry and pretty much perfect for camping. The weekend forecast is pretty good, perhaps a little rain on Sunday but all is looking well.

Artists' reception will be set up tomorrow (which is good as all the riders/beer/wine etc are currently in my dining room - will be nice to have some space back!)

All in all, it's looking fantastic - spirits are very high and we will be ready for the off at 10am on Friday.

I'll be heading back down tonight to drop a few things off - will try and remember my camera this time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Set-up #2

Lots of action on site today, the roadways for camping are being laid out, Boxfresh Organics are setting up the fantastic festival shop and generally there's lots of movement as temporary structures seem to multiply each time you visit the site.

A few showers in the morning haven't had any effect on the ground, and by this evening the sun was out and I took a picture of the new Sabrina Marquee being erected.

Over the past 4 years, this marquee has grown from a small tent that seated around 50 and hosted the open-mic, to a venue that seats 300 and has a full programme of concerts, workshops and this year has two special album release shows, both Rachael McShane and The Wilsons are putting on special shows to launch their CDs. (and don't worry the open mic, still takes place!).

Here's a pic of the new Sabrina Marquee nearing completion in the early evening sun....

Darwin Song Project review

The Darwin Song Project receives its second (and possibly final) full airing with all 8 participants on Saturday night at the festival.

The disc is officially released on Monday 31st August, and will be available at the festival...the reviews are beginning to come through, here's one from Netrhythms

"Song projects featuring an assemblage of individually talented singer-songwriters have a bit of a chequered history, some amounting to nothing more than a thinly-veiled personal showcase for the artists that’s at best tenuously connected to the project’s theme.

The Darwin Project, however, is an honourable exception, for it displays a spirit of genuine artistic collaboration between the contributors, a special alchemy that I’m guessing is attributable to the good sense and vision of its director Neil Pearson in bringing together an ideal mix of participants who between them encompass a wide range of songwriting experience and styles: established masters Chris Wood and Jez Lowe; veterans of similar exercises Karine Polwart and Emily Smith; acclaimed American artists Mark Erelli and Krista Detor; and rising younger stars Rachael McShane and Stu Hanna. It’s even more of an achievement when you consider that most of the eight participants hadn’t even met beforehand, and that extraordinarily, they managed to get all the songs written during one week-long songwriting retreat in early March of this year and ready for performance at a public concert less than a fortnight later – an occasion that provides the source recording for this disc, which has been brilliantly mastered by Stu Hanna himself. The Project has already been the subject of features on BBC Radios 2 and 4, and the songs are due to be further aired at this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

This 72-minute CD succeeds in capturing the magic of the occasion, and features 17 of the 19 songs performed at the concert. The eight artists each appear in both lead and supporting roles (there being no purely solo outings), and the instrumental settings actually feel spontaneously conceived, almost semi-improvised and coming together in performance stage rather than being consciously pre-arranged.
The songwriters’ brief was to create new works that have a “resonance and relevance” to Charles Robert Darwin (naturalist and “father of modern evolutionary theory”), who was born in Shrewsbury two hundred years ago (in February 1809). Darwin’s great-great-grandson, Randal Keynes, addressed the writers at the start of the week, furnishing them with unique insights and eloquent anecdotes which clearly much inspired the resultant songs, which surely do Darwin’s memory proud.

The first few songs portray snapshots from Darwin’s life; intriguingly, he sets sail on the Beagle to the tune of one of his great-nephew Vaughan Williams’s folksong settings! On Rachael’s reflective Heavy In My Hand, Darwin ponders his initial decision to decline the offer of the trip, after which on Chris’s masterly Turtle Soup he relishes the exotic adventures to come and portrays them with a keen sense of wonder before darker overtones and realisations creep in. Jez’s tale of Jemmy Button examines the familiar theme of the return of the native, while reactions to Darwin’s theories come from the confused man-in-the-street (Stu’s The Merchant’s Question) and an indignant American (Krista’s Emma Brawley), finally being summarised in Jez’s fond jolly-jape pastiche outlaw-ballad We’ll Hunt Him Down.
The grandeur of the miracle of life itself is conveyed by Mark’s Dylanesque Mother Of Mysteries (with beautiful harmonies by Karine) and the Boyesen-poem-inspired Mother Of My Soul, while other songs intelligently address the central theme and conundrum, the conflict between faith and science, which so preoccupied Emma, Darwin’s cousin (later to become his wife). Emma’s personal feelings and worries regarding the gulf between these two belief-systems, and their effect on Charles, are explored on the powerful trio-song Will You Be Waiting?, while Save A Place (sung by Emily) is a tender personal entreaty by Emma for Charles to remember her while at work. The sheer cruelty of natural selection is brought home to Charles by the death of his daughter Annie at age 10, conveyed extremely poignantly in the pair of songs at the core of the set – Emma’s Lullaby (sung by Krista) and the especially moving We’re All Leaving (sung by Karine) – having been also eerily alluded to in Mark’s earlier Kingdom Come. Then, two songs towards the end of the set muse on the implications of Darwin’s theory: Krista’s soulful-gospel Clock Of The World and the concluding rousing acappella of Chris’s sacred-harp-like hymn You May Stand Mute, an exhortation to us all to lay aside our opposing factions and unite in love and humanity.

