Come and help us celebrate the 23rd Otley Folk Festival. In an
effort to create a tradition, I am using the following
sentence, just as I did last year (because I like "blunderbi"): "As usual our lineup is one
of wonderful splendiferousness, with young guns, old guns,
and veritable blunderbi of the folk scene!".
As it has for all the previous festivals, Otley lies in picturesque
Wharfedale on the A660 six miles from Ilkley and ten from Leeds
- all are on the actual route of this year's Grand Depart of the Tour de France, which you can follow here -
If you are coming by train
Menston Railway Station is about 2.5 miles away.
The town has a good selection of shops, restaurants,
take-aways and supermarkets and pubs. It also hosts a traditional market on Friday and Saturday.
The festival will start on Friday evening with sessions and concerts and run through until Sunday evening.
The campsite is once again at Knotford Nook, and will be open from Friday.
Jim Potter & Alma Wright
The Festival Office is now up and running.
Please use the Office number for all enquiries.
Jez has built an enviable reputation as a songwriter and
performer in the world of acoustic music, and as a recognised
musical ambassador for his native North East England, with
more than a dozen albums and countless live performances
around the world over the last twenty years.
Les Barker writes strange poems and comes originally from Manchester, but he's now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. He's written 77 books, which sell in large numbers at his gigs because people don't quite believe what they've just heard. His poems have spawned a number of folk heroes: Jason and the Arguments, Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower, Captain Indecisive and Spot of the Antarctic, to name but two.
Gilmore and Roberts
Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts met while studying at
Leeds College of Music and began working together in 2006,
releasing their first full-length album two years later.
Since then, the duo have toured with folk rock legends Fairport Convention
and completed several headline tours in their own right,
astonishing audiences up and down the country,
as well as performing at some of Britain's largest acoustic festivals.
Dave Burland is one of the jewels in the crown of
English folk music, a well respected touring performer he has also made many CDs and collaborated with artists
like Kate Rusby, Nic Jones, Richard Thompson, Mike Harding, Tony Rose, Bob Pegg and many more.
Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer
Vicki Swan & Jonny effortlessly blend traditional material with contemporary sounds.
Their performances showcase
new interpretations of old songs alongside original self penned tunes and new contemporary songs that are entirely at home in the tradition.
Out of this combination they have developed a sound that is both familiar and fresh.
Gloria has long been a stalwart of the English folk music scene, for many years in her male persona in which she has created many CDs, both solo and in colaboration with others.
Gloria is an outstanding song writer, singer and guitar and flute player.
A regular visitor to Otley Folk Club and a firm friend of the festival, we look forward to seeing her again this year.
Watchtone are from Newcastle, a fresh and exciting talent
who add interesting complexity to contemporary Scottish tunes .
Audiences are enthused by their compositions and arrangements.
The band comprises Chris Meredith fiddle, Kev Lees fiddle,
Laura Bell Sax and Graeme Armstrong on guitar
"I've been making records and performing my songs for twenty years now, and every second of doing it still thrills me. I live and breathe songs, guitars and harmonies."
Jon Palmer Band
The Jon Palmer Band is a 6-piece folk, roots and rock & roll combo based in and around the musically vibrant West Yorkshire market town of Otley.
The line-up includes guitars, mandolin, whistle, double bass, violin, and drums. Everyone sings! "a cross between The Pogues and Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Session Band – with a bit of Waterboys and Saw Doctors thrown in ”
Gerry Cooper and Phil Snell
Gerry and Phil are soloists who discovered that together they can make an intricate, great big sound.
Featuring Ragtime, Jugband and Country Blues styles on guitars, mandolin, harmonica and fiddle, they present a programme of songs and tunes old and new, accompanied by amiable banter.
Michelle is a former member of Chumbawamba, Waking the Witch and The Accidental Tourists while Nick has been a member of the Hall Brothers band nearly all his life, and has supported Fairport Convention, Hugh Cornwell, Show of Hands, Kate Rusby, Glenn Tilbrook plus many more.
Phil Langran Band
Nottingham songwriter Phil Langran’s songs are a powerful combination of immediacy and slow-burning subtlety.
He formed the Phil Langran Band to record his 2010 album ‘Here’, bringing together four luminaries of the Midlands music scene to create a unique sound firmly rooted in folk,
while interweaving elements of American, Celtic, blues and jazz traditions.
Old friends of the festival, Monkeys Fist are an accomplished and versatile shanty group, with many novel songs in their repertoire as well as old favourites.
They perform mostly a capella, but also with accompaniment on guitar and concertina.
