Live folk music around town during festival

The third Hastings Folk Fest 2016 is only a few weeks away, starting the day after Hastings' Jack In The Green, and running from Tuesday May 3 to Sunday May 8.

As in previous years, most events are free and take place in the pubs and cafés around the Old Town of Hastings.

The programme includes two major concerts in St Mary In The Castle.

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On Saturday May 7 Show Of Hands will play a live gig to an appreciative audeince. Steve Knightley and Phil Beer are widely acknowledged as the finest acoustic roots duo in England, and Show Of Hands (see page 68) has been described by Peter Gabriel as “one of the great English bands.”

In the same venue on Sunday night (May 8 ) will be an augmented line-up of Peter Knight’s Gigspanner who will be joined by very special guests Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin. This will be the first opportunity to see the “big band” in Hastings, led by the legendary fiddle player Peter Knight who played with Steeleye Span until 2013. Since then he has focussed on Gigspanner which is a band of exceptional folk talent; as expected, British traditional music forms the bedrock of the trio’s repertoire, but the approach is what sets it apart - leaving enough room with the arrangements to spread and stretch the music in the moment.

In Peter’s own words “there is nothing more exciting than finding yourself lost in a new layer of inspiring and spontaneous music,” but taking it even further, subliminal, multicultural influences are fed into the mix, flirting audaciously with French, Cajun, Cuban and even Eastern European traditions.

On Saturday afternoon (May 7), St Clements Church is playing host to a concert with The United Folk Orchestra, combining two long established English folk orchestras, Yardarm and Sussex, and creating the unique experience of more than 40 musicians coming together to play music from around the world. Instruments played include guitars, mandolins, bouzouki, fiddles, accordions, melodeons, concertinas, recorders, flutes, whistles, bodhrans and cellos.

The Electric Palace Cinema is participating again this year with a showing of the film The Ambiguity of David Thomas Broughton, a musical documentary following the creative process of one of the UK’s most enigmatic musicians and performers.

As in past years, a number of Hastings Old Town pubs which regularly put on music have booked the folk and acoustic acts that they like to hear. These free events will cover many aspects of the “folk” genre. Printed programmes are now available in the venues or can be viewed on-line at the festival web site.

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