Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cecil Sharp Project Review in Living Tradition

Review from Dec/Jan Living Tradition
(click for pdf version)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Line-up and tickets on sale

We have, as you will see, put together most of the 2012 line up, but there are still several acts in negotiation.....expect some surprises.

The great man (Richard Thompson) is back with many of your requested favourites. Show of Hands are planning something very special, (more of this, in months to come) and Blowzabella have a marathon ceilidh lined up.

The Sweetback Sisters return from New York to give us their slant on Country Music. There are surprises in the form of, Madison Violet and Old Man Luedecke (pronounced “Loo-da-ka)” from Canada, Jonathan Byrd from the US and Anxo Lorenzo from Spain. And brace yourselves for our new Global Dance spectacular on main stage one.

As usual there will be something for everyone, artists you recognise and love, and new bands and singers for you to discover. Once again we will be celebrating the tradition, encouraging the contemporary and partying with all of our high energy bands.

Have a wonderful Christmas; we look forward to seeing you in August. Alan

Ticket details are here

Line-up (as of 1 Dec 2011)



SHOW OF HANDS (with a unique show this year)


























Dance Bands






Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A Songlines album of the Year!

We're proud to have the Cecil Sharp Project CD be chosen as one of top ten albums of the year by Songlines magazine.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Tickets on sale

Tickets for SFF 2012 will go on sale on December 1 - in light of this year's record early sell out, advice is to get yours early! On December 1 we'll also reveal some of the headliners so you can get a taste of what you can look forward to....

Friday, September 30, 2011

Steve Knightley - free live stream of our Hive show

If you weren't one of the lucky 100 people to get a ticket to the Steve Knightley gig at The Hive in Shrewsbury this weekend don't despair - we've decided that you can watch it from the comfort of your own computer.

For the first time - and a follow on from our live festival webcasts - we will be broadcasting Steve's concert live, thanks to the technical wizards at Microvideo. The gig can be followed at from 7.45pm on Saturday and will be available until Thursday, October 6.

Steve's concert is the latest in the monthly series of folk concerts we organise
at The Hive, an intimate venue in heart of Shrewsbury.

Stream is from 7:45pm on Saturday 1st October

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review of Refolkus

We've received this amazing review of Refolkus from a festival attendee and wanted to share it with you all...

Shrewsbury Review from a Teen’s Point of View

The train edging closer to the rural fields of Shropshire, I sat back and casually opened the neatly folded piece of paper on the table in front of me. This humble piece of paper contained the Shrewsbury Folk Festival’s youth programme timetable, so with great anticipation, I opened it. Rather guiltily, I must admit, I expected the stereotypical, quintessentially ‘folky’ pot-pourri of morris dancing, clog dancing, fiddle workshops, and banjos. So I was, indeed, both surprised and excited to unearth that instead I faced a diverse range of street theatre, rapper dance, samba band, vocal workshops, withy sculpting, and learning to how to do henna tattoos! This was indeed true to fact as I discovered 2 hours later to see busy withy-sculptors buzzing around like bees in a hive, and a crowd gathering for street theatre. Although we all love and know these folk-promoting workshops, I’m sure these keen young folkies would have seen all that before. It was refreshing; I’d only very vaguely heard of withy sculpting! Sadly I‘d arrived too late for withy, but not to be disheartened, I sat nervously inside the marquee, awaiting the start of the street theatre workshop. I felt lightly out-of-place for reasons quite hard to place, most seemed younger than me, a few a bit older.

Overall the workshop was great fun, starting with the norm of name games and ‘walking round the space’ games. However, amongst this there was an imaginative twist….. We analysed chance tableaus, freeze frames from our journey around the room, with adept detail. Our individual ideas spanning from wedding to bullying, we then used newspaper to create objects and invent stories, our stimulus the River Severn. Two days later, I caught up with Julie Langford, one of the group leaders, and she explained where their ideas came from: ‘We like to make things about places’ she told me, ‘…we do a lot of things inspired by the way that place makes us feel, when we were driving into Shrewsbury and we passed the river we thought that would be a really evocative thing for young people to think about, for the basis of a story.’ Personally I think the stimulus was definitely an appropriate and inspiring idea, and I think all of us were lost in the majesty of our unique river.

