St Albans Folk Festival 2021 goes ahead with online concerts and live music
- Credit: Elly Lucas
The annual St Albans Folk Festival will be going ahead at its usual time at the end of June, with online events featuring nationally known performers and local musicians performing live in pub gardens and other venues.
Award-winning songwriter, folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Lucy Farrell will be the main guest at the online Festival Concert on Saturday, June 26.
Her last performance in St Albans was as a member of the Furrow Collective, which had just won the won the 'Best Band' category at the BBC Folk Awards in 2018.
Now she has spent the lockdown period in Canada putting together an album of solo material with tenor guitar and violin, which offers her singular take on the human condition. She is due to release this new solo album with Hudson Records later this year.
Supporting Lucy will be a new vocal trio Arbrevyn, made up of New Roots 2020 finalists Cathy Bennett and Callum McKellar, and another young singer, Katy Coope.
Cathy comes from Cornwall and the trio’s name derives from a Cornish word which means ‘We experiment'.
The opening online concert on Friday, June 25 will feature local performers with a wider reputation.
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Herts and Beds-based folk trio Said the Maiden have been sending waves through the folk scene since 2013.
After making their tentative debut at Redbourn Folk Club, they have played all over the UK and Europe alongside some of the biggest names in folk.
The group relaunched in 2019 with new member Minnie Birch, whose gentle intricate guitar style, warm vocals and unique songwriting ability add new dimension to the group’s sound.
They have been unable to meet to rehearse during the pandemic but are now getting together again. They will do a short set at the concert and talk about their plans for the future
Hertfordshire-based folk musician and songstress Lizzy Hardingham is paving her way as a powerhouse performer with "beautifully delivered songs that sing straight to the heart".
2019 saw her storm the UK folk club and festival scene, including Cambridge Folk Festival, while in 2020 she captivated online audiences with "a voice that could fill a stadium and the sensitivity to bring a room to attentive silence".
Support will be provided by Kelvin Davies, a country blues and ragtime musician with a British folk vibe, seamlessly accompanied by Gary Jones on harmonica, and by Berkshire-based folk harpist and singer Eleanor Dunsdon.
Dancing is usually a major feature of St Albans Folk Festival, but the pandemic has ruled out the traditional Day of Dance.
There will, however, be an opportunity to join in dancing from home on Sunday, June 27 at 5pm, at an online afternoon of ceilidh-style dancing.
The dances will be taught by Lisa Heywood, who is renowned for her enthusiastic and creative style, and accompanied by live music from duo Gifford: Brookes. All the dances can be done on your own or with a partner.
Tickets for the online events can be booked at www.ticketsource.co.uk/stalbansfolkmusic or by phone on 0333 666 3366.
Plans for live music, mainly in pub gardens, are still being discussed with publicans who, in turn, are waiting for government announcements about changes to coronavirus restrictions.
As things stand at present, there will be live performances in the garden of The Mermaid and in the Museum café on the Saturday, and a traditional music session in the garden of The Robin Hood on the Sunday.
Further details will be posted on the festival website at www.stalbansfolkmusic.org.uk