Each of the songs is strong enough to stand alone outside the context of the project, although the performances on this disc will always be special. The digipack presentation is exemplary too, with booklet containing full lyrics and background notes. The project can be judged both a resounding artistic success – a massive credit to all concerned – and a fitting celebration of one of Shrewsbury’s most famous sons."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Set-up #1

The main two concert marquees are up and from tomorrow we'll start putting the stages in - we're at least a day ahead of where we were last year and will hit the ground running tomorrow when the majority of the set-up team arrive on site.

Here's a couple of pictures from the site today, the third concert marquee will be up tomorrow - this is a new marquee and will be a little different inside....we'll take a pic as soon as it's ready!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Site Set-Up / Weather

Just a quick update to let you know that we've started the set up of the site today - the main concert marquees will all be on site today, and should all be safely up by tomorrow.

The site set-up team arrive in earnest on Monday, and from then on in I should have some pictures to post.

Have just been checking in on the weather, the set up week looks warm and dry and the ground looks like being in perfect condition for the does look as though it's going to cool off a little by the weekend though, so an evening jumper might be required!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shirt #4

Well, not so much shirts as ladies vests.

Last year we tried ladies vest for the first time and they sold out by Saturday lunchtime! - this year we've opted for a couple of styles.

Our cedar green top is described as a 'strap vest' in the catalogue and thinner straps.

The baby pink top has thicker straps....the pictures decribe it better!

Both are available in S, M & L and sizes are pretty generous.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Programme

The finished printed programme arrived last week and we've shipped copies out to all those who pre-ordered copies when they bought tickets.

Shrewsbury Tourist Information centre (has now moved to Rowleys House from the Music Hall) have copies available NOW!


Regular festival attendees will know that we really push the boat out with the bars, and this year is even better; here's the full list of beers and ciders & perrys that will be available over the's probably not even worth considering working your way through them, although doubtless many will try!

Ma Pardoes
Dark swan
Broughs Pale ale

Enville Ales
Enville Ale
Ginger Beer
Enville White
Old Porter
Nailmaker Mild
Simply Simpkiss

Timothy taylors

Woods Brewery
Craven Ale
Shropshire Lad
Woods Wonderful

Hanby Ales
Cherry Bomb
All Seasons
Scorpio Porter

Wye Valley Brewery
Best Bitter
Butty Bach
Dorothy Goodbodys

Salopian Brewery
Darwins Original
Shropshire Gold
Hop Twister
Lemon dream

Hobsons Brewery
Twisted spire
Town crier
Hobsons mild
Best bitter

3 Tunns brewery
1642 Bitter
Clerics Cure

Hook Norton
Hooky bitter
Old Hooky
Hooky dark

Willoughby Brewing Co.
Tried and trusted
Trusted Gold

Greens gluten free beers
Bottled selections only


Burrow Hill Cider co.
Broadoak Cider co
Riches Cider
Brook Farm
Newtons Court Cider
Gwatkin Cider
The Welsh Cider Co
Westons Cider
West Croft Cider Co.
Barbourne Cider and Perry co.

...and if all that isn't enough, there will also available on draught
John Smiths Smooth
Stowford Press Cider
Kronenbourg 1664
Ciderhouse Special Cider


Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Weather

We all know that constantly checking the weather forecast is a stupid game to play, but we all do it here goes.

