Bella Hardy to play Edale Folk Festival

Bella1ARTSBEAT FOLK: National stars and locally bred musicians will be at the heart of a programme of music, art and poetry, at the Edale Folk Festival next month.

The annual event from May 10-12 is staged in the heart of the Peak District at the foot of Kinder Scout and is the perfect place for a camping weekend where you can take a walk on the mountain, dance in the Ceilidh, play in the sessions and be inspired and entertained.

The festival is welcoming back the village’s own award winning musician Bella Hardy, who has just released her latest album Battleplan. Bella was featured in the April issue of artsbeat and that article is below.

There will also be more bands from Sheffield and surrounding areas, including the Old Dance School plus other favourites from the national and local folk scene.

The village playing field will be the focus for concerts, with fringe sessions taking place in nearby pubs and cafes, and the Hope Valley folk train is also expected to put in an appearance.

As well as a jam packed programme of live music, there’ll also be workshops for up and coming musicians and plenty of opportunity to try out your licks at the sessions and open mics.

Former Derbyshire Poet Laureate River Wolton will run a writing workshop and other workshops will be run by local craftspeople.

For more details about the folk festival and to buy tickets go to

BellaARTSBEAT FEATURE: It’s April – which means the much-anticipated new album by Edale’s Bella Hardy is being released.

The young musician can hardly be accused of having rested on her laurels though, as battleplan is her third solo album in just two years and she has also found time to record another with Eliza Carthy and her friends Lucy Farrell and Kate Young.

“I have been doing a lot of work over a lot of years but then it all just came together.

“I figured I should keep releasing albums while people know who I am,” said the 28-year-old.

However her legions of fans need to note that this album will be her last for some time as she is going to concentrate of promoting what she has already produced.

“I am looking forward to not be writing to a deadline or for a specific reason and I am definitely not going to be working on an album for a while,” she said.

She called the new album battleplan, which is a lyric from the song Sleeping Beauty, because, while she regards herself as a great list writer and planner, she has discovered that you have to be prepared for when those plans change.

“I guess that’s how this album came about. I changed my plans after the success of Songs Lost & Stolen and decided to keep going while people were interested,” she said.

Bella rose to stardom five years ago when she was nominated for the BBC Radio Two Folk Award for the best original song – a prize she eventually won in 2012 with The Herring Girl.

This encouraged her to write more and saw her produce The Dark and The White – adapted from The Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire, produced in 1867, and then Bright Morning Star which was intended as a souvenir for her seasonal tour.

In battleplan she combines her own take on traditional songs with those she has penned herself and the result is a melodic masterpiece that has been beautifully crafted.

Traditional ballads are re-imagined from a female perspective and personal experiences are reflected against fairy tales and folklore.

Bella has allowed the old and the new to mingle more than she has done on previous albums but in her hands songs from one hundred years ago could have been written just yesterday while her own work have echoes of history behind them.

“I think it is just natural that my music has the shadows of those traditional songs in it.

Growing up in Edale she sang in the village choir and was drawn to the tales contained in the ballads and books she read.

There were visits to folk festivals, her school ceilidh band and a Folkworks summer school which was to see her join a teenage ensemble called The Pack aged 13 – a group she toured with for ten years, appearing on the stages of many of our main folk festivals.

Now she tours with her band The Midnight Watch who have also backed her on the new album.

The album is released on April 22 on Noe Records. It has been produced by Mattie Foulds.

To find out more about her music go to