Monday 6 August 2018
Photos: Ollie Millington
Following a stunning weekend in glorious sunshine, Cambridge Folk Festival has drawn to a close after four days of incredible music at Cherry Hinton Hall. Crowds flocked to the picturesque site for the 54th Festival, to witness masterclass performances from legendary artists and upcoming talent alike.
With the sun shining throughout the weekend, the bustling atmosphere across the site continued to live up to our friendly, welcoming atmosphere, as fans of all ages gathered together to enjoy the very best in Folk, Blues, Country, Americana, Roots and beyond.
Bluegrass-fuelled Americana band Whiskey Shivers opened the festivities on Thursday with their unique style of folk-country rock and the evening was brought to a stomping close by local rockers Swamptruck.
Friday’s line-up straddled the folk world and its global reach, with the likes of Yorkshire lass Eliza Carthy, Kiwi Marlon Williams (who was joined on stage for a song by First Aid Kit who had been watching his set from the pit), Mali’s Songhoy Blues, Aussie siblings The Pierce Brothers, American icons Peggy Seeger and Roseanne Cash and Swedish sisters First Aid Kit performing. Rounding the night off with a funky set were Alabama boys St. Paul & The Broken Bones.
Grammy Award winner and 2018 curator Rhiannon Giddens performed multiple sets over the weekend. This included a surprise acoustic showcase on the second stage, before blowing the crowd away on Saturday night with her full band warming the tent up for headliner Patti Smith, playing tracks from across her illustrious career. Earlier in the day, the beautiful vocal harmonies of fan favourites Darlingside saw them play a mesmerising set for their triumphant return to Cambridge. Blues singer-songwriter Eric Bibb, Irish Mythen, The East Pointers and Elephant Sessions were also stand outs of the day. After the main arena’s entertainment wound down, hundreds flocked to the silent ceilidh to dance away well into the early hours.
Sunday has been anything but a day of rest for music fans at Cambridge with Irish Mythen kicking off the main stage with an abundance of energy and craic. Kate Rusby & Friends (including Eddi Reader), Kaia Kater and Yola Carter have taken crowds wonderfully throughout the afternoon, with Darlingside delivering a stand out surprise performance in the main bar. Janis Ian, Peatbog Faeries, Damien O’Kane & Ron Block and John Prine are all set to round off what has been a folking great weekend!
Beyond the music, the site welcomed panel discussions on mental health, the women’s panel, strings workshop with members of The Shee, BBC Introducing sessions, juggling, painting and willow-weaving workshops as well as plenty of activities for kids. Of course, the bars and food stalls were popular in the heat with festivalgoers quenching their thirsts with local ales and top-quality local street food.
As with any good festival, secret sets featuring major artists meant the crowd were treated to intimate performances and this weekend didn’t disappoint. From Rhiannon Giddens to Darlingside and Grace Petrie, performers joined impromptu sets and happily mixed in with fans as they walked around the site enjoying the unique atmosphere of Cambridge Folk Festival.
For 2019 news and tickets, please keep your eyes peeled!