Next up was rapper dance, which we started by standing in a large circle and just learning the simple steps. We then split up into groups of sword-dancing experience and consequentially into smaller groups of five. Across the next 2 days we proceeded to learn several simple steps under the guidance of our instructor Nicol, from occasional side Smut Rapper, including ‘Coach and Horses’, ‘High Level’, ‘Breastplate’, ‘Lock’ and ‘Spin.’ This was a great experience, as we all had to work co-operatively as a team, and trust one another to remember those killer words: ‘Swords up whilst moving!’ The whole episode felt rather reminiscent of my childhood games of Doctor Doctor to be honest, except we actually managed to untangle ourselves with a few days practise! I relished the fact that there was an opportunity to participate in such an inimitable activity that perhaps I couldn’t do in London; whilst I thoroughly enjoyed street theatre, I have done a lot of drama in my time, but only rapper once before in London. It’s fantastic that there’s such a great amount of youth interested in traditional dance, and we were lucky to watch the young dancers from Smut Rapper perform. In fact after our performance on the Monday I talked to one of the professional dancers, Alice Codey, who explained a bit about Smut Rapper, she said, ‘Smut Rapper isn’t actually based anywhere, we’re an occasional side….all our members are in dance teams across the country….we’ve been doing the for the last four years now.’ I think it’s fantastic that these folk-dance enthusiasts from all over Britain come together every so often, and annually come to Shrewsbury to teach keen 12-25 year olds who may have no experience or may even be in a side themselves. This was definitely an instrumental part in the youth folk programme at Shrewsbury.

I couldn’t take part in everything on offer, as I mustn’t forget the highly anticipated music workshops, singing, samba and big band. I sat in on a few samba band sessions, and what first struck me was the effort and concentration that was blatant to see when I saw approximately 40 teenagers in a state of complete focus. A rare sight in a school assembly. Even when the leader dropped her drumsticks, as they skidded across the room, the djembes, congas, bongos, kettle drums, cowbells and sticks carried on a ’beating! The call and response was clearly well-rehearsed as they gave a polished performance even in rehearsals. I asked one participant, Julia, about the samba band: ‘We started off with a few exercises, then learnt to play the drums’ she told me, and explained what she liked about it ‘I liked all the different sounds, I really enjoyed it.’ It’s great to have such a brilliant reception from the percussionists, it is after all organised for their benefit to learn in a fun and relaxed environment.

I didn’t get a chance to sit in on the singers or the big band, but reflecting on the singers’ performance, it was note-perfect, tuneful and interesting to hear, in particular their last song. As they stamped their feet there seemed a powerful message in the song, mantra like perhaps: ‘all the earth is sa-a-cred, in every step you take, all the air is sa-a-cred, in every breath you take.’ I was happy to see the youth programme leader Cait Leach and Open Mike winner Rosie Hood sing along with the kids. It was clear to see the impact on the audience with their audible whispers saying ‘very, very good.’ Big band had miraculously crammed onto the stage, guitars, violins, saxophones, clarinets and more amidst the people. They too gave a high-standard performance, remarkable considering the short amount of time they had to piece together a performance. Not forgetting the act that kick started the show, the samba band. I asked young drummer Louis Marsh to sum it up in 3 words and instantly his quick response was ‘loud’! Certainly true, but the audience seemed to revel in the cacophony, it was rousing and fun. The percussionists were obviously relishing their new-found skills, or perhaps reminding themselves of the fun of drumming.

After the performance, I asked 2 members of the audience; who had no children or friends performing in the show, what their comments were on all three performances: “I thought they were wonderful, lovely to see so much enthusiasm from young people doing a whole range of things……a marvellous combination of talent.” It’s fantastic that these young people managed to nearly fill a 2,000 seat tent, let alone get such a positive response, they showed amazing courage performing in front of such a huge audience, and I’m sure this is aided by the tutors’ encouragement.