For the past few years, Metcheck have been pretty good with forecasts from two weeks's what they're saying for the festival weekend (and importantly for us, the set up week which starts a week today is looking great too)

Friday, August 14, 2009

T-Shirt #3 after being 'advised' in July by the entire female contingent of the festival committee that we needed some slightly larger shirts, we now have an extra shirt for the festival.

It's a fitted ladies v-neck that we only ordered in sizes 16 & 18.

The Heather Rose ladies shirt (pictures a few blogs below) is in S, M & L, which are about sizes 10, 12 & 14.
So this year we have a range of fitted ladies tees across the full size range...and I shall escape the next meeting unscathed!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Shrewsbury Folk Festival Travel Bug

Thought you might like to read an excerpt from a press release that's been sent out today.....

Oswestry Family Win Shrewsbury Folk Festival Tickets Thanks to Transatlantic Treasure Hunt

An Oswestry family will be paying their first visit to Shropshire's biggest music festival this year after winning a geocaching challenge set in America.

Ken and Pat Tomkins won weekend tickets to the sell-out Shrewsbury Folk Festival after successfully retrieving a travel bug from Washington DC as part of the global craze where people search for hidden caches using GPS systems.

The travel bug - which is a item that can be moved from cache to cache - was originally left in Memphis, Tennessee by festival director and keen geocacher Neil Pearson when he attended the North American Folk Alliance Conference in February 2008.

It was then discovered and moved to a hiding place in downtown Washington. Mr and Mrs Tomkins, who have geocached across the UK as well as in Egypt, Goa and Peru, eventually caught up with the travel bug when they visited their daughter in April this year and brought it back to the UK.

They will complete the travel bug's journey of more than 4,200 miles when they go to the festival at the West Mid Showground from August 28 to 31 with their 16-year-old grandson James.

For more geocaching information head to

Wednesday, August 12, 2009



That's it folks. As of around 20 minutes ago we sold our last pair of tickets.

Thanks to all of you who are heading to Shrewsbury in a couple of weeks, we hope you have a great time!

T-Shirt #2

This is the first of the fitted ladies shirt, it's in a dusty rose colour (officially 'Heather Rose').

We have these in S, M & L

All the shirts were taken to our July committee meeting for everyone to look at - people loved the shirts. The other comments from that meeting are echoed in the response to the first shirt blog from a couple of days we went away and ordered a second ladies shirt that arrived here earlier today. Will post pics of the alternative ladies shirt this week.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Workshop Programme

We've now finalised our workshop programme for the festival, workshops start at 10am on Saturday and they run right through to Monday afternoon.

So if you're interest in learning Orkney tunes with The Chair, joining in vocal workshops with the Spooky Men, or even walking away from a FREE recording session with a fully mixed CD then the details are all here

Monday, August 10, 2009

T Shirt Design #1

We have a good number of shirts this year, we'll show you them all here on the blog over the next 10 days or's shirt #1

Mens Charcoal (sizes Small - XXXL)
Washed black colour, front image is centred on chest (17cm width)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

New Darwin Song Project website

The official release of the Darwin Song Project CD (Amazon, Play, iTunes etc) is 31st August, and in anticipation of the release the project website has been redesigned.

The new site is a permanent record of the whole project, and photo galleries, videos and full background information.

The eight artists gather together again at the festival on Saturday night for a complete performance of all the songs from the songhouse.

Details on picking up the Darwin CD ahead of the festival and general release date are available on the website.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


We're really getting down to the final few tickets now...

Full Festival Tickets
Right now there are only 277 adult weekend tickets remaining and that is moving down pretty fast (adult weekend tickets are valid from Fri - Mon). We're certainly going to sell out well ahead of the festival.

If you're intending coming to the festival, please pick up your tickets as soon as you can as - once these 277 have gone, then that's it, no more will be made available.

Day Tickets
We no longer have individual day tickets left for Saturday, Sunday or Monday, but there are still a few available for Friday night (and obviously full weekend tickets are valid for all days)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jez Lowe, Chris Wood & Mark Erelli 'We'll Hunt Him Down'

The fourth and final of the Darwin Song Project videos that we'll be uploading before the festival - 'We'll Hunt Him Down' came towards the end of the Darwin set and received a huge response on the night.