Yan Tan Tether
Coming together from three very different musical directions, Rosie Knighton, Lynne O'Malley and
Tess Leslie met up in Otley in 2013. Individually they play a host of instruments
but as Yan Tan Tether they concentrate on creating beautiful a capella arrangements of English, Celtic
and European folk songs. Their spinetingling harmonies are interspersed with some rollicking good
Grace Notes perform a cappella and accompanied arrangements
of traditional and contemporary songs in three-part harmony.
Their highly praised harmonies and thoughtful repertoire
make them one of the folk scene's best-loved female groups.
Individually they have an even longer history of live performance
and recording sessions with Nic Jones, The Chieftains, Mountain
Ash Band, John Tams, Bert Jansch, New Victory Band &
Muckram Wakes, to name only some.
Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley
Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley have been bringing their unique sound to audiences across Europe and America since the early 1990s, when a chance meeting at a music session created one of folk music's most enduring partnerships.
Known for their soul stirring songs, exhilarating tunes and a love of the craic, Chris (concertina) and Denny (guitar and vocals) ensure that no two concerts are ever the same.
Duncan McFarlane Band
'Essentially solid, energetic English electric folk, full of pumping riffs and loads of energy'
'Robust folk-rock - reels, jigs and stout songs, well-executed and infectiously lively'
'It’s nice to find a folk-rock band that understands both folk AND rock and knows how to draw on one without diluting the other'
Since being awarded BBC Radio
"Yorkshire Songwriter of the Year" in August 2006,
Anna has been described as "fast becoming everyone's
favourite songwriter, and a welcome and immensely popular
addition to the bill of any festival or folk event. She's
genuinely (and modestly) multi-talented, and enviably prolific"
The Dovetail Trio
Presenting England's traditional songs with a bold and fresh approach, The Dovetail Trio explores familiar narratives and modern themes with infectious energy and a passion for musical heritage.
Judy’s love of song, paired with her ability to sing a repertoire unfettered by strict genre limitations, means she brings a rich variety of story telling through her music; a fine writer, Judy also includes her own compositions in her performances. Known for her peerless renditions of tender ballads it has been said she can ‘turn any song into a classic’.
The Philip Cockerham Trio
Philip Cockerham is a multi-instrumentalist and talented song writer. He is well known as a solo performer but here he will be appearing with ace double bass player, Dave Bowie Jr and percussionist Dickie Dixon, as a trio. An outstanding local act.
The Hall Brothers
Yorkshire-born brothers Nick and Duncan Hall have played music together for as long as they can remember. They first performed as The Hall Brothers in 1991. In 1994 they wrere joined by long-term fiddle-player, multi-instrumentalist and producer John Carey. Since then they have played concerts and festivals throughout the UK and in Ireland and Holland.
INPO (In No Particular Order - but in the picture Alan Rose, John Clough and Mike Hockenhull) are a trio of wonderfully talented a cappella harmony singers who will delight you with
their renderings of traditional, old timey and eccentric songs. Plenty of chorus songs and much intelligent amusement to be had.
Gerry McNeice Band
Gerry is a well known local singer-songwriter, who performs both solo, and with his band, which varies in size
from a trio to the full "orchestra". Band members are multi-talented and most are artists in their own right, with many
familiar young names in the folk world. When not performing Gerry will be engineering the sound in a variety of festival venues.
NE3 Folk are a Newcastle-based trio, originally from Shetland and the Scottish Highlands. Intricate rhythms and dissonance intertwine in subtle and detailed arrangements sensitively delivering a wide array of traditional and original tunes. A band on a mission, they are dragging traditional music kicking, tapping and soaring into the modern era.
Blackwater is an accomplished and justly well-respected duo (Ruth Wells and Tony Dargan); their trademark sound is a gentle,
enchanting and highly polished blend of two acoustic guitars and two voices.
Backyard Buskers, are a trio united by a mutual love of Americana, folk, things with strings, whisky, tea and fudge. An eclectic set ranges from old-time, English and American folk, country, blues, rock and roll and pop, and they are renowned for their three-part harmony singing.
Summercross are a new lower Wharfedale based band consisting of Annie Raynor on flute, whistle and vocals, Jim Caswell on guitar and vocals, Mary Marifach on fiddle and local singer-songwriter Greg Mulholland on vocals and guitar, now also joined by Mark Daniel Rogers on mandolin and banjo. With strong songs, powerful harmonies, haunting tunes and sing-along choruses, Summercross are an exciting new addition to the Otley folk scene. Playing all original music, many of the songs are about local history, others reflections of life and emotions.