Cromer music festival returns to Convention

Fairport Convention will perform at Folk on the Pier in Cromer. Photo: Ben Nicholson

Fairport Convention will perform at Folk on the Pier in Cromer. Photo: Ben Nicholson - Credit: Archant

Cromer's annual music festival Folk on the Pier returns for another spectacular weekend of the best music the folk-rock world has to offer.

The festival takes place in the pier theatre and venues around the town over the weekend May 6 to 8.

It prides itself on its ability to seamlessly blend the old with the new. This year is no exception as the organiser welcomes back the founding fathers of British folk rock and showcases a wealth of award winning talent.

The festival's inspiration – BBC Lifetime Achievement winners Fairport Convention also won 'The Most Influential Folk Album of All Time' award for their groundbreaking album Liege & Lief. The band have played the festival many times and return in 2016 to headline the final concert of the weekend performing a mix of musical favourites from their back catalogue and songs from their latest album 'Myths and Heroes'.

'We always enjoy Folk on The Pier as much as our own festival,' says singer-guitarist Simon Nicol. 'As well as seeing some of the other great acts that Scott books it gives me a chance to meet up with my fellow Fairport founder Ashley Hutchings. It is fitting that he has become patron of a festival that celebrates the genre that he helped to create.'

Hutchings became Patron of the festival in 2014 and in 2015 was awarded an MBE for his services to folk and traditional music. He will revisit some of the highlights of his musical career when he introduces one of his musical collaborators, multi-instrumentalist Ruth Angell for his 'Patron's spot' on Sunday morning of the festival. Ruth will accompany him on some of the songs and readings that tell his story and elaborate on the history of many of the bands and projects he has been involved in.

A plethora a BBC Folk Award Winners make their first appearances at this year's festival. Fiddle/guitar duo Philip Henry and Hannah Martin won the 2014 best duo award, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar won the BBC Young Folk Award in 2013 and the Horizon Award in 2014 and Nancy Kerr won the award for Folk Singer of the Year in 2015.

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This year there are many other new artists for festival goers to explore. Making their first appearances at the festival this year are the energetic blues, roots driven talents of the Jigantics and Nick Barraclough's Brokedown Palace, the John Ward Trio and Ruth Angell's new group the Froe. Suffolk based duo The Broadside Boys - who have spent many years entertaining audiences at the festival fringe events around the town - finally make it to the mainstage in 2016 to open the final evening concert.

Add highly energetic performances from the Spikedrivers and the Demon Barber XL Roadshow and there is something new for everyone to enjoy.

As well as British folk-rock Celtic music has often been a regular feature of previous festivals. This year both Wales and Brittany are represented with performances from Welsh five piece Calan and Breton trio Fred Guichen, Sylvain Barou & Erwan Moal.

Regular visitors include Richard Digance, singer songwriter Steve Tilston making a very welcome return, Blair Dunlop who will introduce his new band, and formerSteeleye Span member Peter Knight who has appeared in a number of guises in the past. This year he returns once again with his Gigspanner trio displaying a master class of fiddle playing with the equally talented guitar work of Roger Flack and driving rhythms of percussionist Vincent Salzfaas. Also returning in a different set up is Joe Broughton. On his last visit he brought over forty young musicians this time there are just four but the quality of the musicianship is no less diminished by the reduced number.

Weekend tickets traditionally go on sale for the next year as the current year festival comes to a close. 'We were amazed at the enthusiastic response for early bird weekend tickets before we had even announced a line-up,' says festival organiser Scott Butler 'the tickets sold out in record time. Now that we have finalised plans for the 2016 event tickets for all of the individual concerts are on sale and the festival is shaping up to being one of the most successful in its eighteen year history.'

For more information visit www.folkonthepier.co.uk. For tickets call the box office on 01263 512495

FESTIVAL PROGRAMME

Friday 6th May

Afternoon concert - 2.00pm onwards

Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin www.philliphenryandhannahmartin.co.uk/

The Jigantics www.thejigantics.com/

Peter Knight's Gigspanner www.gigspanner.com

Evening concert - 7.30pm onwards

Richard Digancewww.richarddigance.com/

Fred Guichen, Sylvain Barou & Erwan Moal (Brittany)

Nancy Kerr & the Sweet Visitor Band www.nancykerr.co.uk

Saturday 7th May

Afternoon concert - 2.00pm onwards

Nick Barraclough's Brokedown Palace

Blair Dunlop Trio www.blairdunlop.com

Urban Folk Quartet www.theufq.com/

Evening concert- 7.30pm onwards

John Ward Triowww.johnward.org.uk

The Froe (featuring Ruth Angell, Charlie Heys, Helen Lancaster & Emma Cap) www.ruthangell.com/

The Demon Barbers XL www.thedemonbarbers.co.uk

Sunday 8th May

Afternoon Concert - 2.00pm onwards

Steve Tilston www.stevetilston.com/

Calan (Wales) www.calan-band.com

Spikedrivers www.spikedrivers.net

Evening Concert - 7.30pm onwards

The Broadside Boys www.thebroadsideboys.com

Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar www.russellalgar.co.uk/

Fairport Convention www.fairportconvention.com

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