Here are Jez's notes on the song from the CD booklet....
'A fond pastiche of the American "outlaw ballad", inspired by a school-teacher friend in Pennsylvania, who in 2004 was reprimanded by his principal for alluding to Darwin's theories in a history lesson to a class of 14 year-old students'.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


As well as the blog, we've decided to use Twitter.
We set up the account months ago but it's taken us a while to decide to use it!

There are going to be two of us tweeting, maybe more if they fancy it (rather than just me on the blog), and it allows us to post updates that wouldn't normally make it onto here...I think the run up to the festival should be interesting as you'll hopefully get an idea as to some of the smaller jobs that go into making the festival work!

The link you need is

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Emily Smith, Stu Hanna, Jez Lowe & Rachael McShane - The Earl of Darwin's Farewell / Save A Place

Another one of the Darwin Song Project songs, written by Stu Hanna, Jez Lowe and Emily Smith, and performed by Emily Smith, Stu Hanna, Jez Lowe and Rachael McShane.

‘Save A Place’ is a plea by Emma Darwin to her husband, for him to remember her in little moments during his time at work. It contains and was inspired by the tune “The Earl of Darwin’s Farewell”, taken from Henry Atkinson’s 17th century North-East fiddlers tune book.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Boxfresh Organics

We're proud to team up with Boxfresh Organics again this year - we believe we have the best festival shop anywhere with a unique range of fresh food and provisions.

Boxfresh have now decided their range for this year and where they will source their stock from......this is hot off the press and straight from their website

Not long now until Shrewsbury Folk Festival, a huge highlight in the Boxfresh calendar. Building on the success of sponsoring last year’s festival we have upped the package this year and have moved from sponsoring the Village Stage to sponsoring Marquee 2 where there’s a whole load of topline acts performing over the weekend.

We’re naturally bringing back the shop after the rip roaring success and good time we had last year. This year we will double the floorspace (or should that be grassspace in a tent?) to accommodate a broader range of lovely products.

What we’re aiming at is a shop that will supply not only all the festival basics but also some really great local products at sensible prices. So in addition to the camp necessities such as loo roll, newspapers, sweets, tins of beans, toothbrushes etc., we’ll also have our own great range of locally grown organic fruit, veg, speciality cheeses and store cupboard items. In short we’re looking to keep as many festival goers as possible on the festival site without feeling the need to dash off to the supermarket (you do enough of that the rest of the year don’t you?)

We’ll have a big focus this year on a few key local food partners:-

Artisan breads from Gains Park Craft Bakery of Shrewsbury. In addition to traditional white, harvester and wholemeal, we’ll have a stunning range of bespoke craft breads covering ciabatta, focaccia and rye. Baked fresh overnight just for you and brought in fresh and warm each morning. Please form an orderly queue!

Speciality cakes from Baked For You of North Shropshire. A great range of goodies including flapjacks, fruit cakes and tarts. Ideal for taking back to the tent during that afternoon lull.

Dry cured bacon, speciality sausages and hams from Buttercross of Market Drayton. We’ll also have in stock the Buttercross BBQ pork pack for a tenner which is a great price for a whole lot of very high quality free range pork.

Organic milk from Welsh farming co-op Calon Wen (winners of BBC Radio 4’s Food Producer of the Year 2008)

We’re really looking forward to the festival and we’re proud to be associated with one of the nation’s premier live music events. What we bring along in terms of sponsorship and the shop is something really special that is probably not matched anywhere else in the country. Roll on August bank holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mark Erelli & Karine Polwart

With the Darwin Song Project CD now finished, we're working on adding the edited sound to the video we took of the concert....we'll get through all the songs eventually.

'Mother of Mysteries' was written and performed by Mark Erelli & Karine Polwart, and here are Mark's notes from the CD booklet..

"Based on one of the most well-known passages from The Origin Of Species: "There is grandeur in this view of life … from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

Monday, July 13, 2009

FREE webcast!

This year, as well as putting the concerts on large screens in the main marquee, the Shrewsbury Folk Festival’s main stage concerts will be broadcast as a FREE live feed on our website.

We successfully used a multiple camera mix last year that was broadcast live on site to various screens – this year we will have two 10’ x 7’ plasma screens each side of the main stage, as well screens in artists’ reception etc.