Of course it’s one thing for the audience to enjoy it, but another to have the pupils honestly full of praise for the course. Eleven year-old Hope Rodenhurst took part in six projects: henna tattooing, rapper dance, singing, street theatre, withy-sculpting and ham-boning. Only the latter was not as good as she hoped, but only because the vast majority of the participants were a lot younger than her, “they were loads of small children, it didn’t really work”, (SFF note, the hamboning was part of the children's festival rather than Refolkus which explains why it had younger children, but we'll look at a session for teens next year!) she agreed that perhaps they could have split in half, a younger and older group. Nevertheless, she said her favourites were the henna workshop and singing. “In singing you got to perform it and in henna it was just really fun […] you got free henna tubes….I had it done as well as learning a bit how to do it.” Her suggestions for next year’s courses were tap, ballet and individual dance. It’s clear that the performance was an appealing factor, as Hope mentioned. Her friend Celia Holland also had a suggestion for next year: “I think in some of the things they could have the performances on one day, they could spread it out a bit so the things that don’t need as much practise are on the first day.” But another participant Catherine described her first time sword-dancing as “nerve-wracking but exciting” as she has seen rapper-dance before but never tried it. It’s brilliant that children like Catherine get to experiment with folk-dance and learn about it from professionals, for free!

Overall, the youth programme at Shrewsbury folk festival is diverse and educational, most importantly fun! It’s successfully showcasing the fun in folk and making folk accessible to the next generation. Hopefully all folk festivals can have such inspiring youth programmes, and organisations like English Folk Dance and Song Society and Shooting Roots are making sure that teenagers learn about the cultural music and dance history of England. Who knows, some of these children may become the next Jackie Oates?

By Cherry Elliott-Millar

Age 13

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A big thank you on behalf of Hope House

Hope House has counted the money they collected on Sunday and it was a record £1,578. Its stall made £460 and with the donation of £1 for every adult weekend ticket sold from us, they're on course to beat last year's total of £5,396. Over the past four years we will have raised more than £20,000 for music therapy that helps the children communicate and express themselves. The hospice receives NO other funding for music therapy so every penny you help to raise is important. So thanks for your generosity - it will truly make a difference.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

End of Festival Survey

Well that's it for 2011! Thanks for making it such a great festival!

We hope you all made it back home safely and in good time.

Our end of festival survey is now online here


Please take the time to complete this, we read and consider everything you write and it genuinely shapes how the festival is put together - PLUS we will randomly select one person to win a free ticket for the 2012 festival

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Live webcam feed

If the image says 'offline', please press F5 or Refresh to reset the webcam feed.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Site webcams

This year we have installed 4 cameras on the site and we have live feeds from these online right now

You can watch the site build this week, and we'll keep the feeds live so you can see what's happening on the site during the festival.

Online here

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Online Main Stage Broadcasts

If you are unable to make to the festival this year, then don't forget that we broadcast all our mainstage one concerts, live and free on the festival website

The mainstage one performance schedule is

19:35 Kepa Junkera Band
20:50 Cara Dillon
22:10 Bellowhead

12:45 The Wilsons
13:55 Jim Moray
14:45 John Tams & Barry Coope
16:00 17 Hippies

19:30 Martyn Joseph
20:35 Show of Hands
22:00 17 Hippies

12:30 Clog Fest
13:40 Chris Wood and Andy Cutting
14:50 Spiers and Boden
16:00 Gerry O'Connor

19:30 Chris Wood
20:45 The Sweetback Sisters
22:05 The Imagined Village

13:00 Calan
14:15 Breabach
13:25 Johnny Dickinson
16:30 Oysterband and special guests

Live broadcasts will be on the festival website here

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Festival Beers for 2011

Our list of beers for 2011 is now complete - here you go, there are 47 of them in total.......good luck!

Twisted Spire
Hobsons Mild
Hobsons Best Bitter
Town Crier

Hook Norton
Hooky Bitter
Hooky Dark
Hooky Gold
Old Hooky

Dark Swan

Three Tunns
Clerics Cure
Old Scrooge

Shropshire Gold
Darwins Origin
Hop Twister

Enville Ale
Enville Ginger
Old Porter
Enville White
Nail Maker Mild

Ludlow Best Bitter
Ludlow Gold
Boiling Well

Wye Valley
Wye Valley Best Bitter
Butty Bach
Summer Sting
Dorothy Goodbodies


Shropshire Lass
Shropshire Lad
Athletes Ale

Kirkby Lonsdale

Timothy Taylors
Taylors Best Bitter

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The festival programmes have arrived, so if you ordered a programme when you purchased your festival tickets, then this should be delivered to you by the weekend.

