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Published on July 30th, 2018 | by Gareth Allen

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Cambridge Folk Festival 2018 Preview

In 2018 the Cambridge Folk Festival Festival’s is twinning with America’s iconic Newport Festival; and so it seems apt that Rhiannon Giddens, from Greensboro, North Carolina, a superbly talented solo artist and founding member of the Grammy-winning band Carolina Chocolate Drops, is the guest curator for the Festival this year.

The chosen acts who will be be introduced by Rhiannon before they take to the stage, include Peggy Seeger and Amythyst Kiah. Peggy Seeger is a singer, songwriter, musician and social and political activist, who truly deserves the description legendary. Just listen to her ‘I’m Gonna Be an Engineer’ and you wont want to miss her set on Friday. Amythyst Kiah, an  alternative country blues singer/songwriter from Tennessee, mixes the traditional and contemporary, in  compelling and atmospheric musical compositions. Listen to ‘Dark Holler’ from the ‘Dig’ album, for a fabulous song, full of deep yearning and emotional anguish, with an influence of Robert Johnson. Catch her on the Saturday.

Eliza Carthy, with The Wayward Band, are a musical boundary pushing collection of 12 musicians, and are an absolute must see on the Friday. The ‘Big Machine’ from 2017 is an album that has set exciting new directions for folk, with a heady mix of soulful big arrangements, electronics and DJs, and traditional folk musical themes. Try ‘You Know Me (feat. MC Dizraeli)’ for an exciting taste of what is in store.

Patti Smith, writer and poet, visual artist, songwriter and musician, is quite simply a renaissance artist. The impact of her debut album ‘Horses’ on this reviewer, was to blow everything I thought I knew and liked about music out of the water, and opened me up to a much wider span of music, that was striving to be out there on the edge, pushing the space of what music and artistic questioning can articulate and express. Wherever you are on Saturday  at the Festival, ensure that at 8.40 pm you are standing near the front of the main stage, to be part of something very special with Patti!

Janis Ian, appearing on Sunday, is a wonderfully empathic and expressive songwriter, who sets her songs in exquisite musical arrangements. She has a fabulous canon of great songs.There is also a lovely playful nature in her songwriting, that comes out in a song like ‘I Would Like to Dance’ from the ‘Aftertones’ album.  She has also been at the forefront of a perceptive critique of the recording industry in the digital age.

One final note, is to recommend visiting ‘The Den’, the festival’s space for young, up-and-coming acts. From last years experience, its a very relaxed  and welcoming space, please give it a try.

We at Sonic Bandwagon cant wait for what promises to be a classic Cambridge Folk Festival.


About the Author

A committed metal head with a love of jazz, soul, and folk. Living in Central Scotland and attending gigs in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with it's really amazing venues. My iconic moment... being invited on stage at the Glasgow Garage, by DevilDriver's Dez Fafara!



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