For a few years’ Alan Surtees the festival’s director has been looking at ways for festival goers with very young children to still enjoy the evening concerts from their caravan/tent; and by combining the web feed with free onsite WI-FI for all, those who bring laptops etc will at least be able to enjoy some of the concert atmosphere.

The upshot of this is that anyone, anywhere in the world will be able to see the main stage of the Shrewsbury Folk Festival live and with perfect sound on their computers.

We’re pretty sure this is a first for any folk festival, and are obviously excited by the project – we’ll post timings and more details a little closer to the festival over the August bank holiday weekend.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wi-Fi on site

We've toyed with the idea of having wi-fi at the festival for a few years now, but this year have finally taken the plunge and there will be FREE WI-FI access on site for festival goers.

We're still working out the final details, but the transmitter will be at the back of the main marquee and should cover a large proportion of the festival site....

We'll post full details on the blog, facebook and the main website when we have them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SFF Tune workshops 2009

This year Izzy has organised two tune workshops, one aimed at beginners and and one at improvers.

From the Tune Workshops page of the main SFF website link you will find downloadable tunebooks and supporting materials.

The Improvers Session follows the same format as previous years where we will play any set of tunes requested from this year's book.

The all-new Beginners Session has nine well known tunes and accompanying audio files so you can play along and practice the tunes before the workshop.

As always, our aim is not to teach you the tunes on the day but to give you common ground with which to enjoy each session. Enjoy!

Those who've attended these sessions over the last couple of years, will remember how friendly and accessible they are, and how those who've never had the confidence to sit in on a session in the past have sat in, played and loved every minute of the experience.

Have a look at the tunebook, listen to the MP3 samples, practice a little, and then join us over the weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breabach - School's Project Year 2

We’ve just completed year two of our three year Heritage Lottery funded school project where we take musicians into school for a full week to explore the folk traditions of Great Britain.

Year one saw The Demon Barber Roadshow, and this year we looked at Scottish traditions, and had fantastic band Breabach in Radbrook Primary School for a week, with a final concert in the Theatre Severn on Friday 19th June with 30 children from the school.

The band performed a concert exploring the dance, music and song of the Scottish tradition, and throughout the concert they were joined on stage by the 30 children who had been working with the band all week – the children demonstrated Scottish set and step dances, traditional song, and 10 children played traditional tunes on whistles.

It was a fantastic week for the band and the school, but especially so for the 30 children who worked with the band over the week.

There will be a full report and pictures of the full week our website in the coming month.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Richard Shindell - The Hive

The hundred people who packed into our first small show at The Hive in Shrewsbury, were treated to a world-class performance from Richard Shindell.

In the late afternoon he held a songwriting workshop that saw him explain how some of his songs had come about, from how tricky last verses had just fallen into his lap through good fortune; to how his newest song, 'Abi's Gone to the Country', had been written in a couple of hours in Florence only days ago.

The sound for the evening was a perfect as could be imagined and Richard held the audience for 2hr 5mins with a superbly varied and engaging set.

Those fortunate enough to be in the audience will never forget the atmosphere of the room - it genuinely was an evening of real magic.

We're already looking into other shows in the same venue...we'll keep you posted.
Photo courtesy of Alan Surtees

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Darwin Artist Video Interviews

Folk magazine website Spiral Earth have just listed video interviews with each of the Darwin artists (Chris Wood, Karine Polwart, Jez Lowe, Mark Erelli, Emily Smith, Rachael McShane, Krista Detor - not sure where Stu Hanna's video went!)

These videos were recorded on the Monday of the songhouse week, and are excellent interviews that show the thoughts of the artists in the middle of the songwriting process.

Radio Devon are broadcasting a Darwin programme this evening (Thursday 11 June, 7pm - 10pm) where you have the chance to hear some of the songs from the Darwin Song Project.

It's likely there will be between 8 and 10 songs broadcast through the 3 hour programme, with most being played after 9pm.

It will be available to listen live from 7pm here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Darwin Song Project - MP3 samples & pre-orders

The mixing of the CD is now complete (mixed by Stu Hanna), and earlier today
the disc and artwork were signed off and sent for manufacture - we should
have finished copies around June 12th - as soon as the disc arrives in stock
then all pre-orders will be fulfilled.

