Musical feast at Lewes Folk Festival for fans

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The fourth annual Lewes Folk Festival from October 8-13 promises to be the biggest and best so far.

This year it extends over six days with a total of 32 events in various locations in the town, all within walking distance of one another.

There is a mixture of free events with those that require admission, with something for every taste and as always at folk festivals there is a large audience participation element.

The varied programme has a range of concerts, singarounds and tune playing sessions, specialist workshops on instrumental playing, dancing and singing, multimedia presentations on a range of topics of interest, a church service and a barn dance.

On the Saturday, October 12, Lewes will be full of 16 morris, clog and display dance sides from all over England. They will be in action between 11am and 4pm.

The festival starts with a bang on Tuesday, bringing together a number of top names at the All Saints Centre – Leon Rosselson, Frankie Armstrong, Robb Johnson, Reem Kelani, Sandra Kerr, Janet Russell and Jim Woodland.

Other concerts that are likely to be hugely popular will be headlined by the great Irish singer Andy Irvine, recently seen on BBC TV’s Transatlantic Sessions (October 11, The Royal Oak), and one of the rising stars of the folk scene, Lucy Ward (October 9, The Con Club).

The festival aims to be both international and local. There will be performers from the USA, Canada, Palestine, Ireland and Scotland as well as a strong representation from Sussex.

Three top female Canadian performers, Awna Teixeira, Brandy Zdan and Cara Luft, combine their talents in a concert at the All Saints Centre on Friday evening.

American Jeff Davis and Englishman Brian Peters will be giving a concert presentation on the English folk songs and dance tunes that crossed the Atlantic and survived strongly in remote communities in a show called Sharp’s Appalachian Heritage. It charts the song collecting work of the great Cecil Sharp.

Nearer home, festival patron Shirley Collins will give an illustrated documentation of the song collecting work completed by the iconic figure of Sussex folk song, Bob Copper, in an evening that also features the singing of Bob’s children and grandchildren as The Copper Family – local traditions at their very best.

Presentations on The Music Hall in Sussex and on the life and music of the great musician who lived not far north of Lewes, Louis ‘Scan’ Tester, also show the festival organisers’ desire to share our musical cultural heritage.

The Saturday night barn dance is always particularly popular and this year it will have the services of one of the country’s top bands, The Watch, plus a display of the sparkling dancing of Crooked Moon.

Other popular performers who will appear include Martyn Wyndham-Read and Iris Bishop, Mick Ryan and Pete Harris, Naomi Bedford and Paul Simmonds and Potiphar’s Apprentices.

This year’s festival is sponsored by the South Downs National Park Authority and fRoots magazine.

For further details and the latest ticket information, please contact Vic Smith on 01273 478124 or visit the website at www.lewesfolkfest.org/LFFindex.php