Free folk festival taking place across St Albans next weekend

Lady Maisery

Lady Maisery - Credit: Archant

The closure of St Albans Town Hall has resulted in free live music being performed at eight city centre venues during the city’s annual folk festival next Saturday, June 18.

The festival takes place June 18 and 19, with the main events on the first day including morris dancing in the city centre, live music at various locations and the festival concert featuring trio Lady Maisery at the Maltings Arts Theatre in St Albans.

Lady Maisery comprises the voices of Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans who give fresh interpretations of songs and ballads as well as being skilled musicians, playing accordion, concertina, harp, fiddle and five string banjo.

The Day of Dance will kick off at 10am outside the Alban Arena with the eight groups performing in Christopher Place, in St Peter’s Street and by the Clock Tower.

At 3pm, the groups will come together to dance outside the Abbey West Door before adjourning to the White Hart for more dancing and music.

During the day, following the closure of the Town Hall for its transformation into a new city museum, showcase performances, singarounds and tune sessions will be spread between a number of pubs, including the Mermaid, The White Hart Tap, The Farmer’s Boy, the White Lion, the White Swan together with the Portland Arms and the Courtyard Cafe.

They will involve a wide range of performers from St Albans and surrounding areas, some of whom, notably Said the Maiden, the Foxglove Trio and na-mara, have gained a national reputation on the folk scene.

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Supporting Lady Maisery in the festival concert is the East London duo Black Scarr, made up of Emma Scarr and Johnny Black, winners of the 2016 Watford Folk Club songwriting competition.

The concert will be opened by New Roots finalist Sherwan Qasm, a young Iraqi oud player.

Prior to the concert, at 5pm, Lady Maisery will be leading a singing workshop at the Maltings Arts Theatre. Earlier in the afternoon, at 3.30pm, the Ver Players ukulele band will perform and lead a workshop.

On Sunday, June 19, as part of the Alban Street Party, local band All Hands Around will be inviting the public to join in a ‘big dance’. There will be a singaround at 3pm and an informal music session at 6pm in the Great Northern.

The day will end with a new band, Bathtub Ginn, playing in the Farmer’s Boy.

Tickets for the festival concert, price £12, students £10, are available online, by phone on 0333 666 3366 in person at St Albans Tourist and Information Centre, 01727 864511, or on the door.

All the other events are unticketed but collections will be taken in aid of festival costs.