One small change this year, every programme has a small pocket sized insert that has an at-a-glance 4 day schedule for the two main marquees, Sabrina and the dance marquee - hopefully this will make planning a little easier and mean you don't have to keep a programme with you at all times!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Cecil Sharp Project - interviews from the songhouse

Great video piece from inside the Cecil Sharp Project songhouse from Bright Young Folk - interviews with all the artists, a glimpse at how the week was structured and how some of the songs came together.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 Merchandise

All the merch for the 2011 festival has now arrived...

We were waiting on the new bags to arrive from India and had an estimated delivery date of August 22nd (which was cutting things a little fine), but they all arrived yesterday and look great!

This year we have

T-shirts (mens, ladies, kids)

We'll post pictures of everything next week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Exciting news....

At the festival we're going to be announcing another patron to serve alongside our founder patron and all round good bloke John Jones from Oysterband. However, we're going to keep you guessing about who it is until August bank holiday - but let's just say we are really pleased this person has agreed to join the Shrewsbury Folk Festival family!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Don't forget your kids' wellies....

....not because it might rain (we have put in an order for a full weekend of sun) but because this year, there'll be some workshops in South African gumboot dancing as part of the children's programme. Led by Jenny Read and Appakella, it should be the most fun they can have with their wellies on! They'll also be the chance for them to learn hamboning and Appalachian step dancing. For more about the children's festival and this year's theme of myth and magic have a look at the festival website

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cecil Sharp Project on tour, January 2012

The Cecil Sharp Project will be heading out for a short UK tour in January, and will visit

Full details are below on the tour flyer, hope to see you at one of the shows..

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cecil Sharp Project CD & DVD

The Cecil Sharp Project CD and DVD twin packs have been away at manufacture for the last few weeks and we expect to have finished copies delivered here by early July.

We've just started taking pre-orders for shipment in July on the project website

The official release date for regular stores and digital downloads will be Sept 5th.

There is more information and song samples available on the project website, but you can download a FREE song right here!

Download Child's Song / Barbara Allen and read the liner notes below

Sharp was struck by the cross-generational interest in singing in the Appalachians. His diaries frequently mention songs given to him by children and teenagers and their desire to perform for him and Maud on their visits. Barbara Allen was one such, this version collected from Ellie Johnson of Hot Springs, North Carolina. Kathryn Roberts

The shadows hung round the fireplace on the night he came to see us.
I stood in the door and I heard some more of the songs Mama won't teach us.
But I know more than she'll ever guess; I've grown with my ears open.
So I'll wait in the dark and I'll take his hand and sing him Barbara Allen.

I've heard these songs since I was a child and I know how to sing them,
You throw your head back and take a breath and let the song come rising.
These tales of old, they touch my soul, though I don't understand them
So I'll wait in the dark and I'll take his hand and sing him Barbara Allen.

Sweet William's down in his dwell today, he's down in his dwell a-drinking,
He passed the wine to the ladies all, he slighted Barbara Allen.
It wasn't very long before William's taken sick, death was all he dreaded.
He sent his love for Barbara to come, she come, she's come a-running.

And all she said when she got there, young man I think you're dying,
Oh I am sick and I'm very sick and never be no better.
It wasn't very long before Barbara started home; she heard the corpse bells ringing.
She looked East and she looked West and saw the pale corpse coming.

Sweet William died on Saturday night, and Barbara on a Sunday
The old woman died for the love of both, she died on Easter Monday.
On William’s grave a turtle dove, on Barbara's grave a sparrow.
The turtle dove is a sign of love, the sparrow was for sorrow

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chuck Brodsky - Sunday 26th June

We have our final concert of the 10/11 concert series this Sunday, where we welcom Chuck Brodsky back to Shrewsbury after his fantastic festival appearance last year.

