Derby Folk Festival opens on Friday

Steeleye%20Span%202014%20high%20resThe team that organises the Derby Folk Festival won’t let a little thing like the loss of a main venue spoil the fun and to prove the point they have laid on another fantastic weekend.

The Assembly Rooms may remain closed after the fire earlier this year but organisers have pulled out all the stops to ensure a festival to savour.

So kick off the month with a visit to the city to see the eclectic line-up of acts spread out across Derby and discover something new.

Topping the bill on consecutive nights are Steeleye Span, Show of Hands and Kate Rusby who will all be performing  in the City Marquee in the market place. The duo opening the festival this year on October 3 are Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, winners of the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Horizon Award and Derby band The Open Road.

The eighth Derby Folk Festival includes two commemorative pieces to mark the centenary of the First World War: In Flanders Field from Coope, Boyes and Simpson and All Quiet on the Western Front, with readings by students from Chellaston School and music from Aftermath.

In Flanders Fields brings together the humour of the soldiers on the Western Front who contributed to the famous Trench magazine, The Wipers Times; the poetry which turned experience of ‘the pity of war’ into a lasting memorial; music of the time and specially commissioned songs.

In All Quiet on the Western Front short passages of text from Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war classic will be read by students from Chellaston School, interwoven with narrative extracts from Mick Jones’ play The Soldiers Have Taken Our Horses Away.

The readings will be interspersed with songs from Aftermath – the six piece band featuring Ian Carter (Muckram Wakes, Derbyshire Volunteers), including original musical settings to poems written by Philip Larkin, Siegfried Sassoon and Cicely Fox-Smith.

This year sees a huge contribution from a group of solo female artists from Derbyshire: Alice Macy, Hannah Howe, Sophie Revell and Abbie Rechert.

Abbie is a 17-year-old singer songwriter hailing from Chesterfield. She sings a mix of both traditional and modern favourites, with tones that have a unique quality and a natural beauty.

Alice is one of Derby’s finest singer-songwriters. She takes her cue from early Joni Mitchell and is a regular performer at Furthest From The Sea events.

Hannah has written her own songs since she was teenager. She has done all sorts during her adventures in music, from performing in a Cow Shed to singing at Birmingham Symphony Hall.

Sophie is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter who plays 12-string and six- string guitar.

There will also be a chance to see young rising star Sunjay Brayne who is featured in artsbeat this month. He is appearing ahead of a performance by David Gibb and Elly Lucas.

As if all that wasn’t enough you can also see Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, Sarah Matthews and Maria Whatton’s The Lunar Men, Merry Hell, JP Bean with John Tams, The Lucy Ward Band, Martin Simpson, Red Ruff and many more.

Go to http://www.derbyfolkfestival.co.uk for full details of all these events and more.