THIS month will see the return of the ever popular Lyme Folk Weekend, back for its eighth year and with a programme that once again puts the event at the forefront of folk events in the South West.
With a star-studded programme in the Marine Theatre and a whole host of free events all around the town, the 2019 edition looks like the perfect way to round of the summer season in Lyme Regis.
The free outdoor music, dancing and other events all make the festival a great way to spend the weekend in Lyme, and this year there will be even more going on, with an additional outdoor venue at Theatre Square, complementing the main Seafront Stage.
For fans of great music, though, the Marine Theatre is the place to spend the evenings. Opening night at the theatre on Friday, August 30 brings a welcome return to Lyme for Jon Boden for the first time since the inaugural festival in 2013.
Jon has become the standout performer of his generation of traditional folk artists, but one whose repertoire extends far beyond the boundaries of the genre.
He brought the curtain down on the very first Lyme Folk Weekend seven years ago in spectacular style alongside fellow Bellowhead member John Spiers, and returns this summer as a critically acclaimed solo artist. Don’t miss this opportunity to see one of the finest and most influential folk performers of his generation.
Also on the bill for opening night are the wonderful Askew Sisters, who delighted Marine Theatre audiences at the spring fundraiser, Lyme Folk Revisited.
Emily and Hazel Askew rework and reinterpret songs and balladry, creating breathtaking arrangements, which allow words that are hundreds of years old to resonate profoundly with contemporary audiences. Alongside this, both women are also skilled multi-instrumentalists and expert players of dance music, using fiddles, melodeons, concertina and cello in their innate drive to bring old dance music to life.
By popular demand, the festival’s patrons will be bringing their unique ‘Ninebarrow & Friends’ show to Lyme Folk Weekend once again – this time with a whole new bunch of friends. Joining Jon and Jay for the Saturday night show will be award-winning contemporary folk duo Tinderbox, featuring Dublin born singer-songwriter Monique Houraghan and UK guitarist/songwriter Dan Tucker.
With five studio albums and one live album under their belts, Tinderbox have amassed an impressive catalogue of self- penned music, and have opened for high-profile acts including Joan Armatrading, 10cc, John Renbourn, Chris Difford and Hazel O’Connor amongst many others.
Also on stage will be Wiltshire-based singer-songwriter Ben Cipolla, whose naturally languid and confident vocal style combines with his intoxicating guitar technique, as heard on BBC Introducing Sessions and Clare Teal’s Radio 2 show.
Completing a unique line-up for this one-off concert will be Will Finn and Rosie Calvert, a folk- and traditionally- inspired duo from the North East of England. Their debut album, ‘Beneath This Place’, was released in 2018, and their genre-defying live performances are truly unforgettable.
Emotive show to close festival
Closing the festival on Sunday September 1 will be one of the folk scene’s most talked-about musicians. Sam Sweeney is a veteran of the mighty Bellowhead’s domination of British folk for 10 years, artistic director of the National Youth Folk Ensemble, founder member of the acclaimed instrumental trio Leveret, and a superb instrumentalist who was named BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year in 2015.
The recent centenary of the end of the First Word War has thrown the spotlight on to his brilliant new project, ‘The Unfinished Violin’. The show centres on a fiddle Sam came across in a shop in Oxford – made but never assembled by one Richard Howard of Leeds in 1915.
The shop owner had bought it an auction, in pieces, in an old manila envelope, and put it together. Sam set about digging into its history, and uncovered the fateful tale of Richard Howard, a music hall performer who was called up in 1916 and who lost his life in the Battle of Messines on 7th June 1917. It’s the instrument Sam plays in the show and has used for several albums and countless gigs.
Sam, along with a four-piece band, tell the tale of the Unfinished Violin through a wonderfully emotional collection of tunes including, many which echo back to the First World War and the fiddle’s origins.
Lyme Folk Weekend runs from Friday, August 30 to Sunday, September 1. A full programme and tickets for the Marine Theatre shows are available from the Lyme Folk Weekend website at www.lymefolk.com, or from Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre on 01297 442138.