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Review: Cambridge Folk Festival

[ 4 August 2014 | Print This Post ]
4 August 2014

By Gemma Brosnan

LAUNCHED five years before Glastonbury in 1965, The Cambridge Folk Festival celebrated 50 years of eclectic magic this weekend, proving folk’s future and the festival’s is very much secure.

The annual event held in Cherry Hinton Hall – a beautiful tree lined park in Cambridge city centre – sold out several months in advance and saw more than 100 acts featured over four days.

From the minute the gates opened on Thursday lunchtime, to the closing strains of Sunday’s final acts, the event had a celebratory atmosphere from performers and audience alike with headline sets from Sinead O’ Connor, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Richard Thompson, Rosanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright III, climaxing with an astonishingly vibrant set from Ulster icon, Van Morrison.

In trademark fedora and dark glasses, the temperamental bluesman opened with nerve tingling sax before seamlessly weaving his way through jazz-fuelled crowd favourites including  ‘Moondance’, Baby Please Don’t Go’, ‘Days Like This’, ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’, ‘Someone Like You’ and a spectacularly charged ‘Gloria’ outro to finish.

Among the surprises was a secret guest performance on Sunday afternoon from singer/songwriter, Kate Rusby, who also appeared immediately after Van’s headline set to lead an emotional festival crowd sing-a-long of folk classic, ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’.

Eddi Reader, the Peatbog Faeries and The High Kings kept the Celtic flag flying high, the latter featuring Martin Furey, son of folk legend, Finbar Furey and Finbarr Clancy, son of Bobby Clancy, who had appeared with his brothers at the first Cambridge festival

Former Drive-By Truckers singer, Jason Isbell and Canada’s, Lindi Ortega added rich warmth to sombre Americana and sharp sets from club tent favourites, O’Hooley and Tidow, The Young ‘Uns and Seth Lakeman confirmed there is plenty to look forward to when Cambridge turns 51.

Tickets for the 51st Cambridge Folk Festival will go on sale on 1 December 2014. The Festival will run from 30 July to 2 August 2015.


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