Spirits were high and the sun shone down on Cambridge Folk Festival as the first notes of three days of music were played on the four fiddles of young Scottish folk act, Fara, opening the Festival on Thursday night.
In the Festival’s first year run by charity, Cambridge Live, thousands of music fans enjoyed performances across four stages from over 100 artists. Ranging from legendary folk royalty Peggy Seeger, now in her eighties, who grew up with Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and John and Alan Lomax visiting her childhood home to Ward Thomas, Seafret and Callaghan, the new generation of young folk artists, starting out on their careers.
With a long-standing reputation for emerging artists, The Den stage has proved once again to be hugely popular, packed for the whole weekend with people enjoying an array of new talent. Stand-out performances there included CC Smugglers’ closing Friday night set which had the tent jumping.
An amazing range of music ranged from bluegrass and americana, blues, traditional Irish, Scottish and Jewish Klezmer to Quebecois, Jamaican ska and even music and dance from Italy’s easternmost district.
Particularly special performances during the 51st Festival included Passenger on Sunday night and Cambridge’s very own Nick Mulvey on Saturday; a blistering set by Wilko Johnson, the legendary Dr Feelgood guitarist, diagnosed back in 2012 with terminal cancer but returned to health after an 11 hour operation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital; a magnetic performance by folk superstar and lifelong political campaigner, Joan Baez and a poignant acoustic set featuring classic tracks by Joan Armatrading. On her last ever tour and her first ever tour without a backing band, she said: ‘I want to capture a unique memory for both myself and the audience.’
The Festival is supported by Cambridge City Council and Executive Councillor, Richard Johnson said: ‘The council has a close and long established relationship with Cambridge Folk Festival, dating back to its very early days. A very significant event for the city, the Festival is known the world over and we are delighted at its success this year under Cambridge Live.’
Chair of Cambridge Live, Sara Garnham said: ‘First and foremost this has been a weekend of the most amazing music, performed by exceptional artists who have travelled from near and far to be here. Enjoyed by thousands young and old, the Festival has been a huge success for Cambridge Live and the city, brilliantly organised and delivered by a devoted team clearly committed to its success.’