Full details on all our Hive Shows are here Shrewsbury Folk Events

We've uploaded some exclusive video from Chuck's festival appearance to our Facebook site, but here's a taste of what we can expect on Sunday - it will be an amzing gig and the whole festival team will be there for this one...we can't wait!

Monday, June 06, 2011

2011 t-shirt design winner

We received a good number of really high quality entries for our 2011 t-shirt competition, thanks to all those who took the time to enter, we really appreciate the efforts you went to. It's certainly something we'll be running in future years....

The winner was Peter Farrell from Cheshire, who will see his design printed on all our shirts this year (and a few bits of other merchandise that we'll announce closer to the festival); he won a family ticket with camping for his efforts. We should have the shirts here later this month so will post pictures of them when they arrive.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Tuneworks day in Shrewsbury

Summer's here and it's time to get your tunes polished up for festival season!

Tuneworks are running a beginners and Improvers day at The Hive in Shrewsbury on Sunday 3rd July from 11am to 5pm. Concentrating on the mainly English and Irish tunes in our tunebook (free to download at we will be starting slowly and over the day building up speed and quality of playing.

At 3pm, there will be a free ceilidh and we will put the tunes to good use by playing for the dancers! Find us on Facebook or email for more information.

The cost of the day is £5 for players and FREE for dancers (3-5pm only) and tickets are available from the The Hive, 5 Belmont, Shrewsbury SY1 1TE. Tel 01743 234970.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yoga at SFF 2011

We're pleased to announce that this year, we're introducing a session to help you kickstart your festival day - yoga!

British Wheel of Yoga teacher Faith Page will host an all-abilities session from 8.30am to 9.30am upstairs in the Pavilion on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

She's promising an invigorating and relaxing class that's suitable for everyone including beginners. Bring a mat if you've got one but don't worry if you haven't.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Facebook Page

The festival's Facebook page was set up a couple of years ago, but the 'group' format is no longer being supported by Facebook and soon the page will be archived.

We've now started a new page on Facebook, and have started uploading some festival pics and videos - in the coming days we'll be uploading more, and this is the place (along with the blog and twitter) to pick up up-to-date festival info.

To join the new group, please click LIKE below!

We can upload lots of official festival pics and videos, but part of the fun of the old page was that we had lots of your pics up there - please feel free to upload your pics again!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


We're pleased to announce that we've now sold out of all our tickets for this years' festival.

Demand has been really high and we really hope you managed to buy the tickets you wanted. See you in August!

Songlines Top 10 UK Summer Festivals

We're proud to be listed in the Songlines 'Guide to Festivals 2011'
clicking the image below will open the page featuring Shrewsbury as a PDF, but for the full feature (and a great monthly read) pick up issue 76 of Songlines

Monday, May 02, 2011

Cecil Sharp Project - Child's Song / Barbara Allen

Child's Song / Barbara Allen
Sharp was struck by the cross-generational interest in singing in the Appalachians. His diaries frequently mention songs given to him by children and teenagers and their desire to perform for him and Maud on their visits.
Barbara Allen was one such, this version collected from Ellie Johnson of Hot Springs, North Carolina.

Caroline Herring, Steve Knightley, Andy Cutting, Kathryn Roberts,
Jackie Oates, Jim Moray, Leonard Podolak, Patsy Reid

Monday, April 04, 2011

Important ticket info

Almost 90% of the 2011 festival tickets are now sold.

This has never happened before at this early date, so if you’re thinking about coming to the festival this year we would recommend you make your decision quickly.

It is difficult to say how quickly the final 10% will go we have never experienced this level of demand before, but once they've gone that's it, we have no extra tickets to release.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Early bird offer ending

Today is the last day for the earlybird offer tickets - from midnight tonight the tickets rise to their full price.

Our ticket sales are way ahead of where we've been before and we WILL CERTAINLY SELL OUT well in advance of the festival, and probably in the next month or so.

Please don't leave it too late as once they've gone, that's it - we don't have any more to release.

Full ticket details here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cecil Sharp Project feature in Shropshire Star

Feature in the Shropshire Star today - click on image for PDF version

Andy Cutting & Patsy Reid

Andy Cutting and Patsy Reid working on the Cecil Sharp Project
photo by Carey Gough