There are details of the CD, along with MP3 audio samples of every track on
the Darwin Song Project website

We're now taking pre-orders for the disc on the Darwin website (paypal
only), if you'd prefer to pay by credit card or cheque, the disc is also
available from
Fish Records

We also have limited quantities of the fantastic Darwin Song Project brochure -
this is only available direct through the Darwin website.


The artists all gather together again in August 2009 at the Shrewsbury Folk
Festival, where they will perform the entire concert again on Saturday 29th

Individual Saturday tickets have now sold out, but weekend tickets that
allow you entrance to venues for the whole weekend are still available; if
you'd like to see all 8 artists on stage performing the Darwin Song Project
concert then please pick up your tickets sooner rather than later as it's
almost certain the festival will sell out in advance, festival tickets

Monday, May 18, 2009

Darwin Song Project - Clock of the World

We're getting close to sending the Darwin CD off to be manufactured - just the odd tweak to audio here, an edit on the pack design there and we'll be done......we expect to have finished retail copies here by July.

In the meantime, here's a quick peek at one of the songs 'Clock of the World', written by Krista Detor and performed by Krista, Karine Polwart, Rachael McShane and Emily Smith.

The video and audio were recorded at the Darwin Song Project Concert in Shrewsbury on March 19th 2009.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shrewsbury Concerts - Richard Shindell

The festival works with various partners in Shrewsbury to promote folk shows in the town over the year - our first concert was Show of Hands and Megson last week, and we have Seth Lakeman, Breabach, Oysterband and Chris Wood coming up at Theatre Severn throughout 2009.

These are obviously large shows (650 seats), and we've been keen to arrange some smaller, more traditional folk club type shows.

Our first 'folk-club' show is Richard Shindell on Sunday June 14th, at the fantastic Hive Theatre in the centre of Shrewsbury.

There is both a concert in the evening, and a workshop in the afternoon, it will be a fantastic event....

Richard's appearance at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in 2007 was his first trip to the UK in a decade, and the chance to bring him back to Shrewsbury after only two years was certainly too good an opportunity to miss.
One of the finest acoustic singer/songwriters of his generation, American born but Argentinean resident, Shindell is an enigmatic singer/songwriter whose work veers from the bitterly comic to the profoundly spiritual and all points in-between. A stellar guitarist and singer, Richard Shindell is a master-craftsman and this intimate show is a rare opportunity to see him in the UK.

This show is being put together by Shrewsbury Folk Festival and Shropshire Council in conjunction with their 'Seen it, Done it, Got Creative" scheme, and there will be a guitar and songwriting workshop with Richard Shindell on Sunday afternoon.

Workshop tickets are FREE, but must be applied for - please email Neil Pearson for details

Concert tickets are available from the Hive, 01743 234970

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ticket Sales

The take-up of festival tickets during the early bird offer has been phenomenal.

This means that the remaining tickets available for sale is reduced and we feel that the festival will sell-out before the event starts on August Bank Holiday.

We do not wish to create a panic because we are sure weekend tickets will be available for several months yet. However, many of our regulars turn up on the weekend to buy their tickets and we do not want them to be disappointed. So please consider getting your tickets sooner rather than later.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman

When the festival first moved to Shrewsbury in 2006, we booked Kathryn & Sean to play at a function in the Spring where the festival was formally introduced to the great and good of Shrewsbury.

It was always our intention to book them to play at the festival proper, but with Sean committed to Seth's band it was always a real problem.

We kept a Saturday slot open for the duo this year, and we're proud to announce that we've confirmed them for the festival in what will be their first show for a couple of years.

The full bio and details will be added to the main website in the next week or so - and that completes the line-up for this year!

Friday, March 27, 2009

BBC Radio 4 Broadcast

The Darwin Song Project documentary was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Fri 27th March), sadly it's no longer available on the BBC listen again feature (the contract we signed only allowed one week of listen again); it was a fascinating piece of radio with interviews with the artists and excerpts from many of the songs. I'm looking into the possibility of a stream from the main website, but it will take months

The tracks are being mixed for the live CD which will be available later in the year, and the artists get together again at the festival in August.

We have a great set of pictures from Carey Gough, we'll work out an online gallery in the next week or's one to keep you going!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Darwin Pictures

The Darwin Song Project ended on Thursday with a concert in the Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury; the artists played an exceptional concert of 19 new songs to a sold out audience in the theatre and the quality and consitency of the songs was better than even we and the artists expected!

