A day of dancing and folk music set to take over the city centre
- Credit: Supplied by St Albans Folk Festival
Leading national performers will join a multitude of local talent at this year’s St Albans Folk Festival.
Folk dancers and musicians will be making their way to St Albans city centre on Saturday, June 16 to take part in a day of music and dancing.
The day will culminate in a headline concert at the Maltings Arts Theatre featuring two nationally known groups, the highly acclaimed Dovetail Trio and Granny’s Attic, a trio with a rapidly rising reputation.
Throughout the day there will be numerous free performances along with opportunities to join in throughout the city.
A record 19 dance groups will be taking part in this year’s Day of Dance in St Albans.
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Eight of them – St Albans Morris, Wicket Brood Border Morris, Tappalachian, English Miscellany, Young Miscellany, the Louise Walsh Irish Dancers, Rinceoiri le Cheile Irish Dancers and an Indian group, the Purnagayan Dance Academy – are local.
Apart from international guests Spånga Folkdansgille from Sweden, the other groups will be coming from surrounding areas.
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The dancing will start at 10am outside The Alban Arena, after which there will be dancing in the city centre in St Peter’s Street by the Nationwide Building Society, in Christopher Place, by the Clock Tower, outside St Albans Cathedral, and at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub.
All the groups will come together to dance outside the West Front of the Abbey at 2.45pm.
After the opening display outside The Alban Arena, Young Miscellany will invite children to have a go at maypole dancing from 11.15am.
Local singers, together with others from further afield, will give live showcase performances starting at 11am in Waterstones Bookshop, and then from 1pm in five pubs – The White Lion, The White Hart Tap, The Hare and Hounds, The Farmer’s Boy and The Garibaldi.
For singers and musicians who want to join in, there will be informal singing and music sessions in The Goat Inn and the Courtyard Café.
During the day, there will be a series of workshops at the Maltings Arts Theatre.
Shooting Roots, the folk arts project run by and for young people, will be coming to the Maltings Arts Theatre to run two ‘taster’ workshops, described as a Funky World Band workshop and a Give-it-a-go song workshop.
The aim of these sessions at 12.30pm and 1.45pm is to give young people aged 12 to 18 a chance to try folk music and singing.
Four other workshops are for people of any age.
Three of these – a ukulele workshop led by Steve Wragg of the Ver Players, a workshop led by the Chiltern West Gallery Quire and a singing workshop led by the Dovetail Trio – will be at the Maltings, and Spånga Folkdansgille will be teaching Swedish dancing from 4pm to 5pm in Christopher Place.
The Dovetail Trio will also top the bill at the festival concert at 7.45pm.
The trio is made up of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Jamie Roberts, BBC Performing Arts Award winner Rosie Hood, and singer and melodeon, mandolin and fiddle player Matt Quinn.
Together, they have a considerable reputation for their fresh approach to English traditional folk songs, exploring familiar narratives and modern themes with infectious energy and a passion for musical heritage.
They will share the bill with Granny’s Attic, a young trio of exceptional musicians – Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, George Sansome and Lewis Wood, who are making waves with their interpretation of a range of English, Irish and Scottish traditional music as well as their own compositions.
Spånga Folkdansgille will open the festival concert.
The concert will also include sets from singer-songwriter Julian Mount, winner of the 2017 Watford Folk Club song writing competition, and New Roots finalist Lizzy Hardingham, from Kings Langley.
Tickets for the festival gig cost £14, and £10 students.
They can be bought in advance, by booking online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/ovo, by phone on 0333 666 3366, in person at St Albans Central Library, in The Maltings, or on the door.
The festival will start on Friday, June 15, with an open evening hosted by Friday Folk social dance group.
It will continue Sunday, June 17 with informal music making at the Robin Hood in Victoria Street, the Hollybush in Redbourn and the Great Northern in London Road.
• Full details of festival events, including timings, are available online at www.stalbansfolkatthefestival.org.uk