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As the summer rolls on and we get perilously close to the end of festival season, Orange Amps seems to be sending me to a varied and diverse lineup of festivals. This week was the Cambridge Folk Festival, which has been on the same site since 1965! Being from this part of the world, it is amazing in my 31 years of existence I have never set foot onto these fabled grounds. So I thought I would dive right in and see what the Folk Festival had to offer.

Nick Mulvey on the Second Stage

So many activities!

Whether it was the diverse lineup or the mixture of workshops and talks, you would find it very difficult to run out of things to do at the Cambridge Folk Festival. When I arrived on site on Friday the second stage was in the middle of a Yoga session and I had just missed the morning T’ai Chi session in the well-being area, I had forgotten my yoga mat anyway. And when you feel like some music the 4 music stages give you everything from bluegrass through to folk and country.

Site to see

The festival is set in Cherry Hinton Hall Park which is 15 mins away from the famous city centre. It was really strange to walk through the suburbs of Cambridge and then for the rows of tents to appear to announce the entrance to the festival. It felt like finding an undiscovered part of the city, with smaller stages dotted around the campsite, attendees have a wide array of choice. The well-being area is surrounded by a lake and duck pond to add to the positive vibes. The music stages are close enough to be within a short walk from each other but not too close to create noise issues.

Jack Broadbent on the second stage

Relaxed and friendly

Most festivals I end up at through work there are people tearing round the site trying to see every band on the bill and drink their weight in beer (just like to say there is nothing wrong with this, drink safely guys!) But it was nice to see people relaxing while the bands were playing and having a dance and generally having a lovely time. People were in early to set up their camping chairs and then spent the rest of the day enjoying the acts. This doesn’t mean to say no one was moving, far from it, the ceilidh dancing was in full flow throughout the festival, don’t worry I didn’t have a dance.

The Bands

Lucinda Williams on the main stage

Having never been to this festival I was overwhelmed by the talent of the performers and how diverse the acts were. One moment you could see blues slide player Jack Broadbent shredding and then the next, Jose Gonzalez multi-layered nylon string guitar playing. There were so many highlights, Graham Nash’s set on Friday, Lucinda Williams show on Saturday and Imarhan’s desert blues on the Sunday. I could name another 10-20 acts, it really was that good!

To purchase tickets for Cambridge Folk Festival, visit their website here: www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk 

FESTIVAL DATES: 1ST – 4TH AUGUST 2019

As if summer wasn’t great enough as it is with longer days and being able to leave your house without a coat and brolly, summer is also peak-time festival season which means swapping office-time for field- and fun-time on a very regular basis. We’ve already had our fair share of fun this season with Desertfest, Download and Black Deer – to name a few, and now it’s time for us to get at it, yet again.

In a couple of weeks, we’ll be dusting off our cowboy boots as we head to Cambridge Folk Festival for a long weekend 1st to the 4th of August. The festival, which was first held in 1965, is one of the longest standing folk festivals in the world, which despite of it’s name, hosts an eclectic variety of artists and performers ranging much wider than just folk.

As we all know, festivals can be a somewhat daunting experience with a bunch of incredible artists playing, and manoeuvring oneself through the lineup deciding who to watch when is a difficult task. That’s why, we’ve decided to share our top four at this year’s festival – these can’t be missed;

Jack Broadbent

Jack Broadbent first became a household name, or sort of, when a video of him busking in Amsterdam went viral on Youtube. Equipped with a hip flask for slide and whiskey infused vocals, Broadbent have been bringing dirty blues to the younger generations for quite some time now, playing festivals such as Montreux Jazz Festival as well as smaller venues such as London’s Jazz Café. Personally I have yet to catch him live, but based on reviews and life footage I feel like it’s safe to say he’s a must-see at this years festivities.

Ben Caplan

I first saw Ben Caplan in January 2016 playing London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, deciding there and then that he would be the musical highlight of 2016 – which he definitely was. He has somehow got this ageless thing to him here he plays and sings with such tenderness and charisma that you at times wonder if he might be from another era – until you realise that he’s actually just some early 30s 21st century guy which is just way better than all of us combined.

Graham Nash

This one is a no brainer, surely you don’t expect us to get into why you should catch Graham Nash at the festival…? Well, if so, how about his astonishing tenor voice and contributions to ‘Crosby, Stills & Nash’ or his ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ induction? If that doesn’t get ya – he’s also got four honorary doctorates, meaning he’s not just a better musician in us, but a better human being all in all – might as well go bask in the ambience.

Lucinda Williams

This list wouldn’t be complete without Lucinda Williams, the country and blues artist who had to wait nearly two decades for commercial success after releasing her debut album. Mixing elements of country with rock, americana and blues, Lucinda’s honest lyrics have helped her maintain an authenticity that is rare to see in this day and age, making her a must see at this year’s festival.