We'll start posting more reports and information about the project in the coming days, but in the meantime photos from the concert are beginning to appear.

Allan Price (BBC Shropshire) has some great pictures from the press afternoon and concert on flickr here

We also had an official photographer (Carey Gough) with the artists, we expect to have her pictures soon, but in the interim here are a couple of shots, one that I took in the house, alongside an official group picture from Carey.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Darwin Song Project

The artists all gathered at the song house on Friday evening where they had the chance to share supper and talk with Randal Keynes (Charles Darwin’s great great grandson) – since then they’ve been working on new songs as individuals or in groups of varying sizes, and these songs will be premiered at the Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on Thursday March 19th.

There was a media afternoon at the song house today, where the press had chance to interview artists and thanks to the fantastic weather we had chance to take our formal photographs for the project and the forthcoming CD release.

While our photographer Carey was carefully positioning the artists for the pictures, I snuck in and took a couple of quick shots too – the picture above is from the lawn in front of the songhouse.

During the day I heard a number of songs in progress that all sounded fantastic – it will be interesting to see how these develop over the next couple of days......

Monday, March 09, 2009

2009 Map

We've finalised the layout for the site for this year, and rather than the traditional plan of the site we've used in the last couple of years we've commissioned a new 'map'.

This map will be printed in the programme, but here's a quick peek at the site for this year, and clicking the image will take you to a larger PDF of the image.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beginners Tunebook and Workshop

For those of you who are just starting to play traditional tunes, you can now have something in common with many other players at the festival - the ability to play nine well known session tunes.

Our Beginners Tunebook can be downloaded from, and you have plenty of time to learn them in preparation for the festival in August!

Our resident tune monkeys are working on some mp3s of the tunes, but for now you can use the 'listen to' link located at the bottom of individual tunes on

When you get to the festival, look out for the Beginners Tunebook workshop and we'll work through the tunes individually, at a steady speed. So there's really no excuse, this is the perfect opportunity to dip your toes into sessions at the festival!

We're working on a few changes for the improvers tunebook for 2009 and will post details soon.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Duhks - Tania's Fiddle Workshop

Tania Elizabeth's fiddle workshop was really well attended at the 2008 festival, and we know that you were all promised a video/workbook of the tune you worked on ('Reel Du Pendu').

Tania took lots of email addresses at the festival, but in the melee of touring and moving house she misplaced them - she's asked me to apologise to you all, but the good news is that the video is here! Good luck!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Online Tickets on sale now!

On-line tickets went on sale earlier today from the festival website, this year online ticket sales are available with no booking fee!

This is obviously the quickest and cheapest way to order tickets, and up until April 1st our tickets are available at the special early bird rate.

We've also just sent out newsletter off to the printers today, some of you will receive these in the post, and in the next week it will be available on the main website.

If you can't wait,

there's a PDF of the colour segments here

the information insert is here

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Shrewsbury 2008

The above link is to youtube, but we have a high quality version on the main festival website here

John Wesley Harding, Shrewsbury 2008

The above link is to youtube, but we have a high quality version on the main festival website here

New Rope String Band, Shrewsbury 2008

The above link is to youtube, but we have a high quality version on the main festival website here

Lunasa, Shrewsbury 2008

The above link is to youtube, but we have a high quality version on the main festival website here

Monday, January 05, 2009

2009 Line-up Announced

We launched our new 2009 website (here), and have announced most of the line-up for the two main marquees.

We still have a couple of acts to confirm for the big concerts, and obviously a host of programming for the smaller venues - we'll announce these in the coming weeks.

In no particular order, the line-up for 2009 includes

The Proclaimers
Seth Lakeman  
Eric Bibb  
The Dhol Foundation
Show of Hands
Hoven Droven
Spooky Men's Chorale  
Patrick Street
Chris Wood
Jez Lowe
Karine Polwart
Chris Smither
Corinne West
Mark Erelli
Rachael McShane
Emily Smith Band
Krista Detor
The Dust Poets
Duncan McFarlane Band
The Wilsons
Fran McGillivray & Mike Burke

Online tickets will be on sale around the middle of January, but they're on sale now for telephone orders on 01746 768813